L.A. still interested in Russell Martin
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said his team still has an interest in re-signing Russell Martin as a multiple-position player even with two other catchers apparently already in the fold, but that Martin, a former Gold Glove catcher, likely won't get much time behind the plate if he does re-sign with the club.
However, with media reports having surfaced that Martin is being pursued by the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies -- all of whom presumably would want him to catch on at least a semi-regular basis -- there now appears to be little to no chance that Martin will return.
The Dodgers are close to an agreement with free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro -- the same guy Martin supplanted when the Dodgers initially called him up in 2006 -- giving them a catching tandem of Navarro and Rod Barajas and leaving little room for Martin. Although Colletti declined to confirm Navarro has agreed to terms on a one-year contract, he conceded Martin's window for returning, at least as a catcher, might be closing quickly.
"I talked [Tuesday] night with Matt [Colleran, Martin's agent]," Colletti said. "I have been clear all along. I told him a few days ago that we would keep doing business with them and that we have an interest in bringing him back. But at some point in time, there aren't going to be any chairs left."
When the Dodgers announced last Thursday that they were non-tendering Martin but that they still hoped to re-sign him, Colletti said he wanted Martin to be open to playing other positions such as first base, third base and left field.
"If everybody plays really well and everybody stays completely healthy, it would be tough to find a lot of games for him behind the plate," Colletti said.
Dodgers open to re-signing Podsednik
The Dodgers also remain open to re-signing left fielder Scott Podsednik, who declined his half of a $2 million mutual option after the season but apparently hasn't found as much of a market for his services as he had hoped.
The club still needs an every-day left fielder despite having signed first baseman-outfielder Jay Gibbons, who will be their primary left-handed pinch hitter, and having agreed in principle on a one-year, $675,000 deal with Tony Gwynn Jr., who will be a backup outfielder.
"If we don't sign anybody [at the winter meetings] or between now and the opening of [spring training], we aren't without options," Colletti said.
Minor league system honored
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The Dodgers were named by Topps on Wednesday as the 2010 Organization of the Year, an award that is based on a team's minor league system and is determined by a formula that awards points based on the number of minor league All-Stars, player-of-the-month awards, player-of-the-year awards and a handful of other accolades.
The Dodgers, who received the award for the first time since 1997, are the first organization to receive the award six times. The award came despite the widespread perception that the Dodgers' system isn't especially deep in major league-ready prospects.
"I think it shows our system is strong," said DeJon Watson, the Dodgers' assistant general manager for player development. "People don't recognize how many strong arms we have and how many strong outfielders we have. I can't say we're No. 1 [in terms of minor league talent], but I think we're in the top 10."
Moves made in scouting staff
Logan White, the Dodgers' assistant GM for scouting, announced a handful of assignment changes and a slight restructuring within his staff, starting with the fact he doesn't plan to replace scouting director Tim Hallgren. Hallgren left the organization in October to become a national cross-checker for the Detroit Tigers.
Paul Fryer, one of the Dodgers' two national cross-checkers, is being promoted to the newly created position of global cross-checker, meaning he will follow up on players the organization is scouting all over the world. John Green, the team's East Coast scouting supervisor, will move into Fryer's old spot. Midwest scouting supervisor Gary Nickels will replace Green as East Coast supervisor. The Midwest supervisor's position is being eliminated, but Nickels and West Coast supervisor Brian Stephenson will be responsible for the continental U.S.Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.