MLB execs think Dodgers will be “in play” for Prince Fielder

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This is more speculation than rumor, but it’s worth passing along anyway given the subject matter.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says a “surprising number” of team executives have told him that they think the Dodgers will “ulimtately be in play” for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.

That might seem impossible given the Dodgers’ in-flux ownership situation, but keep in mind that they were able to sign outfielder Matt Kemp to a club-record eight-year, $160 million contract extension earlier this winter and that bids for the franchise are expected to surpass $1.5 billion once current owner Frank McCourt finally goes to market. Whoever ends up buying team will surely have deep pockets, and will likely be able to afford whatever Fielder and his agent Scott Boras end up commanding.

Heck, adding Fielder could even help McCourt’s bottom line if it improves the club’s perceived value.

The 27-year-old slugger batted .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI in 692 plate appearances last season for the National League Central champion Brewers. He owns a spectacular .929 career OPS.

If the Dodgers get serious about landing Fielder, they’ll likely begin shopping James Loney simultaneously.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.