Colletti's Winter list down to couple of needs

Colletti's Winter list down to couple of needs

LOS ANGELES -- General manager Ned Colletti, shopping at baseball's equivalent of a dollar store, has filled in the blanks the best he could before reaching the Winter Meetings, which start on Monday in Dallas.

All that's left on his shopping list are a utility infielder who can hit left-handed pitching, like Jerry Hairston Jr., and a veteran, versatile, durable middle reliever.

To this point he's settled for Juan Rivera's return to left field when he really needed a bigger bat. He signed Mark Ellis to take over second base from Jamey Carroll, hoping that the reduced demands at third base might keep Juan Uribe healthy. He went young and cheap behind the plate, letting Rod Barajas go, promoting A.J. Ellis to starter and signing journeyman Matt Treanor as backup. He added Adam Kennedy to take over for Aaron Miles as the veteran utility man and pinch-hitter.

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And on Friday he opted not to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, picking up veteran starter Chris Capuano for two years for less money than Kuroda would have cost for one.

"I think we have a chance to be a good club if we stay healthy and make a couple more moves and be open-minded during the season," said Colletti. "I can't be discouraged watching the last seven weeks of [Clayton] Kershaw, Matt [Kemp], [Jerry] Sands, [Dee] Gordon, [Josh] Lindblom, [Javy] Guerra, [Kenley] Jansen, [Scott] Elbert and James Loney the last couple months. It leads me to be encouraged."

Club needs
Power bat: Unless all indications are misleading -- and there's no reason to believe they are -- the club can't and won't bid on Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.

Starting pitching: With the signing of Capuano, Colletti wouldn't mind adding a journeyman for depth, but he's out of money for anyone significant. Nathan Eovaldi will be the tentative fifth starter behind Capuano, Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley and ace Kershaw.

Relief pitcher: Colletti needs a hard-throwing veteran in the mold of Mike MacDougal, whom he picked off the scrap heap and received a season worthy of Comeback of the Year honors. Between Guerra and Jansen, the Dodgers have two young closer candidates, but they could use the presence of a proven reliever to go with Matt Guerrier, Lindblom and Blake Hawksworth. With Hong-Chih Kuo's status uncertain, they also could use a situational left-handed reliever to team with Elbert.

Bench: Colletti rebuilds the bench every year, and he's already obtained Treanor and Kennedy for reserve roles to go with Tony Gwynn. He wants a Hairston-type to give manager Don Mattingly more right-handed offense. He's likely to go young at other spots, namely Sands in the outfield and Justin Sellers in the infield.

Whom they can or need to trade
Ethier and Loney are trade candidates only because they are entering their final year before free agency, but the signing of Capuano removes the club's biggest need. Any significant trade would appear to be a longshot.

Top prospects
RHP Zachary Lee, RHP Shawn Tolleson, RHP Allen Webster, RHP Steven Ames, LHP Chris Reed, RHP Garrett Gould, RHP Josh Wall, RHP Chris Withrow

Arbitration-eligible
LHP Dana Eveland, Ethier, Gwynn, Kershaw, Kuo, Loney

Non-tenders
Eveland, Kuo

Payroll summation
The payroll went up $15 million in 2011 when Frank McCourt was confident that he was getting a new television contract. That didn't happen and the club, now in bankruptcy, is slashing $20 million from the payroll. So the Dodgers enter the Winter Meetings almost out of money for acquisitions.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.