McDonnell Podcast: Dodgers GM Ned Colletti
LOS ANGELES -- There was a time not too long ago that bringing up Ned Colletti's name around Dodger fans would cause many to go apoplectic. While trying to calm their rage in order to speak, you would hear details about some of the worst free-agent contracts ever signed in professional sports history courtesy of the Dodgers' general manager.
There was the three-year, $47 million deal given to pitcher Jason Schmidt, who pitched just 43 1/3 innings and was never heard from again.
Then there was Juan Pierre, who had played on the Florida Marlins' 2003 World Series winner, and ended up playing well after his stint in L.A. But as a Dodger, it was anything but impressive, showing up with a weak bat and an even weaker arm -- Colletti gave him $44 million for five years.
Finally, he signed a deteriorating Andruw Jones to a deal for $36.2 million over two years. The bloated former Brave hit .158 in his only year with the Dodgers.
However, it's 2013 and Colletti has obviously learned from his mistakes and is very likely the Executive of the Year in MLB. And Dodgers fans are smiling instead of turning red.
Colletti sat down recently with Joe McDonnell of the McDonnell
Podcast on FoxSportsWest.com (click here to listen) and talked about the
newest star and maybe the ultimate reason the Dodgers turned this
season around so quickly and decisively, Yasiel Puig.
In 2008, Colletti brought Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers in a trade that cost them virtually nothing and helped revitalized the franchise. Colletti also acquired Andre Ethier from Oakland for the troublesome Milton Bradley, and engineered the deal with Boston last year that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford over from the Red Sox.
The rest is baseball history, as the Dodgers have gone from 9 ½ games out early in the year to 13 ½ games ahead in the National League West.
And Colletti is the one currently having the last laugh.
"Criticism is part of the job, especially when you're the general manager of the Dodgers," said the 59-year-old former Cubs' PR director. "And all of us will go through it from time to time. The key to being successful is having a lot of patience when you make an important decision, and to believe in what you're doing.
"We all believe we're building a good team for the long term."
He also talks about another injury-plagued year by Matt Kemp and the Dodgers' chances to win their first World Championship since 1988.