Aflac Duck:The 2008 Winter Meeting have been completed and Dodger GM Ned Colleti has dropped by to discuss the team.
AFLAC DUCK: Welcome Ned, it has been over a year since we last talked to you. Alot has happened in that time. You were the architect of the team that swept the Cubs and brought excitement back to Chavez Ravine with the acquisition of Mannywood. How is it going with bringing Manny back to the Ravine?
Ned:Scott outlined what they will need and we're not interested in doing five years or four years, a long-term deal, We want the player back and we're willing to pay a very high salary to bring him back -- but short term.
AFLAC DUCK:Sounds like patience is the game you are playing. If Manny doesn't get any other offers we are the fallback option. I understand the plan, any worries that if Manny ends up signing for less then what he expected this winter that you will have an unhappy Manny?
Ned: No comment
AFLAC DUCK:Okay, let us move onto Rafael Furcal. What is going on with those negotiations?
Ned:It's going to take more creativity and on their part more willingness to accept creativity, If they can't accept creativity, probably we'll move on to somebody else. Our desire is Furcal, but he needs to be creative for our perspective. If they don't need or don't want to be creative, it's probably not going to happen.
AFLAC DUCK: Was creative the word of the day? Could you explain?
Ned:This is like watching the San Andreas Fault. Some days you can see it move probably, and other days it's going to sit there. And in a week or two it may move a lot. It's a slow process. It speeds up and it slows back down.
AFLAC DUCK:Thanks for the clarifiation. You are quite the wordsmith. Did you get any sleep before this interview? You already mentioned you are still trying to get Furcal to fill the shortstop vacancy. Jack Wilson has been mentioned in conjunction with the Dodgers? Still persuing him?
Ned:No, the Pirates are out to lunch with their demands.
AFLAC DUCK:Anybody else, Tony Jackson reported that Omar Vizquel might be on our radar?
Ned:Contrary to what Tony Jackson reported we have no interest in Omar Vizquel.
AFLAC DUCK:How about the Rotation? Sheets?
AFLAC DUCK:Who might be an option?
Ned: Pettite, Wolf, and Garland
AFLAC DUCK:True Blue voters seem to think Randy Johnson would be a good option. You already shot down Sheets who was their 2nd choice. Any chance we are looking at Randy or Oliver Perez?
AFLAC DUCK: Eric Stults was doing the job as the 5th starter until he imploded in Colorado. You showed such little faith in him that you traded a very good prospect in Michael Watt for Greg Maddux. Did you do the right thing in trading some of our future a pitcher who was clearly done when we acquired him?
AFLAC DUCK:Carlos Santana is now the number one prospect for the Cleveland Indians after you gave him him to the Indians in exchange for them paying Casey Blake's salary. From what I understand this saved the Dodgers roughly $2 Million dollars. Was that worth the price of losing a switch hitting power hitting catcher with excellent plate discipline?
AFLAC DUCK:Anything happeing on the trade front?
Ned::There are more options at the back of the rotation than the front, although something can always pop up at the front, finding someone for the top end of the rotation in a trade is highly unlikely. We were very refined in trade talks, With all the free agents [lost] and our young players, we don't have a lot in common with a lot of clubs.
AFLAC DUCK:You signed Mark Loretta who has the ability to play all four infield positions. Could you tell us about him?
Ned: I see him really helping [second baseman] Blake DeWitt, He's a winning-type player. His versatility, his understanding of the game, how to prepare. That's why he's here.
AFLAC DUCK: Give us the lowdown on Casey Blake. We paid a higher price for him then we did for Manny but the production wasn't very impressive. What makes you think he will be the answer in 2009 and going forward?
Ned:We are excited to bring back a player whose performance on the field and leadership off the field contributed so much to our division championship this year.
AFLAC DUCK: Last year you signed Andruw Jones to what I thought at the time was a great two year deal. A year later that contract is an albatross to the team. He came into camp with bigger tits then Dolly Parton and proceeded to have one of the worse seasons in Dodger history. Forget the salary he could have been paid the minimum and the production would still have been lacking. We recently got a shot of him getting ready to play winter ball and it looks like a slimmed down version. Any chance he will come back this year and live up to the expecations of last year?
AFLAC DUCK:Juan Pierre has requested a trade as he knows he's the 4th outfielder with the current configuration and the 5th outfielder if you sign Mannywood. Any progress on that front.
Ned:He's still a Dodger
AFLAC DUCK:Any luck in tracking down the front office person who keeps leaking information to the media that makes the Dodger front office look like a bunch of maroons?
Ned:No, but I've taken to watching my back.
AFLAC DUCK:When the WBC was played in 2006 you refused to let Russel Martin play for the Canadian team. Now that the Dodgers are hosting the WBC are you going to relax this policy?
AFLAC DUCK: While the Dodgers had a very competitive payroll, as the 2nd half rolled around they seemed to get extremely cheap. Are they going to approach the same budget in 2009 that they had in 2008?
AFLAC DUCK:Smiling Sammy Saito was one of the few bright spots in your record and his performance has been extraordinary given his history and contract. Now it appears you are about to cut him loose. You used the word "staredown" in describing the negotiations. Guys like Jones, Schmidt, and Rafy have taken your money with little to show for it, yet a guy like Saito who did everything we asked of him is being treated like a 2nd class citizen? Do we owe him more then that?
AFLAC DUCK: Thanks Ned for taking the time to talk about the Dodgers with us. Next year at this time I wish you luck in looking for a new job during the 2009 winter meetings.