"We weren't going seven years, six, five, four -- maybe," general manager Ned Colletti said. "We were very interested in the person and talent, not the duration. Much like Manny [Ramirez]. Five years for Manny, four, is not where our interest lies. We'd love to have him back for shorter than four or five years. Same with CC."
The Dodgers never presented Sabathia an offer. And a recruiting phone call from owner Frank McCourt a week ago couldn't keep Sabathia from agreeing to a seven-year deal with the Yankees. Colletti said the brief pursuit was peripheral to his rebuilding the roster and missing out on the lefty doesn't change the Dodgers approach at these Winter Meetings.
They still want to add a veteran starter and reliever, but neither is likely to be a high-money impact pitcher. They still are hoping to re-sign shortstop Rafael Furcal after finalizing the addition of utilityman Mark Loretta.
If they are to sign a big contract, it will be for Ramirez, but it won't be as big as Ramirez wants. Although the sides spoke Monday night for the first time in a month, neither side changed position, and there is no offer on the table. If the Dodgers don't get a hitter in the winter, they showed with Ramirez that they can get one in the summer.
Colletti Tuesday said he is not currently "down the road" on any other free-agent starting pitcher. But he is not in a rush because most of the free-agent pitchers still aren't signed and more could become available after Friday's tender deadline.
As for his starting rotation, it is what it was before the Sabathia interest surfaced -- young and thin. It consists of Chad Billingsley and his broken leg, Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw and a group that includes Jason Schmidt, James McDonald and Eric Stults. Colletti said Billingsley had the cast taken off a couple days back and the healing is proceeding as expected.
Schmidt has one win and two operations since he signed two winters back.
"We're not counting on it," Colletti said when asked if Schmidt had a starting slot. "If it happens, great. We're prepared to go without."
As the Dodgers seek a pair of veteran arms -- Andy Pettitte, Randy Johnson and Trevor Hoffman are among those on the radar -- one attribute the Dodgers are looking for is some leadership skills and a willingness to be a mentor to a very young staff. The bar for that role was set very high by Greg Maddux, who has retired.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.