LOS ANGELES -- There were other things that happened at Monday's press conference at Dodger Stadium, though none really as noteworthy as Don Mattingly exercising whatever leverage he has, or the Dodgers conveniently not mentioning Matt Kemp's left ankle surgery. Here is a brief summary of some other Dodgers news from Monday.
The right-handed Japanese sensation will likely be the most coveted pitcher available this winter. General manager Ned Colletti said the Dodgers have interest, and have scouted him heavily. Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese Pacific League in 2013.
"We've scouted him a lot, we're very much aware of him," Colletti said. "We've seen him a lot, we saw him as recently as two days ago."
Though the Dodgers have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $28 million contract with the Cuban infielder, the deal is not yet official.
"We're very close on that," said Colletti. "Hopefully we'll have something by the end of the day."
Colletti called Guerrero a middle infielder and said his position is likely second base.
"[Dodgers head of international scouting] Bob Engel was the lead scout on Alexander, and thinks he can play, if not right away, then very soon thereafter. He hasn't played of late, somewhat like [Yasiel] Puig, and somewhat different than [Hyun-jin] Ryu," Colletti said. "He's a big league player. He's a big league infielder that's got versatility to him as far as the positions he can play. He's an offensive player."
The Dodgers hold a club option on Ellis, who will turn 37 in 2014, worth $5.75 million, or they can pay him a $1 million buyout. Colletti hasn't conducted meetings with any of the players yet - those happen this week - but did say, "I think Ellis still has value to this organization, with or without Guerrero."
That quote can be read either way, really, as something nice said about a departing player or that Ellis would have a spot on the team even with Guerrero. The $4.75 million question will be answered soon enough.
The Dodgers ace is eligible for arbitration in 2014, his final season before hitting free agency. Locking him up to a long-term contract should be at or very near the top of any plan on the Dodgers' offseason to-do list.
"I believe he has interest in staying here and we certainly have interesting in keeping him here. Other than that, we'll keep that internal, Colletti said. "He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. He's a great competitor, leader, man, person of the community. We just have to sit down and try to get something done.
Colletti didn't reveal much about the nature of the negotiations, nor how close they were to getting a contract done.
"Until you have something done you don't have anything done," he said.
Colletti said there are no plans as of now for Puig to play winter ball this offseason.
The reliever was excellent in his two months with the Dodgers but will be a free agent at the conclusion of the World Series. With several options to be a closer elsewhere, it seems likely he would not return to the Dodgers as a setup man for Kenley Jansen. But Colletti wouldn't rule out a return for the beard
"We'll get to that in the near term, and see what his wishes are," Colletti said of Wilson.
The Dodgers' next game that counts will be played on March 22 in Sydney, Australia, one of two games against the Diamondbacks to open the 2014 regular season abroad. Given the recent bad blood between the two teams - the brawl on June 11, the Dodgers celebrating their NL West title in the pool at Chase Field, comments from Kevin Towers that his pitchers should retaliate more against the Dodgers - Mattingly and Colletti were asked if any fireworks in five months.
"The rumble down under," Mattingly joked.
Colletti added, "A marketer's dream."