Dodgers: Ned Colletti’s Fingerprints Are All Over This Team

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 27: Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, watches batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 27: Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, watches batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

While many fans have their focus on what Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have done to make this team what it is today, they fail to acknowledge the fact that former GM Ned Colletti has his fingerprints all over this jewel of a team.

Ned Colletti was named General Manager back in 2005. He held that title until the end of 2014 when he was demoted to an advisory role. But during his time with the team, the Dodgers made five playoff appearances and had just one season below .500. While he was the GM, the Dodgers’ record was 783-674. He was great but just not getting the job done, thus his demotion in favor of a brand new brain trust.

He has had some great deals, but the biggest of them all came when he acquired three All-Stars and a key utility player from the Boston Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez, who is still on the team and a fan-favorite, two injury-plagued stars in Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, and of course the scrappy Nick Punto. This deal set the tone for what we know the Dodgers to be now: big spenders. His big spending was one reason for his demotion, as the Dodgers ownership was looking to lower payroll.

But all in all, his demotion seems like it has been a win-win situation. Giving him the role of advisor means he still has a lot to do with the team. For him, in particular, it relieves all of the stress and criticism that come with being a GM while still getting to do what he loves and doing it in a more relaxed way.

Fans of the Dodgers and any team for that matter, have a love-hate relationship with the team’s General Manager. When the team is doing great the GM gets all the praise, but, if the team is underperforming, they get all the blame.

It is no secret that Friedman and Co. have elevated the team to its historic season. But it would be silly not to give some credit to the man pulling all the strings before this new ownership brought in a “dream team” into the front office.

So how can someone three years removed from the title of GM still get credit for building this particular team? Well, it’s quite easy. Everyone raves about how Friedman has held onto top prospects like Bellinger, Seager and Urias. But it was Colletti who drafted or signed all three of these phenoms. Not to mention a multitude of other players that make the Dodgers’ farm system among the elite.

Yes, Friedman has added the role players that are necessary for a championship run. That was something Colletti struggled with; getting those complimentary players to help out and create depth up and down the roster. But boy oh boy did he give Andrew Friedman some core of players.

Let’s start with the obvious one. Clayton Kershaw, the ace of the staff, was selected by Ned Colletti. Kershaw has been the best pitcher on the planet since 2011 and if it wasn’t for his back injuries last season and this season he may have very well added two more Cy Young trophies to his already decorated career. Three Cy Youngs and one MVP award to go with his many All-Star appearances.

That was one of Colletti’s first picks as a GM, but some of his last picks may have been just as relevant. Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger who are two of the key pieces in the Dodgers’ stacked lineup. Both drafted by Colletti and both look like they are going to be fun to watch for many years to come.

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If you’re thinking “that’s easy, I could see that talent and make those picks,” well can you do this? Sign a catcher from the island of Curacao, see that he’s not panning out, and allow the pitching staff to give him a shot on the bump. That is exactly what Colletti did, and it worked out very nicely, to say the least, as Kenley Jansen is the all-time saves leader for the Dodgers and has been the most dominant reliever in all of baseball the last two seasons.

You can also add Yasiel Puig to that list of players Colletti has signed and Puig is having a bounce-back season and producing much like many expected from him. Colletti signed the Cuban sensation when he was only 21-years-old and, as of right now, looks like he is finally putting it all together.

Above everything, perhaps the most impressive deal that Ned Colletti struck was signing a utility player whom the Mets wanted no part of. That player is Justin Turner. Colletti signed him after the Mets decided not to and it may have been dumb luck, but we will take it. Turner has turned into an MVP candidate and one of the best hitters in baseball.

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As you can see, Colletti has his fingerprints all over this team. Acquiring our three best hitters in Bellinger, Seager and Turner, drafting the best pitcher on the planet and signing the best closer in baseball. Colletti has drafted and signed the best players on our team which is why he deserves some credit for the success that this team is having.