I previously complimented (sorta) Ned Colletti for potentially taking a sabermetric stance on the issue of Andre Ethier hitting against lefties, but after reading the rest of the interview with Barry Bloom of MLB.com, perhaps I spoke too soon.
MLB.com: Do you think there has been enough time for all these parts to fit together?
Colletti: What guys have been through as a group is always going to be a factor. The guys who are together the beginning of camp are different than those who come on Aug. 25. At the same time, you also have expectations. There was so much fanfare around that trade. It’s natural for players to come in and press and want to do well. Sometimes the harder you try, the tougher it gets. Still, in Adrian’s case you’re talking about 20 RBIs in a month. I’ll take that. I’ll take that the rest of his Dodger career. The deals we made were to really give us a chance to win this year, but [also] to fortify ourselves going forward. When we made these trades, we thought that these players were going to be with us for a while.
You know, I understand that this was basically just a public relations interview. I know I shouldn’t read into it too much, but if he didn’t believe in some of this crap, there’s no reason he had to say it the way he does.
He could easily say, “I just think Adrian Gonzalez needs time to adjust, and if you look at his recent performance, he’s having better at-bats.”
That would be logical and understandable, and it’s a position many are taking.
Instead, what does he do? He cites RBI in a month and says that what A-Gon’s done for the Dodgers to this point is what he’ll take for the rest of the contract.
Um … but with the Dodgers so far, A-Gon has a .276/.326/.425/.751 line. So no, I’d rather not just “take that”.
MLB.com: Do you feel this team has underachieved?
Colletti: I think it’s tough to tell, because we’ve made so many changes and so many different things happened. Whenever you have injuries to key players, it changes your dynamic. When a guy like Matt Kemp comes back after missing 51 games, it’s tough to play yourself back into shape. You don’t have six weeks of Spring Training that you can inject into a season. It’s so much more compact and so much shorter. When you have an injury as serious as he had, it really changed the whole context of the season.
So to say that we underachieved as a team, to grade that, you almost have to have a full complement all year. If Matt Kemp had played 162 games, if everybody had played the full year and we didn’t make trades we made and all the adjustments that they entailed, it might be a different dynamic. We might have as many DL days as any team in baseball. It’s unfair to characterize it as underachieving, because we fought through so many things.
Who thought this was a good idea? Is this supposed to appease fans? Nobody is gonna feel sorry for the Dodgers anymore, and the expectations are now much higher.
Why not just explain that there were a lot of injuries this year and then acknowledge that the team struggled after the trade, but add that he expects them to be fine for next year with an offseason of stability? You can admit something was disappointing and still subtly deny that it was your fault.
Maybe straight up making excuses worked when everybody felt sorry for the staff while under Frank McCourt, but the baby gloves type of handling simply won’t happen anymore. And it shouldn’t.