So they still will acquire a starting infielder, at least two relievers and a utility man. They are still interested in re-signing four free-agent members of the 2013 club -- Juan Uribe, Howell, Mark Ellis and Michael Young.
General manager Ned Colletti and the Dodgers would like to land one of the remaining free-agent right-handed relievers for middle help, a deep list that includes John Axford, Andrew Bailey, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt, Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson, Chris Perez, Fernando Rodney and Jose Veras. They are known to be negotiating with long reliever Jamey Wright and on Thursday purchased Rule 5 Draft pitcher Seth Rosin from the Mets.
For the Dodgers, this Winter Meetings will be remembered more for what didn't happen -- they didn't trade away Matt Kemp, didn't trade for David Price and didn't even get a chance to not sign Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka, for whom their interest appears lukewarm.
But they were busy leading into the Meetings with the signings of Dan Haren and Brian Wilson. And they'll be busy afterward to fill the remaining holes.
Uribe remains the top priority, and who would have guessed that a year ago?
After resuscitating his career with the motivation of free agency, Uribe presents the most convenient solution to the Dodgers' hole at third, as his re-signing would keep Hanley Ramirez happily anchored at shortstop. But he wants a multiyear guarantee and is putting pressure on the Dodgers without clear evidence that any other club is seriously interested. Ramirez told the club he's willing to move to third base as long as he's not juggled back and forth, but the Dodgers would rather not mess with his success last season at short if it can be avoided.
Bringing back either Ellis or Young as second-base insurance would alleviate the need to rush Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to the Major Leagues before he learns how to play the position. From early indications out of the Dominican Winter League, Guerrero's bat is ready for prime time. But the natural shortstop still needs to learn the nuances of second base.
The club is confident the glut of free-agent right-handed relievers will leave an attractive middle-innings option after the closers are signed. But left-handed relief is typically thin, and the Dodgers are balking at Howell's desire for a three-year deal.
Deals done: Nothing yet, but standing by.
Rule 5 Draft activity: The Dodgers wound up with 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher Rosin, acquired in a purchase from the Mets, who took Rosin from the Phillies. Rosin, 25, went 9-6 with a 4.33 ERA for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate in 2013, but he has closing experience in San Francisco's system. He was a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2010 and went to Philly in the Hunter Pence trade.
Goals accomplished: See Deals done.
Unfinished business: All of their needs remain unfulfilled -- an infielder, at least two relievers and a utility man. Then there are contract extensions for Clayton Kershaw and Ramirez.
Bottom line: "I look at our core group of guys. We're not sitting here with tons of holes to fill."
-- Manager Don Mattingly