You win, they throw roses. Accolades pile up, bandwagons overflow, hearts beat faster.
The way the Dodgers are winning, there could be plenty of honors tossed their way before this is all over, both of the team and individual variety. But here’s one that may have possibly escaped your realm of possibility, if only because historically you had been so far encamped in the opposite direction, blinders had unknowingly adhered themselves.
Ned Colletti, executive of the year.
Easy now, put the fangs away. I’m not claiming this is some lock to happen, but Colletti absolutely deserves to be in the conversation.
Now all those who’ve spent years sharpening their guillotine blade for Colletti will cry: “Yeah, sure, he put together a winning team — he has the biggest payroll in baseball history! My 95-year-old Aunt Thelma could pull that off.”
Although in their little heart of hearts, they know that isn’t true. No offense Thelma, but the Angels, Phillies and Giants spent plenty of coin this season and they’re all looking up at .500.
At the end of last season Colletti brought in Hanley Ramirez, whom they’d lost faith in back in Miami, and he’s turned into the most dangerous hitter in the National League. Colletti made an expensive and risky trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto, and Beckett’s unforeseeable surgery aside, it has worked as well as anyone could have hoped.
In the off-season the GM added the top pitcher available, Zack Greinke, and if that was something of a no-brainer, he also signed South Korea’s Hyun-Jin Ryu, which has worked out better than anyone truly could have anticipated.
When the rotation was beset by injury in the middle of the summer, he traded for Ricky Nolasco, who’s only gone 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA as a Dodger.
And then in recent weeks he took a flyer on Brian Wilson, then Carlos Marmol, Edinson Volquez and Michael Young too. And as ESPN’s Buster Olney recognized (Insider status required), he did it on the cheap, the four costing a total of about $2.4 million.
Unquestionably Colletti is operating with baseball’s biggest war chest, but there is spending and then there is spending wisely. He operated for years under the financial duress of Frank McCourt, and there is no blueprint for how to wisely go to the opposite end of the spectrum in a heartbeat.
But Colletti reacted when he saw opportunity. And even as the team started playing the game’s best baseball, he continued to add depth and experience.
Like someone deserving of serious executive of the year consideration.