Zack Greinke unlikely for Dodgers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Speculation when the winter began was that the two Los Angeles-area teams would engage in a bidding war for prized free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke. It hasn't quite worked out that way so far.

The Los Angeles Dodgers packed up from the winter meetings Thursday pessimistic that they would be able to land Greinke, and the Los Angeles Angels all but closed the door on re-signing Greinke when they landed pitchers Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton in the past week.

Asked if he was on the "doorstep" of acquiring Greinke, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said: "We're not on the front lawn. ... We're barely out of the car at the curb. It's better than driving around the neighborhood looking for the house. We know where the house is located. We just can't seem to get out of the car."

The Dodgers began negotiations with Greinke's agent, Casey Close, in Nashville, but it doesn't appear that they have made a formal offer to this point. Speculation is that Greinke could command a record deal for a right-hander -- in the six-year, $150 million range.

Given the Dodgers' deep pockets, it's unlikely they would be outbid for Greinke, so it's possible he prefers to pitch in another city. Reports indicated he was leaning toward the Texas Rangers.

Colletti said he wouldn't try to talk a free agent into playing in Los Angeles. The Dodgers still feel confident they can land a starting pitcher to insert somewhere in the No. 2 or 3 spot in their rotation behind Clayton Kershaw. Colletti said there are "two or three" pitchers who fit that description available either in free agency or via trade.

The Dodgers identified James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays as a target shortly after the season ended and they have checked in on Kyle Lohse. It's believed they also have interest in Anibal Sanchez, who appears to be the second-best free-agent option.

Meanwhile, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto sounded as if he had checked out of the Greinke discussions.

"Zack is a curious guy, an intellectual, and he wanted to see what free agency is about. We respected that," Dipoto told Angels reporters. "I wish him the best. Zack is a good person, he works hard, and he's an outstanding pitcher. What he gets, he gets."