For some of his past interviews you can check out the Duck Talk Section where we ask the questions we want to ask and try to see through the clichéd responses we normally get. For those of you new to Duck Talk, this is a complete fabrication based on interviews within my troubled mind.
Aflac Duck: With the recent signing of Marcus Thames the roster appears set. Going down the list I see Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jon Garland, and Padilla. Is this the deepest rotation you have ever had on Jan 20th?
Ned Colletti: Maybe, that 2006 rotation of Lowe, Penny, Odalis, Tomko, and Seo was kind of awe inspiring in it's own way. Luckily we were able to add Mark Hendrickson and Aaron Sele to really fill it out.
Aflac Duck: The rotation is solid and you stayed true to form by signing a free agent relief pitcher Matt Guerrier, but you did do something different. You gave him a three year deal leaving most everybody shaking their collective heads. MSTI wondered why him? Ken Gurnick noted that this was the longest relief pitcher contract since Jeff Shaw way back in 1998. Seems that many other relief pitchers were available, did you really need to commit three years to a soft tossing middle relief pitcher?
NC: Matt gives us depth in the bullpen as he's proven to be a strong performer on a team that contends year in and year out, he's willing to take the ball in any situation and his track record speaks for itself. We're excited to have him in the late innings for the next few seasons.
Aflac Duck: On paper the bullpen looks loaded with Hong Chi Kuo, Jonathan Broxton, Derrier, Kenley Jansen, Ronaldo Bellisario. Plus you have Padilla working in the bullpen as you wait for one of the starters to get hurt. Looks like only room for one more pitcher, Don Mattingly said he didn't care about getting another lefty just get someone who can get hitters out. If Kuo can stay healthy, Broxton bounces back, Jansen continues to dominate, and Belisario stays focused this could be the best bullpen the Dodgers have had since the Dan Evans era. Would you like to get another LHP or are you happy with the candidates for that last spot?
NC: I'm probably done shopping, you forgot about Blake Hawksworth, you bloggers have been so fixated on his sister you've forgotten he can pitch. He gives us another option for the rotation, and should help out in the bullpen.
Aflac Duck: Right, I did forget about him. So basically Scott Elbert has no chance of making this team out of spring training unless an injury strikes? Or Troncoso?
NC: I wouldn't say no chance, they may end up battling Jansen for a spot, plus with this many pitchers, injuries always play a role.
Aflac Duck: He's not going to go home again when he's sent back to AAA again is he?
NC: If he does he best make sure he only gets a one way ticket.
Aflac Duck: I think Dodger fans when they look at this pitching staff have to be happy that no Ortiz's will be wasting roster space. You really have a loaded staff from top to bottom. Kudo's for the good work you did in building the 2011 staff.
Aflac Duck: That pitching looks loaded, so let's take a look at the weakest part of the lineup, the catching position. You had to make a tough decision and cut loose Russell Martin, you said that is the hardest decision you have had to make. You became a GM just in time to watch Russell Martin blossom into one of the best catchers in the game, and then watch him wither and die on the vine before his time. Did Joe simply run him into the ground from which he has been unable to physically recover? He did catch more games over a two year period then any other Dodger catcher in history.
NC: I don't know about running him into the ground, he did the Dodger franchise proud, and we only wish him the best as he tries to resurrect his career with the NY Yankees.
Aflac Duck: That he did, let's take a look at the players who are replacing Martin. Rod Barajas was barely paid the minimum in 2010 and yet you gave him a 3 Million dollar deal. When Frank McCourt got that big loan from Fox did he know you were going to throw away 3 million of it on a 35 year old backup catcher? I know he hit well for the Dodgers but come on, who does this? Luckily when Barajas reverts back to the terrible hitting catcher he is, you signed 2008 AL All - Star Dionnar Navarro to help him out. Problem is that just like 2008 NL All- Star Russell Martin, Navarro stopped hitting after that all-star game. Luckily you showed some restraint since you only gave him $1 Million. Many might look at the Dodgers catching situation headed in 2011 and come to conclusion that they have some weak sauce behind the plate. I understand Martin made his decision but is this the best you could do for $4.25 Million? The picking were slim but maybe you could have saved some here for some other position. Guys like Paulino, Zaun, and Ramon Hernandez could possibly have simply split time with AJ Ellis?
NC: Maybe you didn't notice how great Barajas did for the Dodgers after I acquired him?
Aflac Duck: I did, maybe you didn't notice how often the part time players you have acquired in Aug/Sept who were brilliant kind of sucked the following season when they went back to being what they always were. Guys like Marlon Anderson and Belliard jump to mind.
NC: Barajas is different, he will earn his contract, and really those other guys you mentioned, all have their own issues. AJ Ellis is a good kid but he's simply depth and will always be depth. What if I had done that plan and a catcher gets hurt, who is my backup? Nobody, with Barajas and Navarro in the fold, AJ Ellis is depth if one of them goes down. You should know by now I'm all about depth.
Aflac Duck: I'm not really against Barajas, I simply flinch at the idea of a catcher begging for a job at age 34, then getting a huge payday because of one month of great work. Whatever, Rod is a good guy, glad he's on the team.
Aflac Duck: 1st base stays the same, but if the production stays the same this team is in a world of hurt.
NC: Can't disagree with that, James Loney needs to hit the baseball hard. He's double happy, we need to turn him into homer happy.
Aflac Duck: Your biggest free agent positional signing was grabbing Juan Uribe from the World Champion Giants. He brings power and pizazz to the lineup along with a good glove and strong arm. I find Uribe interesting because he had a better year in 2009 and couldn't find a suitor, has an okay year power wise for a 2nd baseman in 2010 and gets a big time mega million dollar deal.. The last time we talked Ryan Theriot was the possible 2nd baseman, so the team has seriously upgraded the power part of the position with Uribe. Any way just rambling, I have no question regarding Uribe.
Aflac Duck: SS is still Furcal but with Uribe you have given the team some much needed depth for when Furcal gets hurt. How many healthy games are you hoping for from Furcal this year?
Aflac Duck: 3rd base is still Casey Blake, at first blush that appears to be a weakness but given the relative lack of decent 3rd baseman in the NL, maybe he's not a weakness after all?
NC: Casey Blake is a strength, having Carroll on the team will allow us to give the rest a 37 year old 3rd baseman needs.
Aflac Duck: Andre and Kemp are set in RF / CF. Many fans feel the fortunes of the team depends directly on their performance. Is that to much pressure for them?
NC: They are our two best hitters, they need to hit like our two best hitters, Manny gave them some time to mature, now it is up to them to show us what they are made of.
Aflac Duck: Left field has been a source of consternation for just about every Dodger fan. You signed Marcus Thames to put all of Dodger fandom worries about left field to rest. I understand they are thrilled to have the guy who beat out Jamie Hoffman for the last spot on the Yankee team in 2010, and why shouldn't they be. His defense will remind everyone of Manny, and his offense will remind everyone why they loved Manny. To early to tell how the configuration will play out? Gibbons / Thames, Gwynn / Thames, Paul / Thames, Thames only?
NC: I'll let Donnie make the determination, my job was to get him a right hand bat, and I think I got him the best one we could afford.
Aflac Duck: Everyone says Gibbons is a lock for the roster because you gave him a major league contract. Assuming Thames is playing LF, the bench looks to be Carroll, Navarro, Gywnn, and Gibbons. Leaving a roster squabble between Castro and Mitchell, with AJ Ellis, Hoffman, the Aussie, Elbert, Ely, Monk, The German headed for the minor leagues with Xavier Paul headed out of Dodger Blue. At this moment it looks like Paul will be given away like Cody Ross and D Young were when they had no options left and no place on the 25 man roster?
NC: We will probably try to do with Paul what we did with Hu, get a comparable player but one who can be optioned to the minor leagues.
Aflac Duck: So here we are, happy with what you have wrought?
NC: Yes, our pitching will allow us to be in every game, and I think you'll enjoy the number of solo home runs we hit this year. The Giants did it, we can do it. If I can't be the general manager of the Giants then making the Dodgers over to be like the Giants is the next greatest thing. You bloggers love your on base, so out of spite I built a team that never gets on base, and I'm still going to win ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Aflac Duck: Settle down Ned, you forget that TBLA now has 3,000 daily readers not the 5 when we first started this gig. These newbies don't understand your sophisticated humor.
NC: Bloody hell, you know I was just spoofing, you know I bleed Dodger blue after my Giant orange has run out. You know I'm just one big ball of laughs. You tell your readers that or I'm getting my shotgun and my Orange Duck recipe ready.
Aflac Duck: Don't worry, they never read this far anyway. I'm sure they got distracted once they saw the squirrel.