SAN FRANCISCO -- The loss of Rafael Furcal to back surgery this week might lead Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti to a trade involving at least one of his prized young core players. "We're more open-minded to who we may have to move than we were in the past," Colletti said Friday. That is a shift in philosophy for Colletti, who has refused to part with the club's top prospects since he took over after the 2005 season, filling most holes with expensive free-agent signings.
Colletti wouldn't name names. But while All-Star catcher Russell Martin is presumed to be untouchable, Colletti's comments certainly put in play other young players like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Andy LaRoche, as well as a possible veteran such as Friday starter Derek Lowe, who is likely to leave as a free agent after the season anyway. "We'll try to see if we can go outside and get somebody," he said. "It's not easy to find, especially at midseason." But Colletti doesn't deny the need, particularly for a shortstop with significant offensive potential, especially with no firm timetable for Furcal's return. The only stated estimate is eight weeks, although Dodgers pitchers Kevin Brown and Eric Gagne had similar operations and required more time than that to recover. Colletti also said that because the Dodgers need an everyday shortstop and so few are available, if one were to be found it likely would take "a bigger deal rather than a one-for-one type deal." "The first step is to find a solid backup; that's a step in the right direction, but an everyday player is even better," he said. The fact that Furcal is a free agent after this season also comes into play, because ideally the acquired players would fill the position for more than the rest of this season. Meanwhile, with more than three weeks to the trading deadline, Colletti said Nomar Garciaparra will have the opportunity to show that a deal is not necessary. He returned Friday from two months on the disabled list and started at shortstop. "He deserves an opportunity to play and see where we're at," he said.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.