The Dodgers sift through the scrap heap

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After a week the Dodgers would like to forget, and with a suddenly big series against the Giants looming next weekend, the Dodgers may be looking for an arm:

“They’re looking,” Torre said of the front office. “We talked about the waiver wire. There is a possibility that something can happen.”

Among the possibilities is right-hander Vicente Padilla, a former All-Star who the Rangers designated for assignment Friday despite an 8-6 record in 18 starts . . . Another possibility, given Torre’s affinity for battle-tested veterans, is right-hander John Smoltz, who the Red Sox designated for assignment Saturday.

It strikes me that a team who is having trouble scoring runs and loses games late due to bullpen implosions might have different priorities than looking at problem, castoff starting pitchers.

Not that there’s much you can do with the lineup. The Dodgers gotta live or die with the guys they have there at this point of the season, and reason — and the native talent of the hitters they have — suggests that they’re merely slumping. The bullpen is much more of a problem right now as Mota and Troncoso are getting lit up lately.

Smoltz to the pen?  It could be worth thinking about.  At least if someone else doesn’t snag him first.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?