The Sixth Choice
His hire is a sad indication of how poorly managed the Dodgers have been since my son Peter sold the team. I would have never ever hired someone from the "Hated Ones." But once we push aside rivalries, we have to ask ourselves if Ned Colletti is actually the right man to run the Dodgers. I'm not overly optimistic.
There's no question that Brian Sabean has done an excellent job of cobbling veterans together to make the Giants one of the baseball's best teams over the years. Ned Colletti has been there every step of the way. But we also know this team would be nowhere without Barry Bonds, as was evident for most of this past season.
Colletti is the anti-DePo. He doesn't think too highly of numbers, stastitical analysis, and new tools which can help you run a better baseball team, as he explained in a Baseball Prospectus interview two years ago. You can also read another stinging rebuke of Colletti here.
Yet, Colletti is well-respected by "baseball men", and liked within the institution for his old school methods. As a former sports writer who later worked his way up in baseball through the Cubs PR department, Colletti had a chip on his shoulder with the old guard, and eventually proved himself to them.
I think McCourt brought in Colletti because of his PR background. This is an owner obsessed with patching together the team's image which he helped tarnish. McCourt saw a man whose written some books, knows how to negotiate contracts to keep payroll in check, and can get along with Bill Plaschke. He puts an outrageously high premium on "veteran" ballplayers (like Neifi Perez), which will please sports writers desperate to disprove new ideas.
Colletti only got the job because Pat Gillick, Gerry Hunsicker, Theo Epstein, John Hart, and even Jim Bowden all said "no". But for a team in need of a PR makeover, McCourt opted for a man who is seemingly more suited at helping the Dodgers in the press than on the ballfield. He could have made history by following the Dodger tradition of ingenuity and hired Kim Ng. Instead, he took the no. 2 guy from the Giants.
Now, Colletti has basically no time at all to make a ton of moves to solidify the team's management. For the front office, I suggest keeping everyone on payroll. Kim Ng definitely deserves to stay as assistant GM, if for no other reason, than to evaluate a team this offseason that Colletti doesn't know. Colletti also needs to keep scouting director Logan White, who is responsible for the Dodgers highly successful drafts over the past few years. As for field manager, Colletti needs to hire someone quick. Bobby Valentine is out of the picture, after accepting a contract extension in Japan. Maybe he'll hire Orel Hershiser, even though Tommy Lasorda doesn't think he's qualified. Maybe he'll just go ahead and hire Terry Collins. Whoever it is, let's not hire another Giant in Ron Wotus, please.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Colletti needs to make this decision quickly, because no free agent wants to sign with a team without knowing who the manager is. Ah, what a mess.
Good luck, Ned. I don't believe in you, but I think I speak for the Dodger nation, when I say that we all desperately want you to succeed.