Speaking before a 3-1 loss to the
"I'd like to get our bullpen squared away, whether it's internally or externally," Colletti said. "It's a scenario we spent a lot of time on this past winter with the idea that it would be one of our key strengths. We think it needs to be better collectively."
But $10-million setup man
The bullpen didn't factor into the loss Friday, as starting pitcher
Colletti said he has already spoken to several potential trade partners.
"We've probably heard more teams and had more conversations earlier than ever," Colletti said. "There seems to be so much parity. There are a lot of teams in and around .500 that are still competing for the wild-card spots. Those teams that feel that they're not in that group are making it known what they're willing to do."
Colletti acknowledged that teams have inquired about the Dodgers' outfielders, but declined to offer details.
Aside from the bullpen, Colletti sounded pleased with the state of his team. The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 14 games and trail the first-place
Colletti was particularly upbeat about the improvement of the defense.
The Dodgers made 42 errors and allowed 32 unearned runs in their 50 games. They have made eight errors and allowed two unearned runs over their last 32 games.
"Sometimes defense is a range factor," Colletti said. "Sometimes it's a focus factor. I think the more we emphasized it, the better we got, the more it became a priority. It was something we spent more time on."
But Colletti said the team's earlier problems were the result of more than subpar defense.
"I think confidence plays a part, too," he said. "No matter who you are, there's a confidence level when you struggle. You try to do too much. When you start to do things better, you tend to play looser and you tend to be more productive."
Of the team's offense, Colletti said, "I still think there's more in there."
However, he pointed out that
Ramirez didn't play for the fourth consecutive day because of irritation in his right shoulder, the latest of several ailments that have slowed the shortstop.
Asked if he was concerned Ramirez might not be the force he was last season, Colletti replied, "He's close to 100-RBI pace, even battling what he's been battling. The middle of our lineup has a lot of talent. Baseball is typically a game of average. If you're a .280 hitter and you're hitting .320, you might be hitting .280 by the time it's over. And if you're hitting .250, you might be hitting .280 when it's over."
Ramirez, a career .300 hitter, is batting .269.
Colletti also noted that the Dodgers aren't as dependent on Ramirez as they were last season, in part because of the emergence of
Colletti complimented Kemp on his improved play, both at the plate and his new position in left field.
"He seems to be comfortable out there," Colletti said. "His game is coming back. You know, for two years, he'd been injured a lot. When you don't play for periods of time, it takes you a while to get it back. You can't just show up off the DL or show up in the spring after a surgery and not have an aftereffect. He's been a lot better. I think he's all right."