In Dodgers' clubhouse, a hope for continuity

Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.

Both have said that they would like to remain with the Dodgers beyond then. Both of them reiterated that wish on Wednesday.

"My feelings never changed," Ethier said.

"I don't want to be anywhere else," Kemp said.

Photos: Frank McCourt's ownership of the Dodgers

Even before Commissioner Bud Selig announced that his office would take over the business and day-to-day operations of the Dodgers, there were questions whether the cash-strapped ballclub could afford to sign the two outfielders to long-term contracts.

Now, the team will have to receive league approval for every significant expenditure, including contract extensions and trades.

"You never know what happens," Kemp said before the Dodgers' 6-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. "I can't control any of this stuff."

As one of the more conscientious players in the clubhouse, Ethier has long talked about how baseball is a business, how a player's desire to remain with one team doesn't necessarily mean he won't be playing for another club in the near future.

Ethier said what happened Wednesday reminded him of that.

"It hits home," Ethier said. "Anything can happen."

Ethier's agent, Nez Balelo, and General Manager Ned Colletti had preliminary conversations about a contract extension in the spring. Ethier said he didn't expect the talks to restart anytime soon.

"I didn't once the season started," he said.

Major League Baseball seizes control of Dodgers

Colletti said he didn't know how the Dodgers would be affected by the commissioner's takeover, adding that he hadn't spoken to anyone at the league office and didn't know to whom he would report.

The general manager downplayed concerns that the team would be financially paralyzed by pointing to the Texas Rangers, who were monitored by a league executive while owner Tom Hicks dealt with creditors over large debts.

"The Rangers last year went to the World Series," Colletti said. "They acquired Cliff Lee, Bengie Molina, along with a few other players. I don't think this is in place to hinder the Dodgers."

But the Rangers were in contention last season. The Dodgers are among the lowest-scoring teams in baseball and finished play Wednesday already 41/2 games out of first place in the National League West.

Asked how he felt about his chances if the Dodgers wouldn't be permitted to add players, Manager Don Mattingly went back to the line he has used almost every time he has been asked about his team's deficiencies.

"I like this team," he said.

Like Colletti, Mattingly said he didn't know the implications of Selig's move and was caught by surprise by the announcement.

Team employees in various departments said the same. Other than the news release from Selig and a companywide email from McCourt instructing them to "conduct business as usual," they said they were provided with little information.

"I guess it's good," pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "I don't know. … Hopefully, it works out for the Dodgers. This is a storied franchise."

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