November 25, 2014

Our Take on Dodgers’ Prez Dennis Mannion’s Comments

Maybe it’s just me, but I was hoping to be a little more inspired after reading the Q&A that Bill Shaikin conducted with Dodgers President Dennis Mannion for the Los Angeles Times.  On the plus side, Mannion did say that Colletti was free to sign players to big contracts, and knowing Ned’s philosophy on such things, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s waiting to see how the market shakes out over the course of the winter.  I’ll be patient….the last thing anyone wants is some ridiculous contract on the books for the next four to five years, right?

However, one portion on the interview brought back bad memories of comments made by Jamie McCourt last year – the exact thing that I’m sure the Dodgers wanted to avoid:

Since Wolf probably would have signed a long-term contract somewhere else even if the Dodgers had offered him arbitration, how worried were you about the millions it might cost to sign the draft picks you would have gotten in return?

You’re dealing with a very fluid situation. Those millions that are potentially in play, they can manifest themselves where the opportunity is. If the opportunity is in buying more portable concession stands, then that’s what you do. If the opportunity is buying some international talent that you have a very good handle on, that’s what you do. In this particular world, you’re making those assessments on a daily basis.

We have heard many times from teams that say they have allocated money from one part of baseball operations budget to another, say, from major league free agents to scouting or player development. Are you saying your choice could be between spending on amateur talent and spending on portable concession stands?

I’m just saying you have to have that kind of a fluid mind. That’s an absurd example, to tell you the truth. I just used it to show you should be able to cross over budgets when necessary. Let’s face it, our main imperative is to win games and win a championship. So you can tell who’s going to win that battle when it’s fought.

While it is absurd to compare dollars for players to dollars for portable concession stands, as a PR guy, I actually find it even more shocking that Mannion would make such a comparison in light of Jamie McCourt’s comments from last year (where she suggested the possibility of taking money designated for players’ salaries and instead using it Little League parks).  I know he’s trying to make the point that the Dodgers on-field and off-field operations are now one, but if I were him I would have stayed away from such comparisons at a time when many Dodger fans are holding their collective breath, waiting to see if the team is going to make a significant move in improving the quality of play on the field for the coming year.

Side note: I did have a chance to meet Dennis Mannion in passing at Spring Training last season, and I came away thinking that he was an enthusiastic guy who really cared what the fans thought about the team and the facilities.  I will not pass judgment on him after reading just this interview, and I hope we have the chance to hear from Mannion about his master plan in the months ahead, but what I’m personally looking for is a long-term strategy for the future of the Dodgers and how this team will continue to compete, contend and win for years to come.