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Colletti Looking to Buy, Not Sell

Times Staff Writer

Dodgers employees donned bright shirts, lathered on sunscreen and headed for Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes on Thursday for their annual golf tournament fundraiser.

Front-office honchos Ned Colletti, Kim Ng and Roy Smith stayed behind, though, calling nearly every major league team in an effort to make a trade. Or two. Or three.

The Dodgers have tumbled in the standings since the All-Star break, but with three days left before the trading deadline, their desire to bring in impact players has not wavered.

“We are still talking from the position of acquiring players rather than moving on,” Colletti said. “We are not a seller. I’m talking to teams about acquiring proven big leaguers for prospects.”

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Selling would mean unloading players in the last year of their contracts such as reliever Danys Baez and outfielders Jose Cruz Jr., Kenny Lofton and Ricky Ledee. It would mean trying to find a buyer for a player perceived to be overpaid, such as outfielder J.D. Drew. It would mean trading infielder Cesar Izturis and calling up prospect Andy LaRoche to play third base.

Instead, the Dodgers are trolling for a slugger and a starting pitcher. Carlos Lee of the Milwaukee Brewers is the most desirable option among hitters. Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies and Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals are other possibilities.

How much of a difference would acquiring one of those power-hitting left fielders make?

According to a study conducted by the statistical gurus at Baseball Prospectus, not much.

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The authors first subtracted the projected contribution of Lofton, working under the assumption that the Dodgers would bench him and move Andre Ethier or Drew to center field if a left fielder was acquired. Then the numbers expected from the power hitters were calculated.

The result? Abreu would add 13.6 runs; Lee would bring 11.9 and Soriano would bring 8.8.

A victory is worth approximately 10 runs -- for example, the Dodgers have scored 500 runs and won 47 games -- so adding a power hitter would be expected to result in roughly one additional victory.

Another Baseball Prospectus feature is the postseason odds report, which computes the chances of a team making the playoffs by running a Monte Carlo simulation of the rest of the season one million times.

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The Dodgers have only a 5.59% chance of making the playoffs according to the calculations. Adding one victory increases their chances to about 10%.

In other words, according to the study, trading top prospects for Lee, Abreu or Soriano might not be prudent given the Dodgers’ long odds of making the playoffs.

Colletti said a few teams with players he is seeking are beginning to lower their demands.

“The focus is keener regarding what the going rate is and who they are going to move,” he said.

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Colletti spent two days this week watching the triple-A Las Vegas 51s. Nobody there is ready to rescue the Dodgers, who have lost 13 of 14 since the All-Star break.

“The players there are part of the equation and part of the future,” he said. “They are part of the thought process as to who we are trying to acquire now. There are guys there who will play in the big leagues. But their learning curve remains to be seen.”

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Several Dodgers minor league players have been considered for the Americas Olympic Qualifier, to be held in late August and early September in Havana, Cuba, and at least one is expected to make the team.

The Dodgers, however, won’t allow players expected to be called up when rosters expand in September to participate. Also, teams throughout baseball have been protective of their top pitching prospects.

“We’ve been approached and there are certain players we’ve declined to allow to play,” said Smith, the Dodgers’ vice president of scouting and player development.

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Christopher Hobdy, a pitcher for the Gulf Coast Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League, was arrested after being accused of breaking into several suites at Dodgertown and stealing credit cards and cash from his teammates.

Hobdy, 19, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with seven counts of burglary and six counts of petit theft. He also was charged with trespassing and barred from returning to Dodgertown, the Vero Beach Press Journal reported.

Hobdy, from Lubbock, Texas, was being held on $146,000 bond at the Indian River County Jail.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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