First of all, I do not call for the firing of a Hall-of-Fame Manager like Joe Torre without a great deal of thought and considerable regret. After all, he is one of the greatest ever, but for “whatever reason”, he has lost his edge. He is going through the motions, he’s “mailing it in.” Maybe he dislikes his “lame duck” status. Maybe he feels that Frank and Ned should have gotten him another starter. Maybe his naming Padilla as opening day starter and making other silly moves is to show his displeasure, or maybe he has just plain lost it.
Whatever it is, caused him to allow Don Mattingly to manage the Dodgers during the spring (maybe he’s still doing it – I don’t know). He was Manager in name only then. Did he want a better contract? Did he ask to manage two more years and the Dodgers said “NO?” I have no clue, but I do have a few clues after just 20 games:
- Vicente Padilla named Opening Day Starter?
- The team has as many errors as games played, and those are actual errors – there are a lot more “mental errors” which don’t show up in the box score.
- The team plays without passion.
- How about pitching Troncoso, Sherrill and Link in BOTH games of a doubleheader? Felony stupid in that kind of weather especially!
- He manages without passion.
- These guys are just going through the motions.
- These guys are playing for themselves, not as a team.
The Dodgers can give it 40 games, or 80 games, but the results will be the same. Joe Torre has lost the spark. It’s time for a change. The Dodgers don’t need a figurehead who can talk to the Larry Kings of the world or have a “Homeboy in the Kentucky Derby.”
The Dodgers need a manager with some passion – a manager who can kick some butts, kick some dirt on umpires and kick-start the Dodgers.
The talent is there – the passion is gone!
Ned Colletti jumps in with his two cents worth according to Tony Jackson of ESPN/Los Angeles:
“I talk to [manager] Joe [Torre] all the time, and he understands my position and my frustration level,” Colletti said. “I have grabbed a couple of players one-on-one to let them know I’m not satisfied with their approach. This isn’t an easy game to play, and when you think you have it mastered and you think you can take it easy and you think you can walk to your position without hustling, the game catches up with you. That is where we are at in some cases right now. Some guys might think they are better than what they are and think the opponent will just roll over.
“We have lost two of three to Cincinnati, two of three to Washington and two of three to Pittsburgh. No offense to those teams, but we are better than they are.”
Colletti specifically called out center fielder Matt Kemp, the reigning National League Gold Glove winner at his position, for his baserunning and defensive play.
“It is below average,” Colletti said. “The baserunning is below average, and the defense is below average. Is it because he got a new [two-year, $10.95 million] deal? I can’t tell you. But you know what? It’s below average, and if this was the last day of the season and people were going for the Gold Glove, his name wouldn’t be on the ballot.
“It is a shame to go from where he was a year ago to revert back to when the ball goes up in the air, you’re not sure where it’s going or if it’s going to get caught.
Finally, Tilden asked Colletti if his message was clear to the players.
“My messages are always clear,” Colletti said. “Whether or not they want to accept it, that is up to them. But I don’t leave much to be deciphered. They aren’t long, and I don’t lose their interest in a minute and a half or two minutes. It is time to get it going. I take every game seriously, and I take every pitch seriously. If other guys ain’t doing it, if they don’t want to be in L.A., we can figure that out, too.”