Dodger Drivel: The Ned Colletti Era Evaluated
After two years of Ned Colletti, many Dodgers fans feel it's time to evaluate their GM's decision-making skills. No doubt, the ballclub has seen significant changes since the end of the 2005 season, when Colletti replaced fired GM Paul DePodesta.
In the meantime, L.A. has appeared once in the playoffs (as a wild card in 2006), and has experienced two mildly successful, but frustrating, .500 seasons.
It seems prudent, then, to take a look at Colletti's major transactions over the past two seasons. Will he be found successful or failing in his decision-making? Will Colletti, in retrospect, prove to be a better GM than his predecessors?
December 6, 2005: Dodgers hire Grady Little as manager
Little's tenure with Big Blue resulted in a contentious clubhouse and a mediocre record (by Dodgers standards). While Little and Colletti painted the 2007 managing change as a mutual decision, it's clear that Little was no longer wanted by the Dodgers.
December 13, 2005: Traded for Andre Ethier, sending Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez to the Oakland Athletics
Ethier is a Dodgers fan-favorite and a young player to watch; Perez's lackluster play isn't missed and neither are Bradley's temper tantrums.
December 21, 2005: Signed Kenny Lofton to a one-year contract
Though Lofton's tenure as a Dodger was short, he provided important veteran influence in the team's 2006 playoff run.
December 23, 2005: Signed Brett Tomko to a two-year contract
Tomko's salary wasn't obscene, but his performance wasn't great. A failed starter, he made little impact in the Dodgers bullpen and was unceremoniously let go after 2007.
February 7, 2006: Signed Takashi Saito to a minor league contract
Saito has proven himself to be a dependable closer, and the Dodgers managed to pick out a great (despite being on the old side) rookie.
August 1, 2006: Traded for Greg Maddux and cash from the Cubs for Cesar Izturis
While Izturis has been anything but spectacular in his last two seasons, hopping from club to club, Maddux chose to quickly leave L.A. after a decent season. The Blue gave up a talented defense-oriented player for a one-and-done veteran pitcher.
November 22, 2006: Signed Juan Pierre to a five-year contract
Pierre's small-ball style hasn't caught on in L.A., as the Dodger faithful have lamented his weak arm and lack of power. While Pierre is off to a great start in 2008, his five-year contract is jarring. Is Pierre worth a $45 million investment? Most would say no.
November 29, 2006: Signed Randy Wolf to a one-year contract
Wolf was oft-injured and rarely effective as a Dodgers starter in 2007 and bolted for the Padres in '08.
December 8, 2006: Signed Jason Schmidt to a three-year contract
Widely regarded as one of the worst (if not the worst) signings in baseball for the last several years, Colletti handed Schmidt a huge payday. Schmidt has since started six games for the Dodgers to the tune of more than $10 million in salary thus far. The signing brought back bad memories of Darren Dreifort to the Dodgers organization.
December 8, 2006: Signed Luis Gonzalez to a one-year contract
Though Gonzo left for Florida after a season, he provided a decent bat and some much-needed leadership in 2007.
August 1, 2007: Traded for Scott Proctor from the Yankees for Wilson Betemit
The Dodgers certainly don't miss Betemit's awful bat, but they do miss having another capable third baseman with all the injuries at the position. Proctor has been a workhorse over the last couple of seasons, but has made little positive impact in the L.A. bullpen.
August 25, 2007: Signed David Wells
The rotund Wells nearly provided the boost the Dodgers needed to reach the playoffs in 2007.
August 30, 2007: Claimed Esteban Loaiza off waivers from the Athletics
Loaiza has been ineffective as a fifth starter for the Dodgers, but he certainly hasn't been worse than other fifth starters in the rotation such as Hong-Chi Kuo.
December 13, 2007: Signed Andruw Jones to a two-year contract
Though it's still early in Jones' first season as a Dodger, the downpour of boos at Dodger Stadium when Jones comes to the plate is utterly staggering. Analysts and fans alike were shocked by Jones' salary after coming off a .220 season, his weakest yet in the Majors.
November 1, 2007: Named Joe Torre manager
Though many have decried Torre's high salary and questioned his passive approach, he has brought a steady hand to the dugout and has already shown the ability to please players, management and fans. Let's not forget the boost of excitement that Torre's high-profile signing has brought to the Dodgers this season.
Pick 'ems: 2
Yes, Colletti has had only two years as the Dodgers GM, but do Dodgers fans have reason to be dissatisfied? Colletti's tenure has clearly been the very definition of a mixed bag. The team has collected pieces that could help it excel for years to come, but when he has made poor decisions, they've been colossally poor. Can the Dodgers put together a satisfying 2008 season and continue to build for the future with Colletti at the helm? Time will tell.
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