Scott Podsednik has opted for free agency instead of exercising his half of a mutual option for 2011, but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't be playing for the Dodgers next season.
"We're still engaged in discussions with the Dodgers," said Ryan Gleichowski, the outfielder's agent.
Podsednik is presumably asking for more than $2 million, the value of the option he declined. The Dodgers exercised their half of the option Tuesday.
The Dodgers are short on power and Podsednik, who hit .262 in 39 games with the team in 2010, would add almost none; he has hit 10 or more home runs once in 10 major league seasons.
But if the Dodgers fail to re-sign the fleet-footed Podsednik or land a replacement on the free-agent market, they could be forced to do in left field what they did with the final spot in the pitching rotation last season — use a combination of retreads and unproven players.
"We'll mix and match for a while if we don't find anyone this winter," General Manager Ned Colletti said.
Among the candidates would be Jay Gibbons, who re-signed with the Dodgers for one year for $650,000, plus performance-based incentives. Gibbons can earn up to $150,000 more based on plate appearances.
Gibbons, who turns 34 in March, was one of the few positive revelations in the Dodgers' recently concluded season.
Identified in the Mitchell Report as a user of performance-enhancing drugs, Gibbons was out of the major leagues for more than two years. He started the 2010 season with the Dodgers' triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque and was called up to the big leagues in August.
Gibbons hit .280 with five home runs and 17 runs batted in. He started 15 games, batting cleanup six times and in the fifth spot four times.
Colletti said other in-house options for left field include 25-year-old Xavier Paul, who has hit .230 in 135 career at-bats; September call-up Russ Mitchell, who hit .143 in his first stint in the majors; and Trent Oeltjen, who is 27 but already with his fourth major league organization.
Colletti said he thinks the Dodgers have enough experienced players to carry a novice like Paul, Mitchell or Oeltjen in their lineup.