Tagged: General Managers

Is Sabathia the New Vlad?

If the Dodgers… Ned Colletti in particular
(i.e. the Human ****)… let Sabathia go to the Angels, it
will be deja-vu all over again. Last time we idly sat back
and let the top free agent on the market (Vlad Guerrero) go
elsewhere (who just happened to want to sign with the
Dodgers) the team was up for sale and the front office was
virtually non-existent. This time there’s no excuse… of
course, other than the front office being non-existent. The
team is not for sale this year so the Ned Colletti’s of the
world  will have absolutely no excuse whatsoever if they
sleep on Sabathia. Face it, the Dodgers thought Sabathia was
going to take a hometown discount to come play here but now
that the Angels have entered the fray… and are claiming
they will come close to Yankee money… the Dodgers cannot
lowball him with a half-*** offer. If the Dodgers want him…
which they should considering he’s by far the best pitcher on
the market and our de-facto ace, Chad Billingsley, just broke
his leg… they are going to have to play by the same rules
as everyone else. Ned can’t go cheap on Sabathia just because
he screwed up on signing Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Jason
Schmidt, Nomar, etc… He’s going to have to open up the
checkbook, match the Yankees offer (or come close to it) and
make CC Sabathia the top paid pitcher in all of baseball if
he wants him in Dodger blue next
season. 

Dodgers Overrating Blake

Plain and simple, the Dodgers are vastly overrating veteran 3B, Casey Blake, who they acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians last season. The prospect we gave up for Blake, catcher Carlos Santana, is now considered by many (including Baseball America) to be the Indians top prospect, over Matt LaPorta (who they got for CC Sabathia). Why would the Dodgers give up such a great prospect for a lame-fielding, light-hitting, below average OBP guy; a player that would cost most teams a C or B level prospect at best? Because the Dodgers were strapped for cash and needed the Tribe to cover Blake’s salary. So what we have here is a team totally overrating an average player and giving away a future star to get him. 

GM Ned Colletti later tried to justify the trade by claiming “Blake has been a big help to our team  with the bat and is a team leader”. First of all, Blake was NOT a big help with the bat. His post All-Star break numbers (which is when the Dodgers had him) are merely average. He hit .264 with a .327 OBP% and 29 RBIs. Not really what you’d call a game changer. On the other hand, Carlos Santana only hit .352 with a .452 OBP% in the minors last year. Sure, it was the minors vs. the majors but I can assure you that Casey Blake has never hit .352 in his professional career nor has he ever sniffed a .400 OBP%, let alone a .450+ OBP%. As for Blake being a “team leader”. I won’t dispute that but I do think the idea is overblown. These are grown men we are talking about and they make lots of money. They have plenty of reason to be motivated without having “great character guys” around them. Besides, take a look at some of the World Series teams of the past and many of them thrived off of clubhouse tension. Take Billy Martin’s Yankees for example. The feud between Thurmon Munson and Reggie Jackson is largely what drove that club. 
Recently, some alarming rumors have been spreading round the home front. Guess who are the only two clubs vying for Blake’s services? You hit the nail on the head of you said the Dodgers and Indians… Some may make the case that both teams have had him and want him back because they know he’s a good guy but others (including me) will make the case that they are the only ones who want him because the rest of the league knows he’s nothing more than a glorified backup. Ned Colletti is placing “character” and “friendship” over a player’s actual game. Then again, what’s new? 

A Call to Arms (or Bats)

How should I say this?… Dodgers’ GM, Ned Colletti, is inept and is unfit for the position he currently holds. I honestly cannot think of a single move he’s made that has actually benefitted the team. This guy brought us the likes of Andruw Jones (over Aaron Rowand), Juan Pierre (over Carlos Lee) and resigned Nomar to play 1B, even though James Loney was already firmly entrenched at the position he was signing him to play. What really bothers me about Ned is his philosophy towards trades. Even if you do hear the Dodgers linked to some big-time, premiere, power hitters, you can be pretty sure that it will never happen. He only seems to target, average, middle of the road players who end up becoming more of a burden than an asset. Esteban Loaiza is a perfect example. Instead of targeting Rich Harden from the A’s, Colletti wanted Loaiza. He often complains about prices for these players but when you see what the Cubs gave up for Harden or what the Brewers gave up for Sabathia, it makes you wonder. Either Ned doesn’t know how to negotiate, doesn’t know how to evaluate talent or other teams are constantly trying to rip him off. 

It really irked me this morning when I was reading thru the baseball blogs and I came upon an article that linked Texas Rangers’ shortstop, Michael Young, to the Dodgers. He’s the sort of player we need. A perrinial all-star that can set the table for the team…sort of like how Rafael Furcal did before he got hurt. However, I read about two sentences before seeing the disclaimer “A Michael Young deal is unlikely, the Dodgers are much more likely to target Adam Everett from the Twins or Jack Wilson from the Pirates”… because they’re exactly what we need, right? Give me a break, Adam Everett is a .220 hitter if that and Jack Wilson is a washed up has-been (and mark him down for a .250 average). Obviously, the Dodgers’ biggest need is offense, yet GM Ned Colletti refuses to bring in solid bats year after year, opting for mere chump change instead. For example, as I stated earlier, Casey Blake is a nice player but Adrian Beltre would’ve fit in the lineup a whole lot better. I could be completely wrong but from what I’ve been hearing, Beltre wouldn’t have cost all that much more than Blake in terms of prospects. The worst part about it is if we had just added a guy like Chris Withrow or James McDonald, we probably could’ve had CC Sabathia and definitely could’ve had Rich Harden. 
Many people have pointed out to me that none of this is Ned’s fault, Frank McCourt is to blame for not giving Colletti enough money to work with. Are you kidding me? The dude that just gave Andruw Jones $18 million per is forking over enough money for his players? Give me a break. The problem is not a lack of resources. The Dodgers have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and one of the most well-stocked farm systems as well. We have plenty to do with and to deal from. The problem lies in the personnel decisions that have been made. Colletti has literally squandered the team’s future every chance he’s gotten. My biggest problem with him is the fact that he thinks very small. You’re just not thinking World Series when you prefer Adam Everett to Michael Young to replace Rafael Furcal. 
In another article I read (from the LA Times I believe), the journailst firnly stated, with confidence, that the Dodgers are not involved in talks for Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez whatsoever…the two bats that could really make a difference in the middle of our lineup. Many Ned apologists will say that the price for those two players is too prohibitive and there is no guarantee that they would resign with the team in the offseason. I suppose that’s true but in order to win, you’ve got to take chances. CC Sabathia likely won’t resign with the Brewers but they shipped off their best prospect (and one of the best prospects in baseball), Matt LaPorta, to get him. Unless the Dodgers start taking some chances, they will finish the season with a sub-.500 record. Unless Colletti reverses his current philosophy and starts adding quality players instead of fill-ins, the Dodgers won’t even sniff a World Series for another 10-20 years. 
There are countless numbers of Dodger fans who believe that we should only be building from within, period. They literally think that within five years or so, homegrown Dodger prospects will occupy every single position in the field. Even if we did have such mind-boggling good fortune, the fact of the matter is we do not even have the personel in the minors to accomplish such a feat…namely, a middle of the lineup power hitter. Unless someone like Andy LaRoche, Blake DeWitt, Andrew Lambo, Lucas May, Pedro Baez or Austin Gallagher suddenly turns into the next Ryan Howard, we are going to have to find those middle-of-the-order guys elsewhere, either thru free agency or via trade. Now, I’m not trying to knock guys like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. Every single one of those players would be a perfect hit if the team didn’t have to solely rely on them for our run production. For example, if a guy like Matt Kemp had some protection in the lineup, it would make him that much better. Imagine if Andre Ethier was our #6 or #7 hitter… just imagine how strong of a lineup that would be…
1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Russell Martin, C
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Jeff Kent, 2B
5. Andre Ethier, RF
6. Casey Blake, 3B
7. James Loney, 1B
8. Angel Berroa, SS
Is not a World Series-Caliber Lineup
1. Matt Kemp, CF
2. Michael Young, SS
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Matt Holliday, RF
5. Andre Ethier, LF
6. Russell Martin, C
7. Jeff Kent, 2B
8. Casey Blake, 3B
Is a World Series-Caliber Lineup… just to give you an idea of how much further we have to go. 
And don’t even tell me that pitching wins because that’s only half the picture. The Red Sox had plenty of good pitching but without a power, run producing lineup, they would struggle to put runs up on the board (just like the Dodgers do). Good pitching means absolutely nothing if you’re not scoring more runs than the other team. In my opinion, it’s a complete waste to have a pitching staff as good as ours is (a World Series-Caliber Pitching Staff) and an anemic offense backing them up. 
This year there seems to be an awful lot of activity going on at the deadline. The Dodgers have a chance to acquire cornerstones to the offense for years to come… and I’m not talking about Tex and Manny (who could leave in free agency after the season). I’m talking about guys like Michael Young (signed for 5 years), Adrian Beltre (signed for multiple years) and even guys like Jason Bay (signed for 2 years) or Nate McLouth (signed for multiple years). Maybe even Matt Holliday (signed for 2 years) would make some sense…that is, if the Rockies were crazy enough to deal him to us. 
But you get my point, right? It’s either time for Ned to get proactive on the big bat front or to lose his job outright. The NL West is ours for the taking this year and if we could significantly improve our offense, with the pitching staff we’ve already got, we’d have a legitimate chance to make, and win, the World Series. If things stay the way they currently are, the best we can hope for is a sub-.500, 1 and out, playoff appearance. 

Depodesta, Unfairly Ousted?

Sure… it’s well after the fact but the more I think about it, the more it becomes obvious that former Dodgers’ GM, Paul Depodesta, wasn’t given a fair shake during his tenure in Los Angeles. Dodger fans and the media essentially crucified the guy over trades that have proved to be excellent deals for the team in the long run. At the time, certain Dodger fans were irate that the team would trade steroid kingpin, Paul Lo Duca, for future ace and Cy Young candidate, Brad Penny, because Lo Duca was an undeserved “fan favorite”. Of course, the fans had no idea what was going on behind the scenes… They had no idea that Lo Duca (along with Guillermo Mota, who was also included in the deal) were known steroid using cheats and were major detriments to the clubhouse… just the opposite of what everyone assumed. There was literally a belief back in those days that Lo Duca was a “team leader” and was basically the glue that held the clubhouse together. We found out that couldn’t be further from the truth from former Senator, George Mitchell, when his investigation into the use of PEDs in Major League Baseball, The Mitchell Report, was released before the season began. Lo Duca was pegged as not only a user but also as a supplier who turned many players on to PEDs. Needless to say, the fans and media jumped the gun when they called for Depodesta’s head over that trade. 

On top of ridding the club of the cancer that was Paul Lo Duca, Depodesta brought in last year’s runner up for the NL Cy Young Award, Brad Penny. Nowadays, there isn’t a single team in the league that would trade a pitcher of Penny’s caliber for a catcher of Lo Duca’s caliber. Lo Duca played for a couple teams after the trade and saw his production steadily decline. The Mets cut ties with him over the offseason due to declining production and off-field incidents that garnered negative press. He actually had a reasonably tough time finding another job but eventually latched on with the lowly Washington Nationals and is currently on the DL. Recent National’s call-up and top prospect, catcher, Jesus Flores, has been out-producing Lo Duca at and behind the plate while playing in his place which may relegate Lo Duca to the bench once he returns from injury. In retrospect, the Lo Duca trade ended up being one of the better trades in the team’s illustrious history. Not only did Depo secure the team a frontline starter, he also cleared the way for Russell Martin to eventually take over at catcher, even though Dioner Navarro filled in during the meantime. Had the team kept Lo Duca, Martin would’ve likely been dealt for pitching help at some point. Thankfully, that was never an option in Depo’s mind. He understood Martin’s potential and Lo Duca’s defects long before anyone else had any idea. 
Another knock on Depodesta (spearheaded by local Los Angeles Radio host, Vic “the Brick” Jacobs) was that his “computer” and SABRmetric approach towards putting the team together was not only counterproductive but was a foolish and heartless way of evaluating talent. Ridiculous statements like “Depo’s computer can’t measure team chemistry” were made at the time Lo Duca was dealt. A picture was painted in the media that Depo and his computer would be the downfall of the Dodgers…even though the same stats and formulas he was using were the exact same stats and formulas that have netted Theo Epstein and Red Sox 2 World Series Rings over the past several years. 
In comparison to current GM, Ned Colletti, Paul Depodesta rates favorably in my eyes. For one thing, he never would’ve touched players like Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones with a 10 foot pole let alone throw $10 million and $18 million per year at them, respectively. Players like that would’ve been about as far down on his shopping list as they possibly could be. They are in fact the antithesis of a SABRmetric player. They don’t get on base which in effect means they don’t account for nearly as many runs produced as they should. Depo was all about getting the most bang for the buck. He was NOT about signing players just to sign them…just to have something to show the fans heading in to the season. His moves may not have been instantly gratifying but proved to be the right ones over time. The man was not given a fair chance to succeed and was instantly written off as a heartless, soulless, new-age, mathematician who viewed all players as nothing more than a set of numbers. It’s become readily apparent that that wasn’t the case and he actually had a much better understanding than the fans or media of what was going on behind the scenes than anyone could’ve imagined. His moves may not have been popular when they were happening but have proven to be best for the club. Hopefully, Dodger fans are now willing to give him the credit that he is due. 
Paul Depodesta is currently working as a consultant for the San Diego Padres. His blog can be found at ‘http://itmightbedangerous.blogspot.com/’. 

Bottom Feeders

Heading into the ’08 season, the Dodgers had massive expectations placed on them. New Hall of Fame manager, Joe Torre, brought a handful of rings with him to Los Angeles and that championship mentality was supposed to rub off on the Boys in Blue. GM Ned Colletti, shelled out the cash this offseason in order to sign high-priced slugger, Andruw Jones ($18mil per year), and Japanese pitcher, Hiroki Kuroda. Many analysts out there were not only picking the Dodgers to win the division…they were picking them to go all the way to the World Series. It seemed like the team had everything in place heading into the season; an excellent pitching staff and bullpen and a multitude of young offensive players with just as much potential as any others in the game. Add in the “big bat” of Jones that we always needed and the Dodgers looked like a force to be reckoned with…or so we thought. The team is already in the basement of the NL West not even a month into the season. What had all the makings of a tight division race is turning into a bloody massacre. As of April 22nd, the D-Backs are already 6 games ahead of the Dodgers in the standings. It pains me to say but the Dodgers are only a half game in front of the lowly Giants in the standings. It can’t get much worse than that. 

So what’s going on? What could possibly have happened to this team? Many expected the young Dodger bats to explode this season but they had the wrong team. So far it is the D-Backs who have been hitting the cover off the ball. The bats of players like Russell Martin and Matt Kemp have been virtually non-existent. There’s no excuse for Martin since he’s been playing everyday but Matt Kemp (who many believe is the best offensive player in the Dodgers’ lineup), has been getting benched on a regular basis to make room for the likes of Juan Pierre and the $18 million dollar man, Andruw Jones himself. 
Without a doubt, Jones has been the biggest disappointment, by far. He was brought in with the belief that he’d provide the lineup with some much needed power. ’07 was a down year for him but he still managed to hit 26 HRs with 96 RBIs. Over the offseason, Jones blamed elbow problems for last season’s woes and claimed that he was all better heading into ’08. His swing was supposedly fixed and he was in line for a big year…or that’s at least what he wanted us to think. Jones has been so unbelievably bad to start the season, it’s hard to justify starting him anymore. In 63 at-bats he’s hitting a miserable .159. I really don’t know what else to say about that…it’s pretty self explanatory. The low batting average might be somewhat acceptable if there were some big power numbers to go along with it but that hasn’t been the case at all. His first HR finally came last week against his former team the Braves and he only has 3 RBIs to show for the season. He’s literally getting out-powered by the likes of Gabe Kapler (4 HRs), Eric Hinske (4 HRs), Geoff Blum (2 HRs), Robert Andino (2 HRs), and former Dodger OF, Luis Gonzalez (2 HRs). Unless something quickly changes, it’s going to be hard to justify any playing time for Jones this year. We have minor league OF’ers who could produce more than that. If we’re going to flounder like this, we might as well let a kid like Andrew Lambo get some playing time. He’s only 19 but could probably match or top Andruw’s production already. I don’t think anyone will debate that the Andruw Jones signing was the worst of the offseason, by far. Now that we’re stuck with him, he’s only taking away at-bats from more worthy hitters like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and yes, even Juan Pierre. 
I put this one on Colletti. Once again, he picked the wrong guy. Aaron Rowand is looking awfully good right about now but he’s manning center for the lowly Giants instead of for us. This obviously isn’t the first time that Colletti has signed a player who will cost the team games in the long run. Last year we went thru the wringer with Juan Pierre, who Colletti brought in for 5 years at $10mil+ per year even though we didn’t need another OF…or at least not that one. We could’ve gotten the exact same production that we got from Pierre out of a guy like Delwyn Young or Jason Repko. That’s what’s called talent evaluation. Somehow, Colletti got the idea that Pierre was a valuable player when he in fact was not. Either his scouts were feeding him bad information or Colletti thought it up himself. An old school scout might still view Pierre as a productive player but those in the new school know how wrong that view is. I’ve gone over it many times before but Pierre is a low OBP% guy who’s only good for stolen bases. Stolen bases are more of a negative than a positive, especially when the guy stealing the bases hits 7th or 8th in the order. In other words, getting caught stealing costs the team more than getting those stolen bases. The risk is not worth the reward….he could either get caught stealing and put an unnecessary out on the board or we could end up with a runner on 2nd for the #8 hitter or pitcher to knock in… Besides, I think Ned was the only person out there who thought the team needed more speed. Power is what we lack, not speed. 
That’s why I can’t entirely blame Ned for the Jones signing. In theory, it’s exactly what we needed…a big time, proven power hitter capable of knocking 50+ HRs over the fence in any given season. Not only did Jones have the power, he supposedly had a glove as well. Afterall, he’s won the Gold Glove every year since 1998 (but we all know how bogus the Gold Glove award is being that Derek Jeter wins the Award every year as well). For all of Pierre’s shortcomings, it was actually his fielding that hurt us the most. Players were getting extra bases on Pierre’s noodle arm every time the ball was hit to him. Comparatively, Jones has a cannon and can gun down runners from just about anywhere on the field. Obviously, he’s a massive upgrade over Pierre defensively but he has lost a step or two over the years. Many in the Dodger camp claim that he’s already a good 20 Ibs. overweight. His range has virtually been cut in half and he doesn’t have the same propensity for making highlight-reel catches anymore. The coaches are saying that he needs to get himself in shape but that’s a notion that doesn’t seem to be on his mental horizon. It appears that Jones has cashed in on baseball and is now just along for the ride. If he were just about any other player on the team, he’d be manning CF for the AAA affiliate in Las Vegas…but sending $18mil down to the minors is a tough pill for any GM to swallow. 
Eventually Ned is going to have to take the heat for this. The majority of his free agent signings haven’t gone well for the team. He basically throws away a large sum of money every year and blocks superior players from playing in the process. It costs the team games in the long run. Some of the blame has to fall on Joe Torre as well, even if the LA media would have you believe otherwise. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you should bench a .159 hitter and play one of the more promising young players in the league (Matt Kemp) in his place… Torre has a reputation for sticking with his veterans thru thick and thin, even if it starts to become a detriment to the team. He may have had enough room for error with the Yankees to get away with that but the Dodgers simply can’t afford to lose production at any position. They must be firing on all cylinders in order to win the division. Unless last place is acceptable, we need to get production out of the players we put on the field. I have confidence in the fact that Torre will eventually realize this. Loyalty to Andruw Jones is not worth a last place finish. Loyalty to Juan Pierre is not worth losing games 1-0. As bad as it has looked, there is still a chance that Andruw Jones can get it together but it’s probably not a very good bet at this point. I guess Torre must think he’ll eventually pay off if he keeps going to him but the message may finally be sinking in. Jones batted 8th on Monday in Cincinnati and
is looking more and more like he may be banished to the bench until (or if) he gets over whatever is holding him back. 
The most frustrating part of this start is the fact that our pitchers have been doing their job. If we could get any amount of offensive production whatsoever, we’d be in good shape. The bottomline is Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier need to play everyday. If anybody should be platooning, it’s Jones and Pierre. It would work out well because they are right-handed and left-handed hitters respectively and are not carrying their weight in the lineup as everyday players. In my opinion, Torre should get the benefit of the doubt. It’s been a while since he’s managed in the National League and is still getting familiar with what he has and doesn’t have on this team. Expect him to make a few adjustments here and there as the season goes on and fix some of the problems that are currently plaguing us. At this point, a trade for a power hitting 3B doesn’t sound so bad anymore. We need more production than we’re getting out of that lineup and we’ll either have to bring in some new guys or figure out a way to get something out of what we’ve got. To say that the Dodgers have disappointed thus far is an understatement. 

What’s in Ned’s Head

Within this specific blog, “What’s in Ned’s Head”, I will try to make sense of some of the curious moves made by Dodgers’ GM, Ned Colletti. There’s no doubt that he has made some strange moves during his short tenure in Los Angeles, some that leave you scratching your head, some that make your jaw drop and some that can be explained when looked at in a different light. I will try to extract logic from seemingly senseless bufoonery. It’s not an easy task but I’ll do my best. Some moves are justifiable and others are hopeless. This is a topic that will be revisited because I do not have enough time to cover all of the odd moves made in one blog.

#1. The Julio Lugo Trade
At first glance this was a complete and total waste of time. We had absolutely no need whatsoever for Julio Lugo. Furcal and Kent were injured at the time but neither guy was expected to be out for long. Lugo completely bombed in LA and saw his playing time disappear when the incumbents got healthy. This trade appeared to be a major mistake on the surface but when you look a little deeper you will see the genius involved. We traded two minor leaguers, Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza, to the Devil Rays for Lugo. Guzman was a once highly touted, power hitting, middle infielder who’s stock had slipped in recent years and was converted to the OF due to his poor fielding ability. Many saw Guzman as a solid regular in time but hasn’t reached his potential in Tampa. When you dig a little deeper you will find that this trade was essentially a minor league/prospect exchange because Julio Lugo became a free agent once the season ended and signed with the Boston Red Sox during the offseason. Due to Lugo’s production over the years, he was classified as a Type A free agent by Elias Sports Bureau. ESB has devised a system that ranks MLB players based on production. A Type A free agent is considered to be ranked in the top 20% of their position. If another team signs your Type A free agent in free agency, the team is required to pay a compensatory 1st round draft pick to the team that free agent is leaving. In Lugo’s case, the Boston Red Sox gave us the 20th overall pick in the ’07 draft. With that pick the team drafted 18 year old high school pitcher, Chris Withrow, out of Midland Christian High School in Texas. Assistant GM and former Director of Scouting, Logan White, describes Withrow as a “frontline starter” with “outstanding mechanics”. So in essence we traded Joel Guzman for Chris Withrow. When this trade is viewed from that angle, it looks a whole lot better than it did at the time. If Withrow really does fulfill the potential that Logan White sees in him, this could be one of the greatest moves of Colletti’s tenure with the team.

#2. The Juan Pierre Signing
I’d like to be able to point to something under the surface as to why this deal made sense but I can’t and it didn’t. This deal was absolutely mind-boggling and was the definition of a “panic move”. Once again, Colletti missed out on the big name, free agent, power hitters like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee and ended up with Pierre as a passable consolation prize, or so he thought. Pierre was always a popular player with the fans ever since his World Series days with the Marlins. Colletti must’ve thought that fans would be satiated by a big name, well-liked, nice guy in celebrity-hungry Tinsel Town. However, most Dodger fans are from places other than Hollywood and just want a winning team. They saw thru the facade and never understood the deal from day one. We already had a superior centerfieder in Matt Kemp and a far better leadoff hitter in Rafael Furcal. Not only was Pierre pushing better players like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Jason Repko to the bench, he was no better than a #7 or #8 hitter on this team. Due to Ned’s frenzy to sign an outfielder, any outfielder, we ended up with a feeble-fielding, noodle-armed, inconsequential featherweight who kept a rising superstar (Matt Kemp) on the bench for half the season. Of course, part of the blame should go to Grady Little (who’s another story all to himself) for playing the guy but I’m sure there was substantial pressure from the front office to play their new ten million dollar man. All in all, Colletti managed to grossly overpay for an under-skilled, unneeded outfielder that he locked up for way too long (5 years). The length of the deal was astonishing when you consider Ned’s disdain for long-term deals. As it was reported (and evidenced by the contract) he was unwilling to give a far better outfielder (Andruw Jones) 3 years let alone 5. Not only did Ned go berzerk on the number of years for Pierre, he also (reportedly) gave him a limited no-trade clause. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! There really is no explaining this one. All I can say is that if I were a professional baseball player, I’d sign Pierre’s agent immediately.

#3. The Luis “Gonzo” Gonzalez Signing
This one really bothered me because it showed Colletti’s true colors. Ned was signed right out of our most hated rival’s front office…the Giants. He was mentored by popular media punching bag, Giants’ GM, Brian Sabean. Sabean is world-renowned for his infatuation with elderly players. The teams that he assembles are often referred to as “geriatric” and “ancient”. Of course, Sabean had the unenviable job of mixing personalities with the volatile Barry Bonds, something that doesn’t really allow for a young, inexperienced team. He needed guys who had been around the block a couple of times and knew how to deal with the media circus that was constantly surrounding the team. The Dodgers, on the other hand, were in far better condition. The case can be made that Jeff Kent is has somewhat of a mercurial disposition but the Dodgers were in the opposite position of their cross-state rivals. Our farm system has been stocked to the brim with top prospects for years now (thanks to former Director of Scouting and current Assistant GM, Logan White). Many of those prospects are now coming into form and taking their place on the big league team. Many had thought that emerging stars like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Chad Billingsley would be fixtures of the everyday lineup for the Blue Crew in ’07. That belief was ruthlessly crushed when Ned signed the 39 year old, ex-Diamondback to an incentive-laden one year contract. At least he didn’t go the Juan Pierre-route and lock him up to a half-decade-long deal but again, the move pushed worthier players aside. Had the deal been made 10 years earlier, it would’ve been a great move for the team. Ten years ago Gonzo was the type of power-hitting outfielder that this team needed but at the ripe-old age of 39, his power had been sapped, his bat speed slowed and his range in the outfield virtually cut in half. All he did was eat up at-bats that could’ve gone to much more productive players. Colletti was quoted at the time as saying that he didn’t want to give a starting job to young players who hadn’t “earned it”. That statement really blew me away because Gonzo had only hit .271 with 15 HRs the previous year which wasn’t any better than the numbers that the “unproven rookies” would’ve put up if given the chance. Since then, Ned seems to have learned his lesson. About midseason or so, Gonzo was surpassed on the depth chart by the young players previously mentioned and started causing problems in the clubhouse. He had underperformed throughout the season and added fuel to the clubhouse fire on top of that. By the end of the season the clubhouse had fractured down the middle between vets and young players, the team suffered a historic collapse that ended any chance that they may have had at making the playoffs and former manager Grady Little’s fate was sealed. Gonzo was released when the season ended and made statements that he wanted nothing to do with team. When Grady Little was fired and replaced by future Hall of Famer, ex-Yankee skipper, Joe Torre, Gonzo changed his tune and said that he would welcome a comeback now that the team had new leadership. That was wishful thinking on his part because the team had no use for him and wanted nothing to do with him. He’s definitely worn out his welcome in LA. When factoring in all of the ill-effects that emanated from this deal, it proved to be one of the more costly decisions that Colletti has made as general manager.