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Dodgers looking at Ned Colletti long term, and that's not a bad thing

September 06, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • The Dodgers are working on a contract extension for General Manager Ned Colletti.
The Dodgers are working on a contract extension for General Manager Ned… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

This post has been updated. See details below.

On the eve of the Dodgers' biggest series of the year, in San Francisco, word comes that the team is closing in on a multiyear contract extension with General Manager Ned Colletti.

Talk about a setup.

Colletti seems a divisive figure among some team followers, many of whom cannot forgive him of his Giants roots or the bad contracts he gave ex-Giants Jason Schmidt and Juan Uribe. Or when he battled tears of joy when the Giants won the World Series in 2010.

[Updated Sept. 7, 10:30 a.m.: To be fair, it should be pointed out Colletti's son, Lou, is a scout for the Giants. Colletti has said his happiness was for his son being part of a World Series champion, not for the Giants.]

And, sure, some of his signings (Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Juan Uribe) proved less than stellar, and some of his trades even he would no doubt like to have back (Carlos Santana for two months of Casey Blake; Edwin Jackson for Danys Baez).

But no GM gets them all right, no matter how beloved. And certainly Colletti has had his share of successes (Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley; Manny Ramirez for nothing; Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot for Blake DeWitt and two unheralded prospects).

He's operated under two completely opposite business plans in the past year alone: the bankrupt team owned by Frank McCourt and the money-is-seemingly-no-object approach under the current group.

You could even argue he's succeeded under three different sets of operation, initially having a reasonable budget to work with when McCourt first brought him over from the Giants at the end of the 2005 season. Those teams twice advanced to the National League Championship Series.

This past off-season, with the team in bankruptcy court and McCourt reducing payroll, he still pieced together a rotation with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, added valuable pieces Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston Jr., showed patience with Ronald Belisario, signed Jamey Wright and had the Dodgers with the best record in baseball when the team was finally sold in May.

Then comes the Guggenheim group, and every guideline he was operating under before vanishes. Suddenly there are enormous amounts of financial resources available. It's almost a joke -- like he died and went to GM heaven.

Yet he adjusts quickly. He grabs Hanley Ramirez and pulls an absolutely stunning deal to acquire first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, immediately answering the team's biggest need -- lack of power at the corners.

So right now, though the offense is not clicking as hoped, the pieces are still in place, the additions still strong.

The assumption by most was that when the team was sold, Colletti's days were numbered. New ownership would want its own management team, would want full credit for any future successes.

But Colletti is more adaptable than a chameleon, to go from working under McCourt to impressing Mark Walter and Stan Kasten.

He's four months on the job under the new regime, and looks deserving of an extended stay. His detractors had better get over it. Maybe there are better GMs, but there are plenty of worse ones.

Now Colletti can go up to San Francisco with the team this week to discuss it.

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