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Giants GM Brian Sabean praises job Ned Colletti did with Dodgers

Ned Colletti
Ned Colletti
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

As the San Francisco Giants played in the World Series two years ago, the Dodgers were attracting headlines. The Dodgers had new owners — rich owners — and in theory the competitive landscape in the National League West would change.

The Dodgers did win the NL West in 2013 and 2014, but the Giants are the team with a shot at their third World Series in five years.

With the Kansas City Royals advancing to the World Series on Wednesday, the only teams with a longer World Series drought than the Dodgers’ 26 years are the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos.

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The Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs last week, but they still attracted headlines this week by luring Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays as president of baseball operations. Of the five NL West teams, the Giants still are playing and the other four have changed general managers this year.

The Giants’ Brian Sabean is the longest-tenured general manager in the major leagues. He has run the team since 1996, with seven playoff appearances.

Ned Colletti, replaced as the Dodgers’ general manager, steered the team to five playoff appearances in nine years, after one appearance in the previous nine. Colletti worked as Sabean’s assistant before joining the Dodgers, and the men remain close friends.

“I feel bad for Ned,” Sabean said. “He raised the bar there. He’s been through a lot with that organization. They’re much better off now — even if he is no longer in that job — whether they think so or not.”

Dodgers President Stan Kasten emphasized Friedman’s background in scouting and player development with the low-budget Rays. Kasten has said repeatedly that the Dodgers will transition from a veteran team with a record payroll to younger and cheaper team as the new ownership replenishes the minor league system.

Still, the Dodgers opened this season at a league-record $235 million, the Rays at $77 million. Sabean said he did not see the Dodgers tilting too heavily toward prospects or knocking too much off the payroll.

“When you raise the bar, you’re committed to winning,” Sabean said. “You’ve got the resources. You have to maintain the mission statement.”

The Giants opened this season with a payroll of $154 million, seventh in the major leagues. Not only did the Dodgers top $200 million in payroll this year, they signed pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a $215-million contract.

Sabean said he could not envision the Giants running a $200-million payroll and certainly not paying $200 million to one player.

“Never happen,” he said. “Nor will our payroll ever get that close.”

Ace in a hole

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who is scheduled to start Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday, has not won any of his last five postseason starts.

“Until last year’s NLCS, I was undefeated in the postseason,” he said Wednesday. “I just don’t want to get a bad rap for not being a good playoff pitcher. That’s the time I want to shine the most. That’s the time that every pitcher wants to shine the most.”

Wainwright, hampered by a sore elbow, has failed to survive the fifth inning in either of his two postseason starts this year. The Cardinals won the first one, though, when the Dodgers’ Kershaw imploded and St. Louis rallied from a 6-1 deficit.

“That was purely because I motivated everyone,” Wainwright said jokingly.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin


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