Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti looked ahead to the 2012 season and discussed some of his winter priorities with MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The highlights….
- Colletti said the team won't undergo any major changes, noting that the Dodgers can contend as long as the offense is consistent. Indeed, L.A. is 30-21 since the All-Star break, with Juan Rivera providing the club with an offensive spark.
- Colletti hasn't yet discussed next year's payroll with owner Frank McCourt, which the GM noted is "not unusual" given that it's still in early September.
- "Up there in the top echelon of priorities" is signing Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to multiyear extensions. We heard earlier today from Dave Stewart, Kemp's agent, that the Dodgers hadn't yet broached the subject of a long-term deal with his client.
- Clayton Kershaw could also be an extension candidate but, as Colletti said, "it's less a priority for somebody with three years of arbitration." Kershaw is due for a big pay raise this winter as he enters the arbitration process for the first time.
- If Hiroki Kuroda doesn't return to Japan, Colletti said the Dodgers would be interested in bringing the right-hander back to Los Angeles.
- James Loney's recent hot streak is "more indicative of him and how he's hit the rest of his career," said Colletti. Loney has long been considered a non-tender candidate this winter since he's due a raise to around $6MM through arbitration and has a .711 OPS on the season, though he has a .382/.450/.629 line over his last 27 games.
- "It's never been easy to build through free agency and I really don't like to do it," Colletti said. "We do it when pressed, when we don't have a player coming through the system or on the Major League roster, but it's always more precarious than developing or trading." That said, the GM didn't totally rule out the prospect of signing a big-hitting free agent like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.