3 Reasons Los Angeles Dodgers Shouldn't Fire GM Ned Colletti
The Los Angeles Dodgers have not made the playoffs since 2009, so General Manager Ned Colletti should be on the hot seat, right?
Thanks to Colletti, the Dodgers are in a great position to win the NL West this upcoming season and for many seasons to come.
Throughout his tenure in Los Angeles, the franchise has seen the best of times and the worst of times.
The Boys in Blue have had a winning record in six of Colletti’s first seven seasons with the Dodgers, including two trips to the National League Championship Series and an overall record of 597-536.
However, the Dodgers have failed to reach the postseason in three consecutive seasons, and the fans are beginning to get impatient.
They shouldn’t be. The Dodgers are set to succeed in the near future with Colletti, and here is why.
Locking Up Kemp, Ethier and Soon Kershaw
Ned Colletti has done a fantastic job locking up the heart and soul of this Dodgers team.
Following the 2011 season, the Dodgers were able to avoid arbitration and re-sign 2011 home run champion and Gold Glove-winning center fielder Matt Kemp to an eight-year deal—through the 2019 season—worth $160 million.
Then on June 11, 2012, the Dodgers re-signed two-time All-Star right fielder Andre Ethier for another five years—through the 2017 season—at $85 million with a club option for 2018.
With both Kemp and Ethier returning, the Dodgers’ offensive future looks secure. The two players have been the spirit of this Dodgers lineup for years and now combine with Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez to make up one of the strongest lineups in the National League.
Over the offseason it is expected that Ned Colletti and the new Dodger ownership will also make Clayton Kershaw the highest-paid pitcher ever to play professional baseball.
Currently signed only through the 2013 season, the potential two-time Cy Young winner is set to make just $11 million next year.
As Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies set the new standard price for the top pitcher in baseball with a six-year contract worth $144 million, it was assumed that Kershaw will be offered a number well beyond that, considering Kershaw is just 24 years old and has already proven to be one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Expect Kershaw—Ned Colletti’s first draft selection in 2006—to sign within the next few months.
Trades and Signings
In his time in the Dodgers’ front office, GM Ned Colletti has made a series of enormous acquisitions that have helped Los Angeles continuously stay in playoff contention.
The first trade he made as GM of the Dodgers came as he traded outfielder Milton Bradley to the Oakland A’s for some guy named Andre Ethier.
From then on, Colletti has been a staple in the free agent, trade and international markets. Since 2006, Takashi Saito, Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Furcal and many more have worn Dodger blue.
And not to forget the $42 million Yasiel Puig, who has become one one of the Dodgers’ best hitting prospects.
However, by far the biggest moves he has made as a General Manager have come in this past season.
During the 2012 year, Colletti and the Dodgers’ new ownership traded with the Philadelphia Phillies for Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton, got Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins and in the biggest trade of his career, traded the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto after the July non-waiver trade deadline.
While the Dodgers did take on a lot of money with these trades—more money than Frank McCourt paid for the team—Los Angeles has players such as Gonzalez and Crawford under contract until at least 2017 and Beckett and Ramirez through the 2014-2015 season.
Help from the New Management
Under Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti was constricted by financial restraints, yet he was still able to create playoff-caliber teams.
Now with the backing of the Chairman of the Guggenheim Partners, Mark Walter, as well as owners Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, Colletti has the money and necessary tools he needs to consistently go after the top players in the majors.
In an interview following the trade with the Boston Red Sox, President Stan Kasten had this to say about the Dodgers’ spending limit:
"I haven't found it yet," President Stan Kasten said. "I'll let you know when we get there."
The Dodgers have also hired Gerry Hunsicker to be the new Senior Advisor or Baseball Operations. Hunsicker has spent 34 years in professional baseball including time as the GM of the Houston Astros.
His career has been highlighted by the past seven seasons in which he helped turn the Tampa Bay Rays from bottom feeders to yearly contenders as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations despite working with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
This extra experience in the front office will be beneficial to the Dodgers’ decisions moving forward.
With help from the Dodgers’ new ownership, Ned Colletti has the core pieces in place and has the money to adequately fill out the rest of the roster, thus turning the Dodgers into perennial World Series contenders.
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