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Dodgers

Dodgers front office will never be the same, however that shakes down

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Former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti relaxes in the field-level seats at Dodger Stadium before an exhibition game against the Angels in 2012.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a new day, so hold on tight. This ride could go most anywhere. Best wear the spurs.

How it finally shakes down, nobody can be certain, but that’s what happens when you’re almost making things up as you go along.

To push things to that next level, the Dodgers decided it was time to make a change and zeroed in on general manager Ned Colletti. Thanks for everything, and here’s your comfy landing place.

So on Tuesday the Dodgers announced Colletti was out as GM, made up one of those “advisor” positions to slide him over to and said they were adding Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman to the front office.

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Though apparently not as the new GM, but another position they made up, president of baseball operations. And Friedman will be free to hire someone else as general manager if he wants.

“Frankly, this happened so fast we’re not a million percent sure how it’s going to work yet, but we have an idea,” said Stan Kasten. “It’s going to evolve. I’m just very excited about all of this.”

Whatever it is. Friedman, 37, was one of the biggest, glossiest names out there in the GM world, so naturally Kasten gravitated to him. Kasten is the team’s president and CEO, and don’t get any ideas that Friedman’s hiring with a “president” title means Kasten is relinquishing any of his responsibility.

“I’m still president of the company,” Kasten said. “Andrew reports to me. If he wants to. Ned never felt he reported to me. All these guys, they go their own way.”

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Until they’re told not to, of course.

The only thing certain is, the culture around the Dodgers’ front office is going to change. The Dodgers are confident various pieces will fall into  forward movement under Friedman, however that ultimately evolves.

He’ll get to make an impact quickly. The Dodgers are currently without a farm director, De Jon Watson having moved to the Diamondbacks to become their senior vice president of baseball operations.

And then there is that spot left vacant by Colletti’s reassignment. Kasten said Friedman can be the GM or hire his own. Did I mention they’re making this up as they go along?

“That’s up to Andrew,” Kasten said. “I think that’s his current contemplation.

“It’s been a very short time. There are still many questions we haven’t gotten a lot of answers on, but we knew each other well enough and this situation well enough, that this was something we wanted to do.”

Friedman has a bright rep, having made contenders of the Rays despite payrolls that have annually been among baseball’s lowest. He is considered cutting-edge and has drawn plenty of national attention.

The Angels, Cubs and Astros all made runs at him, but each time Friedman elected to remain with the Rays. Maybe the others just didn’t throw as much money at him, or maybe he was just intrigued about working with a team with a strong core and an open bank account.

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Colletti now becomes a senior advisor to Kasten, his first. This after Colletti had all those special advisors through the years.

The two met a small group of beat writers Tuesday, Kasten all upbeat, Colletti putting on the brave face. He just spent nine years as the team’s GM and you can be assured giving it up wasn’t his choice, though staying on apparently was.

Colletti said he didn’t view his new position as a demotion.

“If you want to let pride and ego get in the way, you could write that,” Colletti said.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Kasten said. “It’s a moving over. I think that’s how we feel. A moving aside.”

“I don’t see it like [a demotion],” Colletti said. “I really don’t. They believe I have a chance to continue to impact this organization in a positive way. That’s good enough. I want to work. I want to be accountable. I want to be responsible. And they said, ‘That’s really the only reason we want anybody here.’ And you know what? Nine years is a long time. Especially these nine years, because it hasn’t been smooth as glass all the time.”


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