Sep 22, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti takes a moment to text back to Lasorda's Lair. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti ‘Checks In’ With the Lair

With the Dodgers being afforded their second day off in the first week of the season, GM Ned Colletti was kind enough to chat with Sr. Writer Kenny Shulsen of Lasorda’s Lair. Expecting 5 minutes of his time, Ned was cool enough to spend 15 minutes on the phone talking Dodgers baseball.

Disclaimer we spoke about stuff that I cannot publish, unless I don’t want to speak to Mr. Colletti ever again, so on that note here we go.   First off we discussed the acquisition of Ramon Hernandez, Ned stressed the need for 3 catchers, the trade was in no way a lack of faith in Tim Federowicz, but more the importance of having 3 catchers knowing that at some time one is going to get injured. There was also some behind the scenes dealing I really can’t get into but the deal helps the Dodgers both on the field and off the field.

I expressed my impressions of Opening Day and how spectacular it was and Ned agreed. He also spoke of a conscious effort on behalf of the organization to get past players involved with the franchise. He mentioned Shawn Green, Eric Karros and more showing up to speak with the players during spring training, but obviously the highlight was Sandy Koufax throwing out the first pitch. I told him what a classy way to begin the season and he agreed. He mentioned what an iconic franchise the Dodgers are and the importance of recognizing and building  on that tradition. I mentioned that I couldn’t believe the Dodgers were the last team to play the Yankees in New York in interleague play, and we both agreed the Dodgers and Yankees should be an annual series with 2 games in LA and 2 games in NY.

As far as Yasiel Puig goes Ned said he was obviously impressed with his showing at Spring Training but also mentioned that Puig still has a lot of work to do. I mentioned all of the “so called” nay sayers who blasted the Dodgers for signing Puig mentioning his attitude, work ethic, weight and several other factors being obstacles that would prevent him from ever meeting his expectations. Ned said there were a couple of instances in camp, him not hustling out of the box and being throw out at second, that Puig took full responsibility for and were great learning tools for him. He also spoke about his need to work on pitch and strike zone recognition and pitchers he faced in March will be different than what he faces in Chattanooga. He also put to rest any rumors of Puig moving from the outfield, according to Ned “Puig is and will be an outfielder and is an exciting prospect to add to our overall depth.”

Chad Billingsley will definitely start on Wednesday and Hanley Ramirez is on schedule for his return. Hanley is working on fielding grounders, I asked Ned how Hanley looked and he laughed saying guys who are 6 weeks out aren’t as much of a focus for me as other guys who are closer to return. My first baseball 101 duh question to an executive, but Ned was cool and laughed it off even though I felt like a complete tool.

We talked about the offense and both agreed and hoped that the 6 runs scored on Sunday is the kickstart they need to get it going. My impression on Matt Kemp is that he is really pressing at the plate, if you look at him in the dugout and in the field he is all smiles, but at the dish he’s tight, Ned didn’t comment. We both agreed that Adrian picking up the RBI’s that Matt left on base should loosen him up, and it was great to see Ethier go deep off of a lefty to shut up all of the naysayers who say he can’t hit lefties, my words not his. Finally getting away from the 56,000 Dodgers fans may also help the offense as guys may relax and just let it come to them and watch the offense come to life.

All in all you can tell that Ned is obviously working on a different level than he has in years past. Instead of concerns about who the 5th starter will be now it’s what moves can we make that help the organization off the field, for example we both sighed at the prospects of still paying Andruw Jones. And remember before you blast Ned for working contracts that were back loaded, you have to remember the tight constraints he was working under vs the what the current ownership group has allowed him to do.

Everytime I speak with him I remember how much smarter he is than all of us and how much he cares about the success of our beloved Dodgers. I am guilty of Ned bashing in the past but after spending time with him I realize just how little I know about what is really going on behind the scenes. But rest assured Dodgers fans the organization has more smart people making decisions than they may ever have and the team on the field and we the fans will be the beneficiaries of those smart decisions. For example the Dodgers were blasted for spending so much money on Puig, Ryu and taking on Carl Crawford‘s contract. Does anyone want to take back those acquisitions now? Thank you again to Ned for dropping by the Lair and we wish you nothing but the best of luck this year…It’s a Whole New Blue & It’s Always Time for Dodger Baseball!

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  • AaronKnuckleCurve

    Platoon Puig with all 3 outfielders. mental mistakes? Crawford opened the season by getting caught at third then forgetting the count! Puig will be just fine. :)

    • PastyRasta

      he’s off to a great start at AA it’s gonna be hard for them to keep him down if he keeps mashing but he does need to play every day.

    • Quasimodo

      That was something you can not blame totally on Crawford as he asked the 1B umpire the count and got answered “its full”. The umpire later gave his ‘sorry’s’ but that doesn’t get a ‘do-over’ in baseball. Hey Kenny – here’s another time you mention “things you can’t share with us” with your talks with Ned. The 1st time had to do with J.P. howell and you made it sound rather ‘cloak and dagger’. This time I may be able to read between the lines. I’d go into that but as you wouldn’t be able to confirm if I am correct there’s no point. But you saying what you did I’ll add to the list of signs I’m reading things right. Thank you for the story, and thank Ned for a job well done/doing.

      • PastyRasta

        the JP Howell stuff was all about his reaction to becoming a Dodger this stuff was more behind the scenes operations stuff that hasnt been made public and I dont want to burn my relationship with Ned by quoting stuff that’s off the record as a writer this is new territory for me so Im treading lightly if you know what I mean…Kenny

        • Quasimodo

          Kenny, yes I know what you mean. I have no need to tread lightly and I think you know where my heads at when I say “I may be able to read between the lines”, but you can’t tell me. So we’ll wait and see…….inside of this month. lol

          • Quasimodo

            BTW Kenny, ” please turn off your recorders” J.P. Howell is doing back-flips to be joining Dodgers! Hmmmm, Okay.

          • PastyRasta

            Quasi you see right through me I make it sound all cloak and dagger so it keeps the reader on the site longer reading my rabble. Honestly It’s Ned being classy and not ripping our former dumb ass owner and trying to clean up some of the back loaded contracts he stuck the team with…you’re smart enough to take it from there…see it helps our site traffic if people stay on the site longer which is good for Scott and Stacie as editors…just my opinion and its totally my opinion don’t be surprised if they swing a deal for a thirdbaseman the Cardinals have a surplus and I think David Freese would look fabulous in Dodger Blue!

          • Quasimodo

            Kenny, the ‘cloak and dagger’ story was one of the most fun reads and a job very well done, but the fun of that read were the other things you said. It actually came to my rescue and allowed me to inwardly gloat from counter-comments I received about McGwire elsewhere. But you already knew that. lol

    • LasordasLair

      Actually, that ended up being a scoreboard malfunction. The count said it was three balls. I forgot to mention that later. We didn’t find out about it until well after the game.

  • Placidin

    So I guess the Puig to SS move is a no go…very disappointing. Actually, it’s hilarious that he even addressed the moving Puig to another position topic.

    • Quasimodo

      But….Colletti said he’d play outfield. He didn’t say he’ll play right outfield or left outfield or even center. There are 20 inter-league games Dodgers will be playing this season. Just fuel for imagination.