|Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has been on the job since 2005. (Getty Images)|
CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman broke the story: Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti will soon agree to a multiyear contract that will keep him in charge of one of baseball's signature franchises.
Since Colletti has been at the switch since November 2005, this news gives us occasion to take a look back at his substantial body of work in L.A. Let's do that with an eye toward Colletti's very best and very worst decisions as the Dodgers' "operator" (to invoke the old Bill Veeck taxonomy).
First, let's get this dislaimer out of the way: it's far too early to evaluate Colletti's recent flurry of activity. We simply don't yet know how the blockbuster deadline deals for the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez (among others) are going to turn out. So we'll not pass firm judgment on those. Likewise, it's too soon to know whether the lengthy, pricey contract extensions for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier (and the signing of Cuban defector Yasel Puig) are going to wind up as smart decisions or ill-advised boondoggles. So those won't be on here, either.
1. 12/13/2005, traded for Andre Ethier - Colletti's first major move as Dodger GM was his best so far. At an exceedingly nominal cost of Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez, Colletti acquired a 23-year-old minor-leaguer who has developed into a franchise cornerstone.
2. 7/31/2008, traded for Manny Ramirez - Yes, Manny. Lay aside what you think of him in the here and now, and instead recall what Ramirez did for the Dodgers down the stretch in '08. For his part of the three-way blockbuster with the Red Sox and Pirates, Colletti gave up nothing more than Brian Morris and Andy LaRoche. He received in return a force of nature down the stretch. After the swap, Ramirez hit a jaw-dropping .396/.489/.743 in 53 games. Since the Dodgers prevailed in the NL West by only two games over Arizona, they likely would have missed the postseason if not for Ramirez's post-deadline dominance.
3. 12/16/2007, signed Hiroki Kuroda - Let's fold the subsequent one-year extension into this evaluation. For a price of $47.4 million over four years, Colletti and the Dodgers got back a 3.45 ERA over 699 innings. To hear Fangraphs tell it, Kuroda was worth almost $53 million over that span.
4. 2/7/2006, signed Takashi Saito - Colletti first showed a deft touch in the Pacific Rim market when he signed the deliriously underrated Saito. Over the course of three seasons, the Dodgers paid Saito a total of just more than $3 million, and he provided them with a 1.95 ERA across 180 appearances.
Four's a strange number to end on, no? That's because it's hard to find five deals in his file that are, a) important enough, and, b) worth holding up for praise. And now ...
1. 12/6/2006, signed Jason Schmidt - This one doesn't require much elaboration. The Dodgers paid Schmidt $47 million for the following bestowals: 43 1/3 innings pitched, 6.02 ERA. Simply put, it was one of the worst free-agent decisions ever.
2. 12/6/2007, signed Andruw Jones - Colletti gave a plainly declining Jones $36.2 million over two years. He hit .158/.256/.249 in one season in L.A. The Dodgers released him with $15 million still on his contract.
3. 11/22/2006, signed Juan Pierre - Yes, roughly two weeks before the Schmidt deal went down, Colletti gave $44 million over five years to Pierre. Pierre once had his uses, provided his role was carefully tailored, but this qualifies as a drastic overpay. During his Dodgers tenure, Pierre authored an OPS of .696. That's simply inadequate, particularly for a player who was a primary corner outfielder for the last half of the contract.
4. 11/29/2010, signed Juan Uribe - Colletti inked Uribe to a three-year, $21-million deal prior to the 2011 season, and Uribe has responded thus far with an OPS of .548. Only one more year to go!
5. 1/22/2010, signed Jonathan Broxton to extension - The former Dodgers closer went over the cliff after signing this two-year, $11-million extension. In 2010, Broxton put up an ERA of 4.04, and that figure rose to 5.68 for the final year of the deal.
And this is to say nothing of the questionable deals in which Colletti parted with young and young-at-the-time talents like Edwin Jackson, Cody Ross and Carlos Santana.
Summary judgment? The bad outweighs the good. However, Colletti's lasting legacy will be determined by the trades and contract extensions he has made over the last 10 months.
Snap judgments on those deals that have yet to play out fully. The Kemp and Ramirez moves figure to be net positives, the Ethier deal has the potential to be problematic, the Puig acquisition is a complete unknown at this juncture and the Gonzalez-Beckett-Crawford acquisition could be crippling in the extreme.
The balance of Colletti's tenure is none too impressive, but it seems most of his story is yet to be written.