Ned Colletti is a veteran baseball executive who might feel like a novice over the next few weeks.
His team entered play Saturday in a tie for last place in the National League West, potentially putting the Dodgers' general manager in an unfamiliar situation as the non-waiver trading deadline approaches: selling mode.
In the last 15 years, beginning with his stint as assistant general manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1997, Colletti has been associated with only two teams — the 2010 and 2005 Dodgers — that finished below .500. Neither team was out of playoff contention at the All-Star break.
Colletti said he could not recall being a seller this time of year. Nevertheless, he maintained it's too soon to say the Dodgers will be looking to shed salaries this season, though all signs point in that direction for a team that trails San Francisco by 10 games in its division.
"We haven't been healthy all year, but I still don't think we've played as well as we can play," Colletti said. "The next three-plus weeks, if we can show some of that, we might be adding people."
Colletti said teams are still in the feeling-each-other-out stage of trade talks, assessing each other's needs and interests. Most serious discussions won't begin for several weeks.
Two Dodgers who reportedly have generated interest are pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and infielder Jamey Carroll. Kuroda, who pitched seven scoreless innings against the Angels on Friday and has compiled a 2.12 earned-run average over his last five starts, sounded like someone who would at least consider waiving his no-trade clause to join a playoff contender.
"Ever since spring training started, I think everyone in the clubhouse and everyone in the big leagues thinks that's the main goal, to play for a team that has a possibility in the playoffs," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "I'm not an exception."
The Colorado Rockies reportedly are interested in reacquiring Carroll, the versatile infielder who played for them from 2006 to 2007. He would represent an upgrade at second base and could also play shortstop, third base and the corner outfield spots.
But Colletti said trading a player to a contender within his division would require him to feel particularly confident in the terms of the exchange.
"Any time you make a move inside the division and you're in the seller mode," Colletti said, "you have to do pretty good."
Some players don't read about trade rumors. Kuroda can't read about them.
At least not in English, anyway. The Japanese pitcher said he has not followed the reports of teams interested in his services, even in his native language.
Carroll read that he isn't going anywhere. At least not yet.
"According to the general manager, there's nobody that's called for me," Carroll said, "so there's nothing to be concerned about."
Did Carroll get that information directly from Colletti?
"I read that he said that nobody had called about me," Carroll said.