Ned Colletti on impending trade deadline: “We may not do anything.”

Ned Colletti

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said there is a “small market” for trades to be made in the coming days. (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO >> Despite rumors swirling around outfielder Matt Kemp, and the recent struggles of several veteran pitchers, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Saturday that “we may not do anything” between now and the non-waiver trade deadline of 1 p.m. Thursday.

“We have a club that’s solid, still has a lot of upside. Have we won four games in a row yet?”

No, remarkably.

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Daily Distractions: How the Dodgers use analytics today.

Ned Colletti

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has grown his analytics department from 1 to 4 since taking the job in 2006. (Getty Images)

We don’t know how large the Dodgers’ analytics department was in Paul DePodesta’s final days as general manager. It was almost certainly larger than 1, the number of people exclusively assigned to the task when Ned Colletti took over in 2006. And that one person, Colletti said, left two months into his tenure.

I briefly touched on this subject in today’s story about the Dodgers’ changing philosophy for the amateur draft, and what it might mean for their winter free-agent pursuits. The Dodgers have a four-person analytics team now, headed by Director of Contracts, Baseball Research and Operations Alex Tamin. Doing research for the story, I asked Colletti how the department grew from one to four:

We started an internship program. It just so happened that we brought interns in with a very strong analytical background. We just continued that process. … Analytics became a more valuable resource to your decision making. We had interns that had that type of approach, and we recognized the increased value of a more well-rounded approach to the acquisition process. As the interns graduated from college, we started to hire them as full-time employees.

I seek as much information as I can. If you evaluate only through scouting and what people see, you’re not fully utilizing what’s available to you. If you just use analytics, you’re not using what’s readily available to you. Just using analytics would be the same as hiring an executive with a high salary on (only reading) a resume. You need both at a strong caliber of evaluation to give yourself a better-percentage chance.

I think there’s great value in both. I don’t think you can do the process fairly without using both.

This is a topic I’ve touched on before, but as the amount of baseball data continues to explode, it’s worth revisiting periodically to see how the Dodgers keep up with the data explosion. Colletti said he recently had one scout, and one person from his analytics team, advising him simultaneously while making a decision on a player acquisition. Similar scenes will probably play out in the coming weeks and months.

Some bullet points for a Tajikistan Constitution Day:
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Analysis: After a bad week for clarity, the road map is clear for Don Mattingly and the Dodgers.

Don Mattingly contract

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, foreground, appeared pensive throughout an end-of-season press conference Monday that focused mostly on his contract status. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

At Dodgers headquarters, this was not a good week for clarity in the information age.

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Dodgers, Don Mattingly have a contract for 2014, but questions remain.

What could have been a routine press conference to recap the end of the Dodgers’ season got interesting in a hurry Monday.

After sharing their thoughts about the 2013 campaign, which ended with a six-game National League Championship Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti were asked about Mattingly’s status for 2014.

“My option vested once we beat Atlanta,” Mattingly said. “That doesn’t mean I’ll be back.”

With that, the floodgates opened.
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Daily Distractions: Back injury puts Jerry Hairston Jr.’s playoff availability in jeopardy.

Jerry Hairston Jr.

Dodgers veteran Jerry Hairston Jr. is batting .211 this season in a reserve role. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the “Petros and Money Show” on 570-AM (KCAL) yesterday that Jerry Hairston Jr. is fighting a back issue that might keep him off the Dodgers’ playoff roster.

“It’s something we’re debating,” Colletti said.

Hairston, one of seven Dodgers with World Series experience, is batting just .143 in the second half of the season in a reserve role.

Colletti responded to a question specifically about whether he would choose the experienced Hairston over younger shortstop Dee Gordon.

“We’re also debating Dee,” Colletti continued. “He brings speed to the game. If you watched our games against Cincinnati a couple weeks ago, you saw the effect of a Billy Hamilton. If you paid attention when we weren’t playing him you saw the game-changing aspect of it. He’s somebody we’re thinking about.”

Colletti added that he’s hopeful that Andre Ethier will be healthy enough that “we’ll be able to use him to some extent starting Thursday.” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Ethier is likely to be used in a pinch-hitting role at the outset.

Some bullet points for a World Vegetarian Day:
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Baseball America rates Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig among top 100 prospects.

Hyun-Jin Ryu ranked 42nd and Yasiel Puig 47th on Baseball America’s annual list of the top 100 major-league prospects.

One other thing that sets the two apart is that they’ve never taken part in spring training in the United States before this year. On Monday, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti shared his thoughts on how the two have adapted so far:

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Chad Billingsley is healthy and ready to join the Dodgers’ rotation.

Chad BillingsleyChad Billingsley has every reason to be optimistic.

After he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last September, his next throw was limited to 50 mph on a closely monitored radar gun. Within months, gradually increasing his velocity and his number of throws, Billingsley was delivering pitches at 90 mph.

“You have these certain points where we’re going to test the ligament, testing our arm,” he said. “Each time I passed with flying colors.”

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Daily Distractions: Don Sutton bobblehead; updates on Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez.

Don SuttonDon Sutton will be the fourth and final bobblehead given away during the 2013 season, the Dodgers announced today.

The mini-Suttons will be nodding yes on June 6. The 7 p.m. game that night against the Atlanta Braves is a three-star game under the Dodgers’ new pricing plan.

The other bobblehead giveaways this season include Hanley Ramirez on April 30 (vs. COL), Matt Kemp on May 14 (vs. WAS), Jaime Jarrín on May 25 (vs. STL), Sandy Koufax on June 27 (vs. PHI), Adrian Gonzalez on July 11 (vs. COL), Vin Scully on July 25 (vs. CIN), Hideo Nomo on Aug. 10 (vs. TB), a “flag saving” Rick Monday on Aug. 27 (vs. CHI) and Magic Johnson on Sept. 12 (vs. SF).

It’s the first-ever bobblehead for Sutton at Dodger Stadium, who was given the royal treatment in 2007 in Milwaukee. Sutton was a Brewer for two-and-a-half seasons and a Dodger for 16 – from 1966 to 1980 and again in 1988. He still owns several franchise pitching records, including wins (233), starts (533), games (550), strikeouts (2,696), innings pitched (3,814.0) and shutouts (52).

Which defunct San Francisco ballpark, and which former National League MVP’s reputation, are getting blown up? Read on …

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Daily Distractions: Cardinals need a starter; Astros need a dime; happy birthday Hank.

Chris  CarpenterSt. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is expected to miss the entire 2013 season and may be forced to retire due to a series of injuries.

The 37-year-old was bothered by a nerve issue in his shoulder that limited him to five games last season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter currently has health concerns in his right shoulder, arm and neck.

Significantly for the Dodgers, who have a surplus of starters one week before pitchers and catchers are expected to report for spring training, the GM added that he’s “comfortable” with his starting rotation as it’s composed. Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are the right-handers; Jaime Garcia is the lone left-hander but he’s questionable to start the season because of an elbow injury.

Free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse went 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and would be a sensible replacement. If Mozeliak decides one lefty starter isn’t enough, he might end up calling Ned Colletti, who has two veteran southpaws (Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly)  entering camp with no assurance of a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Lilly has health concerns too – he’s 37 and hasn’t pitched a major-league game since May 23 of last year – and is coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September.

The circumstances seem ripe for a trade, but it will hinge on both GM’s sense of urgency. Publicly, Colletti and Mozeliak say they’re in no rush to resolve their rotation situations, but we’ll see if that changes.

Onto the links …

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