Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Ned Colletti due to his release of his new book The Big Chair. While I have yet to pick up his new book, it is definitely on my list of books to buy.
Ned Colletti has been going to various Los Angeles book stores promoting his new book, The Big Chair. While I have not yet picked it up, it’s made me reflect over the past few days on Colletti’s run as the general manager of the Dodgers. While he often is criticized for failed signings like Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones, and Juan Pierre, it seems to me that Colletti gets a raw deal. Let’s not forget he also had to keep the team running successfully while the McCourts were busy fighting over the Dodgers. It’s safe to say that Ned was working away in a very toxic environment.
Building a Winner
Something I will remember most about Ned Colletti is that he built winning Dodger teams. Colletti was captain of the ship from 2005 to 2014 and only one time did the Dodgers finish with a losing record. The Dodgers also made the playoffs five times in Colletti’s nine years, and while that may sound easy since the Dodgers have vast resources, it wasn’t always that way. Colletti had the best winning percentage of any National League general manager during his Dodger tenure. The Dodgers went to the NLCS three times during the Colletti era, and while that isn’t the definition of success, it was some of the best Dodger seasons since they last won the World Series in 1988.
Flair for the dramatic
One thing is certain about Ned Colletti, and that is that he was never afraid to make a bold move. Afterall, Ned swung trades for two maligned all-stars in Manny Ramirez and Hanley Ramirez. The Manny trade in 2008 ended up ranking as one of the best trades in Dodger franchise history. Mannywood was born, and the slugger had a tear similar to JD Martinez this season and helped the Dodgers make the NLCS multiple times. Although he was later suspended for PED’s, the Mannywood days were some of the most fun times I’ve had as a Dodger fan.
Colletti also had the guts to pull off another blockbuster deal with the Red Sox that brought Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. While this trade ultimately happened so the Dodgers could land Adrian Gonzalez, it was a big trade for the Dodgers as they finally had a power hitting first baseman. While Crawford and Beckett did not work out as well as Adrian has, they both had their moments as a Dodger.
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Footprints on the current Dodger team
While Colletti was ousted by the new ownership, he has made a lasting impact on the Dodgers. The 2018 Dodgers will have many players drafted or signed by Ned Colletti, and this years team that finished one win shy of a World Series title also had Ned Colletti’s footprints all over them. Among notable players drafted under Ned’s reign were Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, and Cody Bellinger. Several prospects that rank highly were also drafted by Ned’s team such as Alex Verdugo and Trevor Oaks.
Ned also made several signings that didn’t look like anything special at the time, but boy did they ever pan out. Justin Turner was a minor league signing by the Dodgers, and he was only supposed to be a utility infielder but turned into a star third baseman. Colletti also made impactful signings on the international market by signing Hyun-Jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig who are still prominent members of the Dodgers. While there is no doubt Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have done their part as well, there is no denying that the current Dodgers still have traces of Ned Colletti’s tenure throughout the organization.
The name Ned Colletti still frustrates some Dodger fans, but when you break down his entire tenure as the Dodgers’ general manager he really did a nice job. Despite the ownership fiasco he made sure the Dodgers were competitive and wasn’t afraid to make bold moves to improve the team. I can’t wait to pick up his new book and find out what went on behind the scenes of his Dodger tenure.