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Monday, December 12, 2011

Ned Colletti, Value, Prospects, and A Complete Disconnect

Value is a funny thing. We debate it when it comes to major awards like Most Valuable Player, and often infer it from team accomplishments when trying to assess the contributions of an individual. The one thing I believe we can all agree on, however, when it comes to value, is that Ned Colletti has no conception of it.

None whatsoever.

The man has proven that to be true time and time again, and in varying ways (the recent trade of Dana Eveland for two mediocre, raw prospects not withstanding). It's evident with his recent signings of over-the-hill veterans whose best days are behind them, or who were for all intents and purposes never-weres to begin with. These signings waste money and years and take up roster spots from younger players who are both cheaper to keep on the roster and have a little something called upside. Ivan DeJesus is not going to be any worse than an aging and terrible Adam Kennedy, and in all likelihood he'll be better. There's certainly the chance he'll be more productive, while we know what we're getting from Kennedy (no offense, solid at best glove).

Bringing in one utility man to round out the bench is never a bad idea, and Ned's signing of Jerry Hairston, Jr. was just that. I would not have given him the two years he received, more money than he's ever made in a season as he's in his mid-30s, and signed him after already having signed two other utility men in Kennedy and Mark Ellis, who will unfortunately be starting. Of course, I would not have signed Kennedy and Ellis to begin with, but that's neither here nor there since I'm just a lowly blogger and not a General Manager with a clear fetish for the aged.

Moving back to value, that veteran fetish of Ned's manifests itself in not only blocking young prospects, but trading them away. Josh Bell was one such prospect, moved to Baltimore for reliever George Sherrill. The Dodgers have had a black hole at third base for years, and they traded away their best third base prospect in Bell for a reliever, way way back at the deadline in 2009.

Sherrill was solid as 2009 wore down, though he was quite lucky as well, as his advanced stats show that his shiny ERA was a mirage. Bell would not make his MLB debut until 2011, and has lost much of his luster as a prospect since being moved. However, it must be noted that he is still just 25 years old. That's ten years younger than Hairston, Kennedy, or Ellis can boast, and it also brings with it that all important potential and upside. Some guys are late bloomers, and perhaps Bell is one.

Even if Bell never accomplishes a single thing at the major league level, it's that value that he possessed that is so critical. He could have easily been part of a larger package of players used to bring in an impact player, but instead was shipped away by our terrible G.M. for a player who plays at the most fungible position in baseball. Colletti gave away a young third baseman with pop, a good eye at the plate, the willingness to take a walk, and a projected good glove for an older middle reliever.

I would imagine some would make the argument that Colletti didn't settle for Sherrill, but knew he couldn't pry more away from a team for Bell and took what he could get. That fallacy falls apart for two major reasons. We'll start with the second of the two reasons. Bell was coming off of two fantastic seasons in the minors, putting up lines of .273/.373/.455/.828 (.368 wOBA) and .296/.386/.497/.883 (.393 wOBA) with the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009, respectively. And now, the first and foremost reason Colletti simply failed (and continues to fail) to get adequate value back for a player he didn't need to trade in the first place and who should have been given the opportunity to help in the show at a position the Dodgers have desperately needed help in for ages: he's Ned Colletti.

Colletti Gonna Colletti, as it's been put elsewhere in the blogosphere. The Carlos Santana for Casey Blake trade is all the proof you need that Ned Colletti is a terrible General Manager who can't comprehend value to save his life. I'd say to save his job, but clearly he has pictures of someone. That, and our soon-to-be-deposed owner is a broke crook who is even worse at his job than Colletti in all likelihood, and that's extremely difficult to do.

Picture this Dodger team: Santana behind the dish, Bell at third, Dee Gordon at short, Blake DeWitt at second, Jerry Sands in left or right, and enough money that's not presently tied up in mediocre veteran-y goodness to have been serious players for Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to man first base.

A point I can't possibly emphasize enough is that results-based decision making is intellectually lazy and highly flawed. When you make a decision in sports, you don't know exactly what will happen. You can prognosticate what will occur and have some idea, but you're never entirely sure how a player will perform, if he'll stay healthy, and things of that nature. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, however, to know that trading a young asset with value for an aging and at best mediocre veteran is a terrible idea. Waiting until a situation has played out to pass judgment is just an easy way to never be wrong. It's saying that I don't want to take the time and put in the effort to analyze something, so I'll wait, see what happens, and then look intelligent.

Ned Colletti, value, and prospects just has Colletti Fail© written all over it. Anyways, the Bell autograph above was a couple of bucks at my LCS, and was acquired on Black Friday. Every time I look at it, it simply invokes disappointment in the current state of the Dodgers and our quite useless General Manager.


  1. I know what it's like for your team to have a completely clueless GM who just makes things worse and worse. I hope things get better for the Dodgers, being one of MLB's flagship teams in many ways. If they can improve drafting, (and they have recently, picking up guys like Kershaw) develop guys and learn who to keep, those FA signings will be a thing of the past.

  2. Ned is the worst. This may be odd to say but, he may have hurt the Dodgers more than McCourt. At least as far as on the field performance. Ned had had some cash to spend but, spends it like an idiot. He has no direction or goal. I really think that he is trying to hurt the team more than help it. Ned will be gone by this time next year if not sooner.

  3. I want Ned to die. There I said it, I don't care. Die Ned. I hope he gets hit by a car and some 80 year old doctor, who's way past his prime has to operate on him. Die on the operating table Ned...die.