Gary Gaetti, the free-agent third baseman who helped lead the Minnesota Twins to the World Series championship, reportedly is interested in signing with the Dodgers this winter.
Gaetti told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Thursday that the Dodgers are one of six teams with which he would prefer to play if he does not re-sign with the Twins. Jim Bronner, Gaetti's Chicago-based agent, said he already has contacted several teams, including the Dodgers.
The other five are the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers and the Angels. Mike Port, executive vice president of the Angels, said he has received a message from Bronner relating to Gaetti's interest but has not talked to him directly. Port said he has no comment other than to find it amusing that Bronner also represents Jack Howell, the Angels' current third baseman.
Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, said Thursday that he has spoken to Bronner about Gaetti while taking care of other matters.
"I've talked to Jim's office a number of times on various subjects," Claire said. "I have not heard that (Gaetti is interested in playing in Los Angeles). But like I said, we will explore the options in the free-agent market.
"I have not gotten specific in terms of which players we will pursue. I said we'd look at free agency with a number of players, but I won't start rating our interest in players or theirs in us."
The Dodgers, who used eight players at third base last season, are in the market for a starting shortstop and a relief pitcher, Claire said. A third baseman would be a bonus. Jeff Hamilton and Tracy Woodson split time between third base for the Dodgers and their Triple-A club in Albuquerque, N.M., last season.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers announced that Steve Boros, 51, former manager of the Oakland A's and the San Diego Padres, has been hired as a special assignment scout and that former Dodger Joe Ferguson, 41, is returning to the club as an "eye in the sky," positioning players from the press box.
Claire also said that as part of the organization's restructuring, minor league instructors Larry Sherry and Paul Popovich will not be offered contracts for 1988.