GM Initiation: Ned Colletti

Ned Colletti was hired as general manager of the Dodgers on November 16th, 2005.  His first deal, struck about a month later with the Athletics' Billy Beane, was a huge success.  Colletti shipped Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez to Oakland for young outfielder Andre Ethier, who had just been named MVP of the Double A Texas League. 

Colletti kindly answered a few questions for MLBTR about his first trade.

MLB Trade Rumors: It was rumored that the Cubs, Yankees, and Blue Jays were also in on Bradley, with the Cubs even sending Dusty Baker to the player's home.  Were any of the other possible trades close, or was Oakland always the frontrunner?

Ned Colletti: There were a couple of teams who showed a passing interest. But the calls lacked substance. Oakland had a sincere interest. The calls were of a far more serious nature.

MLBTR: At the time of the deal you called the situation with Bradley and the Dodgers "irreconcilable."  Why did you feel that way?

Colletti: I had watched from a distance what had occurred so I had some read on the situation. When I went to the Dodgers I asked a few people who were in the midst of the situation. I asked them for facts and not opinions. I also talked to players, some who were friends with Milton. Finally, at the winter meetings in Dallas I met with one of his agents. He confirmed that giving Milton a fresh start would be best for everyone.

MLBTR: Before the '06 season Baseball America suggested Ethier might not have enough power to be a corner outfield regular.  What did you see that made you feel differently?

Colletti: From the outset his swing path was excellent. A young player can develop power later. Once he started to pull the ball more and learned his body and his swing, we felt the home runs would follow. I watched much the same occur earlier in my career, most notably with Ryne Sandberg and the Cubs when then-manager Jim Frey encouraged Sandberg to use his power to pull. Ryno went from hitting 9-12 home runs to hitting 25-40 home runs shortly thereafter.

MLBTR: When your front office puts together a trade, about how many people are involved?

Colletti: It depends on the trade. Anyone who has knowledge of the players involved – both coming and going – are asked to voice their option. It can be amateur scouts, the scouting director, major league staff and an occasional major league player, player development staff and leaders and of course our professional scouts. No one makes these decisions solo or in a vacuum. The more information you can gather from the truest evaluators the better chance you have of making the right decision.

Thanks to Ned Colletti for contributing.  Neal Huntington, Jon Daniels, and Josh Byrnes have also participated in the GM Initiation series.


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13 Comments on "GM Initiation: Ned Colletti"


stalker101
5 years 2 months ago

I refuse to give Colletti too much credit for this trade..He was shipping off two pains in the A$$ and happen to get lucky and picked up something good,which more than likely he was told by his scouts to go after anyway.

bjsguess
5 years 2 months ago

I’m not a Colletti fan but this just doesn’t sound right.

Why was he lucky? The kid posted a career minor league OPS around 850. While it’s surprising to see HOW much power developed – it’s not all that surprising that Either turned in to a very good OF’er.

stalker101
5 years 2 months ago

I state it as luck because that is what it is,there are been all kinds of studs in the minors over the years that can never make it translate into major league performance.It is a crap shoot at best no matter how much studying or scouting you do on someone.How you judge a GM is by his overall performance and good deals and bad deals and not off one trade that yes i say it again he got lucky on because that deal could just as easily been bad.I will give the man credit in that his deals as far as trading goes has been pretty good in that he hasnt hurt the team by trading away any young guy that has performed well elsewhere(excluding Santana but that wasnt his fault it was a trade to save money in the trade and not based on talent)Now as far as his signing go free agent wise that is where he should be condemned and rightly so.

vtadave
5 years 2 months ago

Sure, it’s highly unlikely that Colletti knew what he was getting in Ethier, but you still have to give him credit for the deal.

In a similar vein, you have to take him to task for Schmidt, Jones, etc., deals that may have looked good at the time, but that turned out to be colossal blunders.

Vail Beach
5 years 2 months ago

Christ…there is no more integrity in assuming Colletti was a blind squirrel with respect to the Ethier trade than there is in saying the guy walks on water. I just think it galls a certain kind of sabermatrician that a Colletti could outdo a Billy Beane. Especially as Ethier gets better and better. Before too much longer, this deal will be regarded in history in the same terms as the ones that uncovered John Smoltz or Lou Brock. That is very very bad for the Beane groupies, so they work overtime to discredit the achievement.

Colletti’s performance as GM has been mixed, but leaning positive. Ethier, Kuroda, Manny, Hudson, Belliard and Weaver are on the positive side. Blake-for-Santana will end up being his biggest blunder, but his deals for Schmidt, Andruw Jones, Dennys Reyes were pretty bad. Letting Wolf go was not smart, but I expect that was the owner’s call.

But diminishing the Ethier achievement is just silly. And no fair rooting for his pinkie fracture to be worse than it looks. That still won’t make Beane look like a genius.

jimr_drumr
5 years 2 months ago

Milton Bradley did lead the Oakland A’s out of the 1st round of the playoffs for the first time in years; he did it with another guy the A’s didn’t feel like paying, Marco Scutaro. After a couple years in Toronto, he was The Off-Season Infielder to have. Prior to that, Marco was only fantastic for the A’s, in the immeasurable “clutch” column as well as defensively. But the A’s had money invested in Bobby Crosby so they keep Bobby and trade Marco. Back when Ethier was traded to the Dodgers, I had just read an Oakland Athletics Magazine touting Ethier’s Triple-A numbers and how he was on his way to the Bigs. After the trade, I recall someone (Forst?) saying that “While we like Ethier, we feel like we have a very similar player in Travis Buck” … well Buck is constantly injured/sent down and Ethier is mashing for the Dodgers (in the usually weak NL West). For all of Beane’s great accomplishments, there are plenty that did not work out as well – for A’s fans anyway. You should look at the former A’s who went on to receive World Series rings after being traded: Swisher, Blanton, Dye (also WS MVP), Mulder (!), Kielty (!!), Gaudin (DFA’d already), … and I know I’m forgetting a bunch.

DHiggs
5 years 2 months ago

jimr_drumr,
“Usually weak NL West”…? Over the course of Ethier’s big league career, he has had to face these guys multiple times per year: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeff Francis, Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Dan Haren… did I leave anybody out? The NL West has a boatload of superb pitching. I don’t understand the inference that Ethier has only been mashing because the NL West is supposedly “weak.” Remember, this is also the division that has sent the NL Wild Card team to the postseason more often than any other division in the NL over the past several years.

Gumby65
4 years 2 months ago

Add to that much bigger ballparks, unlike the band-boxes back east.

manoli99
5 years 2 months ago

Add Ely for Pierre to Colletti’s resume. Looks like fleece job #2 to hang is hat on!

manoli99
5 years 2 months ago

Add Ely for Pierre to Colletti’s resume. Looks like fleece job #2 to hang is hat on!

txdodger73
5 years 2 months ago

Logan White scouting the AFL during the fall of 2005. One player that caught White’s eye was Andre Ethier. When Beane came to the table for the Bradley talks, White strongly suggested Colletti demand Ethier in return. A bad GM does not lean on his scouts and player developement staff when it comes to making trades. Colletti is not a bad GM when it comes to making trades, actually he is pretty good. As good as the Ethiwe deal has been, the Carlos Santana deal will likely be as bad. Sure Casey Blake has been a key contributor to back-to-back NLCS appearances, but an argument could be made that Ronny Belliard could have provided similar numbers at 3B for a fraction of the cost. I wouldn’t even classify the Edwin Jackson deal as a bad deal. Sure Colletti probably wishes he had Edwin Jackson right now but a GM can only wait for a young player to develope for so long, especially if you are trying to win now. Colletti trades = B-, Free Agent signings = C-.

Some credit must be given to Colletti for not trading away a very well stocked farm system for proven veterans when he first took the job. Instead of dealing for veterans Ned gambled on some Free Agents who did not pan out.

The acquistion of John Ely is looking to be a real find. Not as big as the Ethier deal but equalivent in terms of value. Ely’s command is what sets him apart from other 88 MPH hurlers who can dominate AA. If Ely could learn a cutter or start putting late movement on his 88 MPH FB he could be productive for many years. he already has a plus change and a very good curveball. Kenny Williams has dealt away some good young pitchers the last couple seasons with little return.

Tx

txdodger73
5 years 2 months ago

Logan White scouting the AFL during the fall of 2005. One player that caught White’s eye was Andre Ethier. When Beane came to the table for the Bradley talks, White strongly suggested Colletti demand Ethier in return. A bad GM does not lean on his scouts and player developement staff when it comes to making trades. Colletti is not a bad GM when it comes to making trades, actually he is pretty good. As good as the Ethiwe deal has been, the Carlos Santana deal will likely be as bad. Sure Casey Blake has been a key contributor to back-to-back NLCS appearances, but an argument could be made that Ronny Belliard could have provided similar numbers at 3B for a fraction of the cost. I wouldn’t even classify the Edwin Jackson deal as a bad deal. Sure Colletti probably wishes he had Edwin Jackson right now but a GM can only wait for a young player to develope for so long, especially if you are trying to win now. Colletti trades = B-, Free Agent signings = C-.

Some credit must be given to Colletti for not trading away a very well stocked farm system for proven veterans when he first took the job. Instead of dealing for veterans Ned gambled on some Free Agents who did not pan out.

The acquistion of John Ely is looking to be a real find. Not as big as the Ethier deal but equalivent in terms of value. Ely’s command is what sets him apart from other 88 MPH hurlers who can dominate AA. If Ely could learn a cutter or start putting late movement on his 88 MPH FB he could be productive for many years. he already has a plus change and a very good curveball. Kenny Williams has dealt away some good young pitchers the last couple seasons with little return.

Tx

AndreTheGiantKiller
5 years 2 months ago

Those two trades are completely different. While Hanley is clearly a stud, Boston got a championship as a result so I’m sure they can live with it. Milton Bradley didn’t lead the A’s to the world series. Quite the opposite in fact.