Sometimes, a month’s worth of trade talks devolve into a whole lot of nothing. Sometimes, they drag into the 11th hour and wind up with a game-changing transaction. When you’re a buyer, like Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has been this year, you see both ends.
Colletti said he’s never seen talks go on longer in his career than the ones he had with the Chicago Cubs about pitcher Ryan Dempster. In the end, Dempster was dealt to the Texas Rangers. But Colletti and his gang worked the phones into the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and, eventually after a short nap, landed Shane Victorino from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ned Colletti joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss how the Victorino deal got done, what happens in those 11th-hour talks, the discussions surrounding Dempster, evaluating players in general and what Victorino will bring to the Dodgers.
How did the whole process of landing Shane Victorino go down?:
“This one did almost take all night. We were here until about 2 o’clock, then recessed for a few hours and came back at 6 and kept getting after it. The last day’s always hectic and the last day’s always got all sorts of twists and turns to it. We were on a path late last night or early this morning and continued down it and really wanted to make the deal, obviously. We love having Shane here, how he plays, the passion he brings and the winning spirit he has along with his ability.”
What in the world can you be doing up until 2 a.m.?:
“You keep going back and forth. I’ve got not just myself here, but the lead members in baseball operations as Ruben Amaro had in Philly. You just keep going back and forth, back and forth. If this is going to happen, that’s going to happen. … At one point in time, we probably had a seven- or eight-player deal on the table. We started with Victorino and then it started to get larger because of who the ask was. Then we kept adding, they kept adding, then we started shrinking it back down. … At least at that time of night, you’re really traditionally dealing with one club. During the day today, there were probably four or five teams that we had a ton of conversation with in the last week and probably today each of them have between seven and 15 conversations.”
On the lengthy discussions surrounding trying to get pitcher Ryan Dempster:
“In the history of my time doing this, there was never more conversation than that one. That goes back two months and continually every week, every week, and then as you get closer it’s a few times a day. I think in the last hour, there might have been seven or eight conversations. It came down to, we feel we’ve got some real strong pitching coming. … We just had a difficult time parting with that for someone who will be here until the end of whenever we stop playing.”
On evaluating players:
“Everybody sees players, for the most part, in a different way. It might be five percent different, 10 percent different, 20 percent different, but many times it’s really similar. Once in a while, when you get down to the end and you’re not going to do a deal, the guys that I know real well, I’ll say, ‘OK, we’ve talked about this guy, we’ve talked about that guy. What kind of report do you have on them?’ … You have to be careful. Everybody, I think, to some extent, over-evaluates their own, because it’s who you see all the time and there’s always a rush and always a pressure to sign and develop your own. You end up falling in love sometimes with people that the outside world sees in a far lesser way.”
What do you expect Victorino to add to the team, especially as a leader coming onto a team that has some leaders already?:
“He plays with such passion. … How he plays is, as you sit and watch him, you don’t like watching him play against you because of how he plays. He plays hard all the time; he’s in the middle of everything. He’s not somebody that’s going to hit 30 home runs or drive in 100, but if he gets on base, he’s a threat to steal. He’s going to work a count; he’s going to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. … The longer the season goes and the more mentally tired people get and the longer the thing goes on, you need people that can really stir it up and stir it up in the room and go from there.”