LOS ANGELES -- Manager Don Mattingly said Saturday a deal involving Carlos Lee isn't dead yet to his knowledge, despite reports the Astros first baseman will veto a trade to the Dodgers.
However, Mattingly made a point to say he only wants players who want to be in Los Angeles.
"If they don't want to be here, then I don't want them," Mattingly said.
The manager wasn't spiteful toward the 13-year veteran Lee, who has a limited no-trade clause. He was understanding of a player not wanting to be moved if he is comfortable in a situation because of kids or family -- or a cattle ranch in Lee's case. But Mattingly was insistent that he only wanted players who were determined to come and help the Dodgers make the playoffs and win the World Series.
Lee expects to make a decision by Sunday whether he'll accept a proposed trade that could include Dodgers pitching prospect Garrett Gould.
Gould, who is ranked by MLB.com as the team's No. 10 prospect, was scratched from his Friday start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
Lee, 36, is hitting .285 with five homers and 29 RBIs and has struck out just 17 times in 242 at-bats.
Mattingly said the team's pursuit of a first baseman like Lee isn't about a lack of patience regarding James Loney but rather a realization the team needs to get better in certain spots.
"You have to realistically look at production we're getting and how do we improve that," Mattingly said. "If anything, you try to improve your club as much as you can and I think as we look at our club, you look at areas where we need to improve."
"There are positions we're not happy with. For us to get where we want to go, we have to get better."
Loney is hitting .236 with two home runs and 21 RBIS in 74 games this season. He is 1-for-27 in his last 10 games and has been replaced by Juan Rivera at first base often. He wasn't in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Mets.
Mattingly said positions like center field, right field and second base are areas where the team is stable. But he said general manager Ned Colletti is working tirelessly to improve the club at other positions for both the short and long term.
Mattingly not letting Dodgers' slide alter demeanor
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers clubhouse was a lot quieter than usual on Saturday, which was picture day on the field.
But players still aren't hanging their heads despite a season-high six-game losing streak. However, that doesn't mean they are content with how things are playing out on the field.
"We saw more frustration out of our club last night," manager Don Mattingly said.
Although the team continues to struggle, Mattingly isn't changing his approach. The even-keeled manager said he never gets too up or down when it comes to dealing with his players.
Mattingly lets his players know how he is feeling, but he isn't one to yell at a player -- an umpire or two, maybe, but not his players.
"That maybe works for a day, but then you have another 90 games," he said. "You can't sustain that in baseball. You can't sustain the screaming and yelling and being fired up."
He said the team held a meeting at the start of the Angels series last weekend after being swept in Oakland, but things still haven't improved. However, Mattingly said he still feels like he is getting the right amount of effort from his players.
Frustrated, but not panicking, he said the team needs to simply stay the course and realize help is on the way with players returning from injuries.
Regardless, Mattingly knows things need to change, even if his even-keeled approach remains the same.
"At the end of the day, guys aren't happy they are losing," he said.
Andre Ethier remained out of the lineup for the third straight game because of a strained left oblique. Manager Don Mattingly said it sounded like the right fielder was feeling better Saturday, but he's still day to day. He added Ethier was not swinging a bat yet, but he was throwing.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.