NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- They didn't fill their hole at third base. They didn't add a starting pitcher. They didn't bolster the bullpen or land a pinch-hitter or a backup catcher. But the Dodgers had one of the most successful Winter Meetings of any club not named Detroit by landing Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones. With him, they filled a gaping hole in the middle of their batting order without giving up any of the talented young players coveted by every potential trade partner. So they've supplemented their successful youth movement with a prime-time player who should boost the confidence of his pitching staff because of his bat and glove.
There are still holes to fill, but the Dodgers already appear stronger than the club that finished last season in a tailspin. Deals done: It took two years, but general manager Ned Colletti finally got a bat for opponents to fear in Jones, who has something to prove coming off the worst season of his career. Nonetheless, he immediately becomes the most potent hitter in the lineup. Rule 5 Draft activity: The Dodgers lost left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to the Houston Astros. Goals accomplished: Jones' acquisition provides the Dodgers some flexibility in the form of an extra outfielder, allowing them to dangle young outfielder Matt Kemp if they choose to trade for a third baseman or pitcher. Unfinished business: They are waiting for a decision from Japanese free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Signing him would add even greater flexibility as the club would have surpluses to deal for the third baseman or even another starting pitcher. GM's bottom line: "We still see him as a great player." -- Colletti, on Jones.