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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Yasiel Puig among Dodgers drawing interest on trade market

Teams have asked about the availability of the right fielder, along with fellow outfielders Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, at the general managers' winter meetings.

November 12, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Teams at the general managers' winter meeting have made inquiries into the availability of Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig as well as outfielders Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford.
Teams at the general managers' winter meeting have made inquiries… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have drawn interest on the trade market over the first two days of the general managers' meetings.

The Dodgers have fielded inquiries about all four of their outfielders, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The conversations were described as preliminary.

Of the four, the Dodgers are most reluctant to trade Puig, who turns 23 next month.

The markets for Puig, Kemp, Ethier and Crawford aren't expected to fully develop until the free-agent market is defined. The price tags of free-agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson could affect teams' interests in the Dodgers' quartet. Marlon Byrd, 36, agreed to a two-year, $16-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, indicating the cost of free-agent outfielders may be prohibitive.

The Dodgers' willingness to move Ethier or Crawford might depend on Kemp's recovery from an ankle operation last month. Kemp is still in a walking boot. He is in Arizona rehabilitating his left shoulder from a minor procedure that was performed after the regular season.

Even if Kemp is healthy, the Dodgers could decide to hold on to all four outfielders. There were only two games this year in which all of them were available to play.

Albert Pujols is set to take batting practice

Albert Pujols is recovering from a foot injury that cut short his season and was scheduled to take live batting practice Wednesday for the first time this off-season, Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.

"Albert's doing great," Dipoto said. "He's been hitting three times a week, swinging the bat very aggressively, 60 to 70 swings every other day. Albert's a terrifically hard worker."

Dipoto added that Pujols hasn't experienced any problems with his foot or his right knee, which was surgically repaired last off-season.

Searching for pitching

The Angels, who want to improve their pitching, have been approached by potential trade partners about several of their position players.

Dipoto didn't offer any specifics, but players such as Mark Trumbo, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos and Kole Calhoun are believed to be available.

"Our offensive players are fairly accomplished, some at a fairly young age," Dipoto said. "We've had a fair number of inquiries on a lot of them. But we're not inclined or predetermined to move any of our offense. We're trying to remain open to what the best way to solve our needs are."

The Angels still want to re-sign free-agent Jason Vargas.

"I think that the interest is mutual," Dipoto said. "Now, we have to let this process play out here, see what's out there in free agency. That's something he's due. We'll allow him to see what's out there."

Two Dodgers have surgery

Brandon League had surgery to improve his eyesight. In the first year of League's three-year, $22.5-million deal with the Dodgers he lost his job as closer and failed to make the roster for either of his team's playoff series.

Dodgers left-hander Onelki Garcia had surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow. Garcia is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Rule changes

League executive Joe Torre said he expects deals to expand the use of instant replay to be in place for next season. Owners will vote Thursday whether to fund a replay system. New replay rules would have to be approved by the owners, as well as the players' and umpires' unions.

There was also discussion Tuesday about a potential ban on collisions at the plate.

"There is a pretty good possibility that something eventually will happen," Torre said. "Whether it's going to be soon enough to have it done this coming year, that remains to be seen. But I don't think it's impossible."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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