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.