PHOENIX -- What I like and don't like about the Dodgers.
What I like
• The new manager. It's hard to sit down and talk to Don Mattingly and dislike him. Is he going to be a successful manager? I don't know that yet, but I like him.
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• Andre Ethier saying he wants to be a leader. We've been waiting for this, haven't we? We've been waiting for the young Dodger core, which isn't all that young anymore, to take responsibility for this team. As Mattingly has told Ethier, he doesn't need to be overly vocal, but he does need to realize that other players look to him to set the right example.
• Ned Colletti's juggling act. Look, we all know the Dodgers have money problems, and we all suspect that their owner has barely any money left at all. But in a winter where there just wasn't much starting pitching on the free-agent market, Colletti was able to retain Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda and sign Jon Garland, meaning that the Dodgers should enter the season with a rotation about three times deeper than the one which started last season.
• The new first base coach. Davey Lopes isn't back in blue simply because he's a former Dodger star. He's back because he proved to be a great coach during his time with the Phillies, and Mattingly believes he can be the same with the Dodgers. "I brought in Davey Lopes because our baserunning's been horrible, and Davey's the best in the business," Mattingly said.
What I don't like
• The owner. Is there anyone left that doesn't want Frank McCourt to sell this team?
• The center fielder. Or should I call Matt Kemp the left fielder, since the Dodgers talked of moving him there if Tony Gwynn Jr. could hit enough to play regularly in center? As one baseball person who follows the Dodgers said: What does it tell you that two years after Kemp won a gold glove in center, the Dodgers would even think about moving him to another spot?
• The left fielder. Who is it? Jay Gibbons? Marcus Thames? By not being able or willing to spend enough money for a bigger bat, the Dodgers have put even more pressure on Ethier and Kemp to produce in the middle of the lineup.