7:44pm: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News spoke to multiple Dodgers insiders, with one source telling him, “I’m already hearing all kinds of rumblings” regarding Colletti and, to a much lesser extent, Mattingly. Other sources to which Martino spoke praised Mattingly’s people skills and ability to manage the superstar egos involved in the Dodgers’ four-headed outfield monster. In particular, a source tells Martino, Mattingly was instrumental in getting Ethier to buy into a reduced role.
7:14pm: Following the Dodgers’ postseason loss at the hands of the Cardinals, sources within the organization tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that GM Ned Colletti could be on the hot seat (Twitter links). Ownership is said to have more of a soft spot for manager Don Mattingly, says Rosenthal. He continues, however, by noting that if the Dodgers do replace Colletti, the new GM may very well want to name his own manager. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears similar things, noting that Mattingly’s job appears to be safe, but the outlook for others in the organization is less certain (Twitter link).
This season marked the second straight disappointing exit from the playoffs for the Dodgers, who were considered a favorite by many going into postseason play due to their elite group of starting pitchers. Colletti famously swung perhaps the most talked-about blockbuster in recent history when he acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto from the Red Sox in exchange for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, James Loney, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus back in August 2012. However, despite solid performances from Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett this season, the Dodgers will again watch the World Series from home.
Additionally, the Crawford acquisition combined with extensions of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to create an expensive logjam of outfielders for the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig’s emergence as the team’s best hitter has made it impossible for all four to get regular at-bats, and top prospect Joc Pederson has no clear path to everyday at-bats with the Dodgers in the near future, either. Bullpen expenditures Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Brandon League and Paul Maholm haven’t panned out (though League did recover from a disastrous 2013 with a strong 2014), and trade acquisitions Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez yielded sub-par results. Moreover, the team spent a combined $53MM on Cuban infielders Erisbel Arruebarrena and Alex Guerrero, yet neither contributed in 2014 and it’s unclear if both will fit into the long-term picture following the emergence of Dee Gordon.
Of course, there’s plenty to like about some of Colletti’s moves. The decision to re-sign Juan Uribe looks outstanding, and the team’s mere $1MM investment in Justin Turner was perhaps one of the biggest steals of the offseason. That move will continue to pay dividends, as Turner is controllable through the 2016 season. J.P. Howell has produced tremendous results at a reasonable rate over the past two seasons. Also, Arruebarrena and Guerrero had strong performances in the minors, so either could generate trade interest.
If Colletti is replaced, that would incredibly mean that four of the five teams in the National League West would have changed GMs in roughly a five-month span. Padres GM Josh Byrnes was fired in June, while the D’Backs dismissed Kevin Towers in September and the Rockies just announced today that senior director of player development Jeff Bridich would take over as GM, with Bill Geivett and Dan O’Dowd resigning from their posts.