Friday, December 9, 2011
Ned Colletti content with small signings
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he didn't pursue new Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols at all this offseason, content with making minor signings due to his team's payroll restrictions as it prepares for an ownership change.
Pujols, of course, agreed to a 10-year, $254 million deal with the Angels early Thursday in by far the biggest surprise of the offseason. In an on-air interview with 710 ESPN's Mark Willard and Dave Miller on Friday, Colletti said the Dodgers have made a number of alternative moves this offseason as they seek to improve on a 82-79 record in 2011.
"We didn't make a move on Pujols," Colletti said. "We were never in on Pujols. We're gonna have to just take it easy and see what we can do internally and also from the outside, which we've already done."
Colletti said he thought the signing was "great for Anaheim," although he did emphasize the 10-year aspect of the deal by adding, "particularly in the short term." And, of talk he could now pursue first baseman Prince Fielder to respond to the Angels' Pujols pickup, Colletti laughed.
"Don't count on it at this point," he said.
Pujols will now play half his games less than an hour away from Dodger Stadium and will face the Dodgers every year in interleague play. But Colletti said his new home is an improvement on his last one in St. Louis and many of the other teams he could have chosen this offseason.
"There's nothing we can do about it," Colletti said. "(But) I'm really glad that he's not in the NL West. That he's in Anaheim is one thing. If he was in San Francisco or San Diego or Colorado or Arizona, that's a whole different concern, a whole different way of looking at it. He's not even in the league anymore.
"For that purpose, it's really a plus. I'd rather have him where he's at than in any of the National League divisions."
The Dodgers have signed seven free agents this offseason for roughly $43 million in total, with several signings completed before this week's Monday-Thursday winter meetings in Dallas. Only one of those players, outfielder Juan Rivera, played for the club last year. The other five, including starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, were pieces brought in to fill specific holes Colletti pinpointed before the start of free agency.
Mark Ellis, who spent 2011 with Oakland and Colorado, was brought in to start at second base and provide "plus defense," said Colletti. Former Texas Rangers backup catcher Matt Treanor will split time with A.J. Ellis next season. Journeymen Adam Kennedy and Jerry Hairston Jr. will be utility men and pinch-hitters.
"I think we're in a better place than we were before, when you look at our bench," Colletti said. "If there were ways to add offense by moving some people around, we were open-minded to doing it.
"There may be a couple things still in the pipeline, but I think right now everybody just catches their breath as the meetings end and tries to sort out where they're at and what went on."
Pedro Moura is a reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.