Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 Moves That Ned Colletti Wishes He Could Take Back
Oh, where to start. Until he was handed a gazillion dollar payroll, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti wasn't the most popular kid on the block. For a while at least, most of the fire was directed at owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.
But with a bright new season upon us, the time comes to praise Colletti for putting together an All-Star lineup and a much-improved rotation. The new ownership group told Colletti they want to win now at any cost, and he's following through.
So before we get all cuddly with big Ned, let's look back, once and for all, and discuss the five moves he wishes he could take back during his Dodgers tenure. Or, at the very least, the moves we wish he could reverse.
5. Jason Schmidt
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Signing a pitcher who had been dominant for your most bitter rival can either be viewed as a coup or a reach. Usually, it depends on the result. And when Colletti signed Jason Schmidt to a three-year $47 million deal before the 2007 season, it was definitely a reach.
He was 35 at the time and common practice states to avoid such large deals with aging power pitchers. Still, there was potential as Schmidt was near unhittable with the Giants. But after just a few starts in 2007, Schmidt hit the DL.
And stayed on the DL, for most of his Dodgers tenure. When he was pitching, usually it wasn't pretty. I wish I could say Colletti has recognized his mistake and avoided deals like this, but Ted Lilly would have something to say about that.
4. Carlos Santana
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Yes, the Dodgers once employed the current Cleveland Indians catcher in their farm system. With the Dodgers, he was a top prospect but Colletti saw fit to trade him away for aging third baseman Casey Blake in 2008.
If you haven't heard, Santana is a budding young star for Cleveland and a rarity of epic proportions: a switch-hitting catcher who can play defense and put up numbers on offense. No disrespect to current Dodgers catcher and fan-favorite A.J. Ellis, but Ned messed that one up.
Over the last few years, the Dodgers have worked with Ellis, Matt Treanor, Russell Martin, Rod Barajas, Dioneer Navarro and Brad Ausmus behind the plate. None compare to the production Santana would have brought to the team.
3. Andruw Jones
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We all fondly remember the short-lived, unproductive career of Andruw Jones in Dodger Blue, don't we? Signed to a two-year deal worth about $18 million per before 2008, Jones spent his time in Los Angeles either injured, overweight, failing miserably with runners in scoring position, or all three.
Needless to say, the Dodgers did not re-sign him after the 2009 season, but did agree to defer some of his contract to later years. Essentially, Colletti paid Jones the money to do absolutely nothing but alienate the fanbase.
And believe it or not, the original deference of the money calls for Jones to receive his final paycheck from the Dodgers in the middle of the 2013 season. Technically, Jones is still a member of the Dodgers. Technically, that was still an awful decision in the first place.
2. James McDonald
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In 2010, Colletti traded away promising young right-handed pitcher James McDonald for a couple months of veteran reliever Ocatvio Dotel and a minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. At the time, the move was a head-scratcher.
The Dodgers seemed to be giving up too early on McDonald, who has gone on to post good numbers in Pittsburgh, though he hasn't become elite. Dotel didn't even survive the season in Los Angeles, as L.A. shipped him to Colorado in mid-Septmeber. He went on to win a World Series title the following season in St. Louis.
McDonald has been a good, young starting pitcher for the Pirates, including a couple very dominant stretches over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have been clawing for consistent depth behind Clayton Kershaw until this year. Having a guy like McDonald in the fold down the stretch last season could have gotten the Dodgers into the playoffs.
1. Juan Uribe
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It's not even close. The reason this move tops the list of bonehead decisions is because it was a crazy deal at the time, and has proven to be so over the course of the last two seasons. Everybody (probably even Giants GM Brian Sabean) was sure this would be a bust, but Colletti went for it anyway.
Coming off a completely uncharacteristic power surge in 2010 with the Giants, Uribe's numbers (a career on-base percentage below .300) somehow convinced Colletti to give the third baseman a three-year, $21 million deal. Ignoring common baseball sense and statistics usually backfires.
And this one sure did. A lot of time on the bench, more time on the DL, and so many strikeouts it would make your head spin. The Dodgers frantically tried to rid themselves of Uribe this offseason, but nobody was biting, unsurprisingly. Dodgers fans will need to suffer one more season of Uribe on the 25-man roster, but shouldn't expect anything productive out of the wild, upper-cut swing of his.