Let’s start with the obvious: Ned Colletti is in an advantageous situation as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The wealth of his bosses has enabled him to spend over $200 million on a roster, which certainly helps him to accumulate talent.
But the high-priced talent Colletti has obtained isn’t exactly setting the world on fire; instead, it’s been buoyed by some of the smaller acquisitions, and for that, the much-maligned GM gets some credit.
His big offseason signing was starting pitcher Zack Greinke, and the righty has been tremendous. Despite missing about a month with a broken collarbone, the 29-year-old from Florida has a 2.74 ERA in 160.2 innings—which is the best mark of his career since his Cy Young Award season in 2009.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is another new high-profile member of the Dodgers, and he is another successful signing. After agreeing on a six-year, $36 million contract this past offseason, both sides have to be pleased with the results. Ryu has put up a 3.07 ERA in 173 innings, which is good for an 86 ERA-, according to FanGraphs (which means he has been 14 percent better than the league-average pitcher).
Any discussion of Colletti’s performance has to include mention of Yasiel Puig, and so here it is.
As impossible as it is to imagine now, the Dodgers had legitimate conversations about bringing up Joc Pederson instead of Puig. However—and to Colletti’s eternal credit—the organization decided to call up Puig, who has rewarded it with a .338/.405/.550 line.
The Dodgers also traded for Ricky Nolasco, who has been excellent since coming over (2.63 ERA in 75.1 innings). Colletti deserves a ton of credit for getting a pitcher whose stint with the Dodgers ranks ninth in ERA among all pitchers with at least 70 innings.
On the negative side, though, Colletti has shown a weird fixation with past-their-prime veterans, and this season he has acquired four of them: Michael Young, Edinson Volquez, Brian Wilson and Carlos Marmol.
Wilson has actually been pretty good (one earned run in 8.1 innings), but Young (eight singles, no walks or extra-base hits in 27 plate appearances), Volquez (10 earned runs in 16.2 innings) and Marmol (19 strikeouts, 12 walks in 16.1 innings) have been basically useless. And while none of these new arrivals cost very much, their mere presence suggests that Colletti is not over his love of veterans—a fact that bodes poorly for future decisions.
The big disaster for this Dodgers season has been Brandon League, and Colletti gets the blame for signing him to a contract that could be worth $33.5 million over four years if his 2016 option vests. League has been bad this year—5.72 ERA in 50.1 innings—and the contract looks like it will be an albatross for years to come.
Grading Colletti just for this season is a little difficult because so many of his defining moves were made last year: trading for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez from Boston, extending Andre Ethier and trading for Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins.
That being said, though, he has put together a team that is currently 86-64 and 9.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.
Accounting for his good moves, questionable ones and lack of a signature acquisition, Colletti deserves a solid B+ for his work in 2013.
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