It is time for the Dodgers to find stability. No more new general managers, no new managers like we’ve seen with Paul DePodesta being in charge briefly, then Ned Colletti, and Jim Tracy being replaced by Grady Little and this week Joe Torre.
There’s a good chance stability will arrive now if Colletti stays in the job and if the 67-year-old Torre stays for the three years of his contract, then is succeeded by Don Mattingly with everyone knowing that is going to happen.
“In talking to (owners) Frank and Jamie McCourt, stability was something we had in mind,” said Colletti, who went on to talk about the Dodgers’ stable past when Walter Alston was the manager, followed by Tommy Lasorda.
Of course, that was the era of the O’Malleys owning the team, which hasn’t been the case for awhile.
Since the Dodgers parted with Little to make way for Torre I’ve heard and read a lot of criticism. The McCourts have been blamed for dumping a manager who hadn’t done that badly.
I admit Little was treated shabbily, but I can’t blame an owner for reacting quickly when Torre became available. There’s no doubt that having Torre as manager elevates the Dodgers’ status. How often does a manager with Torre’s credentials suddenly need a job?
And Torre figures to bring stability in another way. His credentials in the sport and his approach in running a team give him a good chance to gain the respect of the Dodger players. Enough, probably, to avoid a repeat of a clubhouse squabble late last season between the team’s veteran players and youngsters.
As far as Torre making the Dodgers a winner, though, consider a few thoughts.
Torre was dumped by the Yankees because they didn’t do well in the playoffs the last four years. The main reason was the team didn’t have enough quality pitching, in part due to injuries.
And that’s baseball. A team with sub-par pitching will frequently struggle, even if an owner such as George Steinbrenner has spent heavily on hitters.
The Dodgers had the same problem. Their season was greatly affected by an injury to Jason Schmidt and another to Randy Wolf. That’s two members of the starting rotation and, incidentally, two free agents the Dodgers had signed.
The Dodgers lost 11 of their last 15 games and the Colorado Rockies went on a remarkable spree – 21 wins in 22 games – before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
So, this was just one development in thinking about next season. Not much separated the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Diego Padres, the Rockies, and the Dodgers in the NL West in 2007.
If you’re a Dodger fan be happy that Torre will manage the team, but also hope that Schmidt recovers from his injury. And hope the revolving door among managers and general managers is retired.