Notes From Sin City: Joe Torre Certainly Likes His Veteran Players

Our MLB editor files dispatches from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in Notes From Sin City.

Joe Torre's admiration for veteran players like Bernie Williams in his years with the Yankees is almost legendary, so it should come as no surprise that, as the Dodgers try to navigate through an offseason of expansive upheaval, Torre is placing a big emphasis on veteran players.

Torre raved about the apparent signings of infielders Mark Loretta and Casey Blake for that reason, and the value he places on experience quickly bled over into a discussion about pitching.

"You need somebody to lead the way," said Torre. "If you do have that one guy that they can follow to take the pressure off the young guys and stop a losing streak, it makes life easier."

Chad Billingsley, who is only 24, has the most major league experience of all the starting pitchers on Los Angeles' big league roster. That's not exactly the type of veteran leadership Torre is talking about.

Derek Lowe has officially informed the club that he will not return to L.A. next season, leaving the Dodgers in a bit of a bind as they search for the experience Torre places such a high premium on, which leads us right back to CC Sabathia.

Sabathia is still young, but he would certainly provide the veteran leadership Torre is after. He also apparently expressed a desire to play in Los Angeles to general manager Ned Colletti.

"He's got a few things going for him," joked Torre. "He's pretty special. I wouldn't mind giving him the bat every couple of innings either. He's the pearl right now."

All that talk, and it still seems unlikely the Dodgers will make a serious run at the burly left-hander. Despite Sabathia's apparent interest in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are hanging back as other teams line up to pursue him.

Notes From Sin City: Joe Torre Certainly Likes His Veteran Players originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 09 Dec 2008 19:20:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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