Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti's severe disconnect hurting Dodgers

Just two days ago, I wrote on Yahoo! Sports that Don Mattingly shouldn't yet be fired. Today, I may have changed my tune.

Just in front of Wednesday's matinee series finale with the Brewers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register brought us these comments from the soon-to-be-former Dodger manager.
"Must-read strong comments from #Dodgers mgr Don Mattingly pregame seemed to point finger at not only lack of "mental toughness" from his players but also at poor construction of the team. We gotta find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn't have that talent,' he said, pointing to last year's team which led the NL West by 5 1/2 games at the end of May despite a far less-talented lineup.
I felt we got more out of our ability (last year). I don't know about being tougher but I felt we got more out of our ability. 
There has to be a mixture of competitiveness. It's not 'Let's put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.' It's finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having talent to go with it.
All grit and no talent isn't going to make you successful. But all talent and not grit isn't going to get you there either.'"
Wow. Someone should check on Ned Colletti after that shot.

Those aren't the words of a manager who's in sync with his boss. There is an obvious disconnect between the two. The thing is, it didn't seem to be that way before this year. Could it be the pressure and under-performance of the team? Absolutely. But that doesn't excuse either from blame.

At this rate, both Mattingly and Colletti need to go. The Dodgers need a fresh start.

Here's my plan:

  • Fire Mattingly and Colletti
  • Promote Logan White to general manager
  • Hire Brad Ausmus away from the Padres to manage

Normally, firing ones GM two weeks before the draft isn't advisable, but White runs the Dodgers' draft anyway, He, DeJon Watson and Vance Lovelace will be able to handle things just fine. Unfortunately, the ownership group would never turn over control of its $250 million team to an unproven, first-year manager. Look for Tony LaRussa's phone to be ringing in the next few days.

Yes, this team has suffered a myriad of injuries, but that's no excuse for the severe disconnect between Mattingly and Colletti.

Case in point: Mattingly wanted to keep Tim Federowicz as the team's backup catcher. Colletti, for some reason, has opted to keep Ramon Hernandez. It simply doesn't make sense. And this is minor compared to other things.

The fact is, this team is 18-26, in last place in the National League West and isn't going anywhere while there's so much uncertainty and, seemingly, strife.

The Dodgers are a few comments and roster moves away from becoming a full-fledged circus. And not the good kind of circus (if there is such a thing).

Photo credit: BryanKemp, Flickr


  1. as i've been commenting on chad's blog, it's clear for some time now that there is something strange going on in the front office. we don't need to talk about the limitations of mattingly, that's available all over the internet, what's strange is the weird contortions that roster management has become. now, chad believes that that's how it usually is, we're just noticing it more this year, maybe that's true but as you've pointed out here, a lot of the roster moves are just weird.

    it's beyond me why more fingers haven't been pointed at colletti during this bad start to the season. of course, mine has been pointed at him from day one...

    1. Saying Colletti's roster moves have often been weird is being too charitable! Starting with throwing away Kevin Gregg they've been just dumb/horrible, even for Colletti. If Kasten is approving these moves then the team has REALLY BIG problems. I'm guessing Mattingly is frustrated with Colletti because his two cents on how to construct the roster has been ignored since March and now he's being the one held responsible for the slow start. FIRE COLLETTI!!!

  2. Mattingly thinks grit and togetherness wins games, so Colletti should be fired? A floundering manager blames the talent level of a roster picked to win the NL West? Colletti should've been let go for a number of reasons, but a shitty comment from Mattingly isn't one of them.

    Also, Logan White has been pretty bad for about half a decade. I believe there's three homegrown hitters on the roster right now and two of them are Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke.

  3. @anon - I'm agnostic on whether logan white should bet the next GM, for me, a tree stump would be better than colletti but your point about his inability to draft and develop (though that's not necessarily his job) hitters is well taken.

  4. Mattingly knows--better than you or I--that Ned is an incompetent GM. He has tried to send that message to Stan, by sitting Uribe last year, by trying to get rid of Ramon, and today by sitting Ethier.
    I agree the Donnie is trying to get fired.
    I hope he succeeds in taking Ned with him before Ned gives away the few prospects we have. I still can't believe we took 200 million of bad contracts and gave away our 2 best pitching prospects.


  5. Where is my dugout BLUE!!!! I NEED MY DUGOUT BLUES!!!!!!! : ) but seriously, where is it? Keep up the good work guys! i love the show!

    1. So sorry for the delay. The new episode will be posted today. Thanks for the kinds words. :)

  6. @86McCourt - I think Dustin and Jared are too depressed to do a podcast.

    @OldFan60 - here's jon heymann's take: and I generally agree with him that mattingly's not trying to get fired but rather know that his days probably aren't long and is going down swinging. maybe too little too late? only time will tell.

    also, if you haven't noticed, crawford and gonzalez (and to a certain extent nick punto) are the only people who're worth a damn right now. the dodgers may have lots of problems but those two (okay, 2.5) aren't it. beckett though, he's been a giant pile of suck, that's true.

  7. No doubt Mattingly and Colletti both need to punch up their resume's. Tim Wallach and Jerry Hunsicker would be my internal choices for replacements, although Logan White is definitely a good candidate. If they go outside the organization, top choice for me is former Dodger Brett Butler, who has been managing in AAA.

    1. I don't think Mattingly should be fired but if he is Brett Butler is an excellent idea. White's drafts have led to a very weak farm system and Colletti is just useless. I'd fire these two before Mattingly since what he said is what I've been thinking/saying for at least weeks.

  8. Trade for Joe Maddon.