Source: Dodgers stuck until sold

The Los Angeles Dodgers will not be able to bid on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols until the team is sold, a source close to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

The team is expected to sell for in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion, the source said, adding the process will likely take 4-6 months, spilling into 2012 and further reducing the Dodgers' chances of acquiring players through free agency.

Prospective owners in the mix to replace McCourt include Peter O'Malley, Fred Claire, Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and Mark Cuban. However, it is O'Malley, according to the source, who would be the clear front-runner if he teamed up with Fox.

Fox's Prime Ticket subsidiary, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., holds the team's broadcast rights through the 2013 season and has the exclusive rights of first negotiation from October-November 2012 for a successor agreement.

All possible buyers must be vetted by Major League Baseball as one of the initial steps of the sale, instead of one of the final steps, according to three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The change was agreed upon by McCourt and MLB.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson was used in this report.