Deadline has Dodgers ramping up scouting efforts

Deadline has Dodgers ramping up scouting efforts

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers recently shuffled coverage by their special assignment scouts to target teams that are their most likely partners by the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Dodgers scouts have an increased presence with Milwaukee, as well as continued coverage of the Chicago Cubs, Colorado, Philadelphia and Minnesota.

The players believed in their sights include Brewers sluggers Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart; Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster; Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer; and Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. At the top of the club's wish list are a productive corner infielder and a starting pitcher.

Each of these players has an expensive contract, which makes them prime candidates for the Dodgers, who now have the financial wherewithal to pick up another club's bad contract. Conversely, many of the most attractive obtainable players this summer will cost a package of prospects that the Dodgers don't have.

Ramirez might be the best fit, a 34-year-old third baseman with 10 homers and 50 RBIs who is owed $31 million through 2014. Hart, a 30-year-old outfielder with first-base experience, has 16 homers, 37 RBIs and is owed $13 million through 2013.

Cuddyer, a 33-year-old outfielder who can play first base, has 12 homers, 49 RBIs and is owed $26.5 million through 2014. Dempster, currently on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, is owed the remainder of his $14 million salary this year then will be a free agent.