EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets

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EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets

SAN FRANCISCO The face of the National League West couldundergo another dramatic change in the next 24 hours.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are more eager to give awaycash than the Publishers Clearing House, are reportedly in agreement to takethe injured Carl Crawford and the fried chicken-loving Josh Beckett off theBoston Red Soxs hands in order to get difference-making first baseman AdrianGonzalez. The deal could become official as soon as Saturday.

The players coming to LA are owed somewhere near 275million in guaranteed salary. It remains to be seen how much cash the Red Soxare willing to contribute in what will go down as one of the biggesttoxic-flush trades in baseball history.

Itll be a huge influx in the Dodgers clubhouse, too.Beckett was at the center of last years controversy that cost Boston managerTerry Francona his job. And Gonzalez was said to be fed up there, too.

(Do you remember back in 2010, when Gonzalez spoke openlyabout his impending free agency as the San Diego Padres were desperately tryingto hold on to first place in the NL West? That should tell you something...)

The Dodgers already picked up a noted malingerer inHanley Ramirez, although he has appeared motivated while making a steadycontribution in the middle of their lineup.

The trade, if it happens, will give the Dodgers offense atremendous boost. But it remains to be seen how the players will come together.Will their clubhouse become a powder keg? Or will they come together like happymisfits, the way a certain team did in 2010?

These current Giants have the luxury of a three-game lead, and thecomfort that they dont really need to care either way about who the Dodgers get. The way players in the Giants clubhouse see it, their house is alreadyin order. And strangely enough, Id argue that Melky Cabreras suspensionhelped them to coalesce to a certain degree. Whether it was mutual anger or some other emotion, it brought them together and theyare playing with more of a united front than at any time this season.

I think were just really were just focused on playingour game, right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. Guys are focused on what they cando and thats translating to wins. Its when youre struggling that you try todo more than you can. I like the fact that everyone is just really focused oncontributing.

As for the Dodgers? Did they feel they needed to break thebank to compete with the Giants for the division?

I guess thats a question youd have to ask them,Vogelsong said. If they get those guys, Ill worry about them when I have toface them.

The bottom line: If the Giants keep pitching extremely well,it wont matter. They won't be caught.

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Javier Lopez recorded his third save in a week, which has tobe a record for him. But if he hadnt retired all three hitters in the ninth,it wouldve been Clay Hensleys assignment to pitch to Dan Uggla.

So as the media crowded around Lopez again, Hensley watchedfrom his locker and shook his head with joking disapproval.

Nobody likes a closer-by-committee situation. But if yourein it, you might as well have fun with it.

And by the way, having that third lefty in Jose Mijares isone of the reasons that manager Bruce Bochy has been able to get his matchups inthe eighth and ninth. He used Mijares in the seventh and still had Lopezavailable for the middle of Atlantas lineup, which went left-switch-left-left.

When youre going closer-by-committee, you want to keepyour options open, and (Mijares) is allowing us to do that, Lopez said.

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It sure sounds like Guillermo Mota will be joining theGiants when hes eligible to return Aug. 28 from his 100-game PED suspension.Manager Bruce Bochy said Mota is throwing well for Triple-A Fresno and continues to show hecan contribute down the stretch.

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As for Brad Penny, he made a one-inning start for Single-ASan Jose and allowed an unearned run on two singles with a walk and nostrikeouts.

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As for Aubrey Huff, he is back in the home clubhouse andcontinues to get treatment on his knee, but Bochy said hes in a holdingpattern.

Hard to imagine Huff joining the club before rosters expandin September, if at all. When youre in a holding pattern, you eventually makea smooth landing or you run out of fuel and crash.

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Bochy, asked if Vogelsong was not happy to be lifted inthe seventh inning:

Hes never happy when he comes out, the manager said, smiling.

Giants sign veteran catcher Nick Hundley

Giants sign veteran catcher Nick Hundley

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants announced a one-year deal with catcher Nick Hundley on Tuesday, giving them a veteran backup behind Buster Posey. 

Hundley received a Major League deal worth about $2 million, putting him in pole position in the battle to be the second catcher. The 33-year-old has spent nine seasons in the big leagues, the majority of them with the Padres. He hit .260 with 10 homers last season with the Rockies. 

“His experience overall brings added value to our club,” general manager Bobby Evans said, noting that Hundley is very familiar with the NL West. “The attractive elements of his game and experience bring needed depth for us.” 

Hundley getting a Major League deal means he’s almost certainly ticketed for an opening day job, ousting incumbent Trevor Brown, who spent all of 2016 in the big leagues. Brown hit .237 with five homers in his first full big league season, but the Giants had quietly been looking for a more experienced option who could allow Brown — 25 years old and still relatively new to catching — to get additional seasoning in Triple-A. 

The Giants have not fully ruled out carrying three catchers. Brown, who was drafted as an infielder, occasionally takes ground balls at second and third, and there has been some discussion about a more varied role. 

“It is with some mixed feelings about how much to move him around off catching because catching is a very complex and difficult challenge,” Evans said. “When you move him around you don’t want to take away from what he’s doing behind the plate and at the same time you don’t want him to get hurt at another position. But (manager Bruce Bochy) and I have discussed the fact that we’ll look at him more at different positions this spring than we have in the past because we appreciate the value that he brings.”

The Giants have spent all offseason looking to add a third catcher to the mix, and if Brown is in Triple-A, they will have a third catcher on the 40-man roster who can be optioned back and forth. There will be veterans in camp on non-roster deals, including Tim Federowicz, but opt-out clauses may leave the depth chart short when the regular season arrives. 

In Hundley, the Giants have an option who should provide a little pop off the bench and lessen the drop off when Posey gets a day off. Evans said this move does not indicate that Posey will get additional rest or time at first base in 2017. He caught a career-high 122 games in 2016, winning his first Gold Glove Award. 

“The more we can keep Buster behind the plate and healthy, the stronger our team is,” Evans said. “The ideal is to keep him back there as much as possible and 120 (games) is a very fair target.”

Hundley, a native of the Northwest, is the second player signed to a big league deal this offseason, joining new closer Mark Melancon. The Giants do not expect to make another move of significance. To clear a 40-man roster spot, Ehire Adrianza was designated for assignment. If the Giants can’t line up a minor trade, Adrianza will return to the organization.

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.