And now a few words in praise of Dodgers GM Ned Colletti

Is that a shudder going down your spine?

Ned Colletti told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez that after speaking to the Dodgers’ new owners, he expects to have more financial flexibility at the trading deadline this year.

Colletti with money, and thoughts turn to Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Juan Uribe and Jason Schmidt. Pricey free agents have been his downfall, and then there’s his penchant for signing aged veterans.

But all those eager to take continual swipes at Colletti need to take one giant step back. That the Dodgers have the best record in baseball can be attributed to several factors, but one of the largest has to be Colletti.


Right now, it looks as if he is coming off his finest off-season ever.

With the team in bankruptcy and given a limited payroll -- outside of that reportedly late, curious bid for Prince Fielder -- Colletti’s moves in building the current Dodgers have been just shy of remarkable.

Indeed, almost every move has worked, or worked beyond expectations.

Colletti decided to entrust the catching duties to 31-year-old A.J. Ellis, a career minor leaguer, and Ellis has been an early off-the-charts success.

He brought back Tony Gwynn Jr. for two years at $2 million and he’s been an absolute bargain. He lost Jamey Carroll to the Twins but signed Jerry Hairston Jr. for two years at $6 million, and before injuring his hamstring, Hairston was so valuable he was like a semi-regular.

He signed Mark Ellis to a two-year, $8.75-million deal, and everyone tried to stifle a monstrous yawn. Ellis has been an absolutely superb second baseman, and despite uncertainties about his offense and batting him second, he’s second on the team in runs scored.

Colletti didn’t have the payroll room to bring back Hiroki Kuroda -- this was before his price came down to $10 million -- so he went out and signed Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano each for two years, with only $6 million due to the both this season. Capuano started the season 5-0 and Harang has turned it around in May.

Infielder Adam Kennedy (.186) and reliever Todd Coffey (10.13 ERA) are struggling, but Matt Treanor has proven a reliable backup catcher and Colletti’s patience with the unpredictable Ronald Belisario appears to be paying off.


And that’s not mentioning his $160-million signing of Matt Kemp, a deal that looks pretty good after the contracts signed by Albert Pujols and Fielder. Even the signing of Bobby Abreu early this month is working beyond most expectations.

Colletti brought this Dodgers team in at $91 million and is getting plenty of bang for fairly modest buck. Right now it adds up to 25-13 record.

This is a great time for Colletti to be having a good showing, the new owners no doubt watching all this very carefully. Team president Stan Kasten said Colletti should be viewed as permanent, until fired. Kinda like the rest of us.

Yet on this date, Colletti is deserving of praise, and really, he hasn’t received much.



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And now a few words in praise of Dodgers GM Ned Colletti