INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- The Dodgers are on the hunt for a significant starting pitcher, but after an initial round of talks with other clubs, general manager Ned Colletti said it's "probably unlikely" he'll get one in a trade.
Colletti, speaking at the General Managers Meetings, said he has trade interest in three or four pitchers. One of them is likely Tampa Bay's James Shields.
That leaves free agency, and the most attractive target there is Zack Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner whose rumored demands of six years and $150 million might be even more than the suddenly deep-pocketed Dodgers are willing to commit, even though he's only 29.
If not Greinke, the Dodgers could turn to a return of Hiroki Kuroda, whose family still lives in Los Angeles and, at age 38 next season, won't require a long-term commitment. But Kuroda received a qualifying offer from the Yankees, so he would cost the Dodgers their 2013 first-round Draft pick.
The Dodgers also want to acquire a left-handed reliever, a fourth outfielder with center-field skills to back up Matt Kemp (who is recovering from left shoulder surgery) and a right-handed hitting first baseman.
Colletti said he has a "rough idea" of what his 2013 payroll will be ($184 million already and counting), "but it's debatable depending on who becomes available." A year ago he was looking at a $90 million payroll, but with new ownership "I haven't been discouraged or told not to consider any player because of salary.
"We've still got a team and roster to balance. You can't just collect [players]," he said. "But we've been encouraged to think out of the box."
When told he might have the highest payroll in baseball, Colletti said: "We'd rather play with a full deck."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.