It’s still hard for me to fathom that Ned Colletti even remembers who I am, let alone that he would spend 45 minutes with me during the middle of Spring Training for our annual “State of the Dodgers” Lasorda’s Lair exclusive. His explanation today was that I got lucky and caught him on a good day, but he also urged me to “think outside the box” when it comes to analyzing the Dodgers current roster, farm system and the future of the organization.
For all of those out there who think the Dodgers spent too much signing Juan Uribe 3 years ago and then shouldn’t have invested a 2nd year in his contract this year he has a simple answer, “Who did he block then and who is he blocking now?” He used a similar phrase when he talked about signing Alexander Guerrero, reinforcing just how difficult it is to find Middle Infielders in the MLB draft, “who is Alex blocking right now'” he asked me.
“You gotta think different than everyone else if you want to have a blog that really means something,” he told me. “Do you want to summarize Donnie’s morning press conference and speculate on Matt’s (Kemp) health, or do you want to give your readers something they won’t get anywhere else?” Obviously I said the latter, “then go back and look at our MLB drafts since 2005, we’ve had something like 4 position players who played in over 100 MLB games in 1 season in that time. So people ask why have we signed so many free agents and made so many trades over the last 2 years. Where else am I going to find a #4 starter like Dan Haren unless it’s via free agency? Who exactly was blocking Hanley when we made the deal for him? Yeah we had to give up Eovaldi but for a Middle Infielder of Hanley’s caliber how could we not make that move?”
Unfortunately so much of what we talked about was “off the record” per his request and he said “Do you want to record a conversation, or do you want to shut that thing off and talk baseball?” Uhh let me see how fast I can shut off my voice recorder. I have so much more information to digest and process to make sure I walk that fine line of giving you our loyal and educated readers a glimpse into the incredible vision Ned has for our beloved franchise and just how truly talented he is at what he does, as well as making sure I don’t print anything he wouldn’t want me to. It’s simple for me, he has given me access to talk Dodgers with him that he “Can’t do for every blog out there or I’d never get anything done,” and I would hate to do anything to potentially damage that relationship, as again it still blows my mind that the guy even knows who I am let alone is so willing to open up and give me a glimpse into what goes on day to day building a club like the Dodgers.
But it’s also important to me to make sure that I give you a taste of what it’s like here at Camelback Ranch as well as try to give you a feel for what is truly being said in our conversation. So please give me time to analyze what is going to be the best information for you, without dong anything to upset the Dodgers GM. So be patient, there will be much more to come from our chat, but if you want to know what a great guy he is here’s the first thing he asked me, “Where is your son? You said you were bringing him down here and I was hoping to meet him.” Seriously, he not only remembered what we discussed via text he genuinely was interested in introducing himself to my 10 yr old. That right there shows you that he is not only a brilliant baseball mind but he’s just a down to earth honest to God good man. And as Dodgers fans are there any other traits we want the guy who’s running and buildin our club to portray? I don’t think so but then again I’m biased, I’m on the record as being a Ned Colletti fan, and watching the talent walk around CBR this morning, I’m convinced those of you who aren’t will be one as well, sooner thatn later.
So for now enjoy a taste of what’s to come from Lasorda’s Lair’s first trip to 2014 Spring Training, and I promise there will be much more to follow including live video from BP today as well as my sitdown with Ross Stripling. Cheers and thank you for your continued support of our great site!