Can you breathe yet? Can any of us? I’ve had a pretty good idea that Ned Colletti would be leaving the GM job for a few days, but I didn’t know until the announcement came out that Andrew Friedman would the one coming in. We’d heard the rumors, and dismissed them. Now, it’s real.
But Colletti isn’t gone, fully. According to Ramona Shelburne, he’s being shifted (with a new contract) to being a “special advisor” to CEO Stan Kasten. From the official press release:
“Ned’s knowledge and experience in the game covering 33 years will be a great asset to the club as we continue to add and build our player development system.”
OK, maybe, sure. Tommy Lasorda is a special advisor too, and he’s basically a living mound of pasta who yells at people. What that truly means, I don’t really know. What it means is that he’s not in charge of the baseball operations department anymore. He might not even have a phone number to that department anymore. This, I do not hate.
Way back in Nov. 2005, the Dodgers hired Colletti away from the Giants to replace Paul DePodesta. Through ups (five postseason appearances in nine years, not selling low on Matt Kemp, having Manny Ramirez fall into his lap, buying Hanley Ramirez away from Miami for nothing, not panicking to deal away Corey Seager for 10 relief innings), downs (Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, Carlos Santana, Andruw Jones, Octavio Dotel, Brandon League, so many others), unbelievably ridiculous ownership situations, he proved himself to be incredibly adept at one thing: surviving. Any of those expensive free agent disasters, some of which were easily seen from the day they were signed, could have been enough. The ownership change could have been enough. Nothing was enough. Not until now.
It’s kind of funny to think about the thin line between employment and firing, I guess. If the offense had showed some more life against the Cardinals and the Dodgers advance, this probably isn’t happening. If Clayton Kershaw had thrown something other than a fastball in Game 1, this might not be happening. If Andre Ethier doesn’t get picked off, or if Scott Elbert doesn’t give up a homer, maybe this isn’t happening. It’s fair to say “the bullpen he built brought him down,” and fine, but man, we’re talking about decisions made based on a four-game sample size. You know that goes against everything I believe in.
But while that could be cause for me to question this choice, and while I myself have admitted that Colletti’s recent years — perhaps reined in by Stan Kasten — have been better than his earlier ones, don’t for a second think I’m not in favor of this. There’s the general stink of anyone selected by Frank McCourt actually making decisions, for one thing, and so many of the questionable decisions above. It’s time. I’m so ready.
I would have said that no matter who was replacing him, really, and that’s a question that’s yet to be answered, really — Friedman is reportedly not going to be the GM, but is the “President of Baseball Operations,” free to hire his own GM, just like Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in Chicago.
Who might that be? What does this all mean for Don Mattingly? We’re already hearing that Joe Maddon, who lives in Long Beach and has just one year remaining on his Tampa Bay contract, might be a consideration.
I can honestly say I don’t know. But I’m really, really excited to find out.