What was the argument between Ned Colletti and the Dodger coaches about?


Barry Bloom of MLB.com revealed through an interview that Ned Colletti and the Dodger coaching staff got into a bit of an argument after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Padres.

MLB.com: So there was a little blowup in the clubhouse after Tuesday night’s loss here. We heard that was you.

Colletti: I had a passionate exchange in the coach’s room.

MLB.com: What was the message?

Colletti: Were you invited?

MLB.com: No, but I wish I was.

Colletti: It was just a bit of an evaluation.

Two hours later, T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times released similar information through an article of his own.

The other night after the Dodgers lost to the Padres, while the media met with Manager Don Mattingly, screaming could be heard from the nearby coaches’ dressing room.

“Passionate” screaming? General Manager Ned Colletti says with a smirk when asked if it was he.

“Yes, I had a passionate discussion with the staff, and then I had another one with a [softer] voice with Donnie. I think every once in a while you just need to recalibrate.”

Say what you want about Colletti (and I have), but he’s never given the impression of being a screaming madman type. Quite the opposite, really. So for this to happen and for these reports to go public, something really must have set him off on that particular day after the game.

While us fans probably shouldn’t overreact to it and jump to the conclusion that there’s some type of breakdown in the front office and/or clubhouse, I do feel it’s okay to wonder what exactly triggered this.

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In the top of the ninth in that game, a sequence occurred that ultimately led to the Dodgers losing by a run despite trailing by a one score with nobody out and a runner on second. When the game got to that point, Dee Gordon pinch-ran for A.J. Ellis on second, and everybody knows that Dee has enough speed to make that base represent scoring position on almost any hit. Despite that move, Mattingly opted to pinch-hit with Nick Punto and bunt Dee over to third. After Mark Ellis walked to put runners on first and third, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp went down to end the game.

Mattingly’s decision to bunt Gordon to third increased the chances of the Dodgers scoring in that inning, but decreased their chances of winning by 3-5%. So was that the reason for the blowup? Maybe, but I doubt it. Mattingly makes moves like that all the time, so if it was going to be an issue, one would think this would have come up way sooner than September. Honestly, it’s considered more of a sin by us saber-oriented fans and bloggers than to the front office.

As such, perhaps it was just the culmination of a frustrating season? The team is having general struggles, and that was the day they fell 4.5 games back in the race for the final playoff spot. Odds are that it was probably related to those difficulties, just because I don’t think the GM goes down to rant to the field staff based on single game decisions with any type of regularity.

Then again, maybe it had something to do with how Andre Ethier was used. In the top of the eighth inning, Ethier was allowed to hit against a lefty. Not a big deal, right? Happens all the time. I didn’t think much of it either, but a recent story on the Dodgers official site basically gets the team to admit that the people in charge are having internal discussions about sitting him against lefties.

Another season is almost in the books and the Dodgers are once again mystified by outfielder Andre Ethier’s inability to hit left-handed pitching anywhere near as successfully as he does against right-handers.

“It’s something we seriously have to look at as far as how we approach it. I think he can hit left-handers. The numbers say maybe he can’t and we have to go a different route. Me believing a guy can do something and him doing it are two different things.”

Nothing concrete there to say it was the reason, but you have to read between the lines a little. The issue has obviously been an internal discussion for a while and, perhaps when combined with the status of the team in the standings, it just finally boiled over. In this case, given Mattingly’s consistent stance that Ethier can indeed hit lefties, Colletti might have even be taking the sabermetric position on this one.

Ned Colletti? Statistics over guts? What is this madness?! Look at what Don Mattingly has driven our precious GM to.

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Naturally, this is all speculation, but given the justifiably raised expectations of the team and their inability to perform despite the numerous acquisitions, one would think journalists would have made more of an effort to shed light on the situation than to just allow Colletti to get off with dodging the question.

That’s especially true given that the front office and ownership has spent all September telling fans that there’s always next year, yet their actions in handling players and making transactions have told a very different tale.

Seems to me that this would warrant further investigation than to be a throw-in question during a media session. Given that people covering the Dodgers documented and opined about every single little thing Matt Kemp did wrong in 2010 (to give an example), one would think the GM and coaches blowing up at each other as the team collapses in September would be worthy of an investigation.

I know I’d like to hear more about what transpired.

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