The Dodgers are negotiating a long-term contract extension with General Manager Ned Colletti, a high-ranking club official said.
The Dodgers have reached the postseason three times in four years under Colletti, whose current deal includes a mutual option for 2010.
It is uncertain whether the extension will be finalized or announced before the Dodgers complete play this season. The official was granted anonymity because owner Frank McCourt has asked that off-the-field business not take public precedence over the team’s quest to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988.
Colletti, who said earlier this month he would “love” to return to the Dodgers next season, declined to comment on the negotiations. McCourt also wouldn’t talk about the situation but praised his general manager, whose midseason acquisitions over the last two seasons have included Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Greg Maddux, George Sherrill, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla and Jim Thome.
“He’s obviously done a very good job,” McCourt said. “The team has the best record in the National League. We’re on the verge of clinching the division back-to-back [for the first time] in 31 years. I think that speaks for itself.”
McCourt said Tuesday he also believed the Dodgers have completed their transformation from a club in transition to a perennial contender.
“There’s no question that the stability is there,” he said. “There is no question we’re a competitive team. I think we’ve reached that level where we can be consistently competitive.”
Part of the reason is that the Dodgers didn’t part with their core group of young players, including Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.
“I think back at years past when there was so much pressure to move our young talent,” McCourt said. “I don’t think there was a player on the market that we couldn’t have gotten if we were willing to move a lot of that young talent. We were committed to that and stayed the course. There was temptation from time to time, even pressure from time to time, to move some players to make a deal, but we really stood strong, we believed in our plan and now we’re seeing the benefits of that.”
McCourt wouldn’t say whether he planned to sign any of his arbitration-eligible players to long-term deals.
Even though the Dodgers have traded top prospects near the trade deadline over the last two years, McCourt denied that the club has decreased its emphasis on the development of homegrown talent.
McCourt wouldn’t comment when asked about club officials’ remarks last winter that they would be measured in their spending on the free-agent market -- payroll was cut from around $120 million to around $90 million -- so that they could have increased financial flexibility at the trade deadline. The Dodgers added less than $3 million to their payroll this summer.
“I’m just not going to go there,” he said. “Our actions speak louder than any words I can have.”
McCourt also refused to talk about payroll plans for next season.
Blake, who received treatment on his strained left hamstring Monday in Los Angeles, rejoined the club but said he probably wouldn’t play until Friday. “Of course, I want to be out there and help the team clinch, but it’s not about that, it’s about getting enough at-bats before the playoffs,” he said. “If I play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that’s 12 at-bats right there.” . . . Left-hander Will Ohman underwent shoulder surgery. His contract includes a club option for next season that will probably be declined.