Colletti, Mattingly want new attitude in 2011
GM, manager stress importanace of demeanor for Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- General manager Ned Colletti and incoming manager Don Mattingly indicated Monday that the Dodgers need more attitude adjustment than roster adjustment.
"I don't know who you lay it on. I think you lay it on everybody," Colletti said of the club's fourth-place finish after back-to-back division titles.
"I thought in the spring we should have been crisper. I don't know if it was because we played a longer season or if people thought it would be easy. Overall, we need more crispness to what we do. More intensity. More relentless to what we're trying to accomplish. But that doesn't fall on one person or a small group of people. That falls on everybody."
Mattingly, meanwhile, was asked what one thing he would like to add to the club over the winter. He didn't mention free agents Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee.
"To be mentally tough," he said. "That covers a lot of areas. It takes toughness to play this game. Not football tough, but to be ready to play 162 games. It's a mental battle to get yourself ready."
Colletti and Mattingly met the media during a break from a post-mortem staff meeting to analyze what went wrong in 2010 and how to fix it in 2011.
Colletti repeated earlier comments that he is not looking to tear up his roster or dump young stars like Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier.
"That's what we built around and we'll continue to look around to try to support them with veterans and more young players at the same time," he said. "A majority are entering their prime or are right at it. If I hadn't seen them in '08 and '09 I'd have more concern."
Starting pitching remains a top priority, with three of the five members of the rotation -- Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla -- eligible for free agency. Colletti said the club needs more offense and a more reliable bullpen.
Kuroda hasn't announced if he will remain in the Major Leagues or return to Japan, but he did say over the weekend that he would most likely seek only a one-year contract, which is also something the Dodgers prefer.
They won't, however, be able to get Lilly for anything like that. He will be looking for a deal similar to the one Randy Wolf got from Milwaukee (three years, nearly $30 million) after the Dodgers passed. Padilla, who ended the season with a neck injury, will come the cheapest.
Because the Dodgers have exclusive negotiation rights with all of their free agents (they have nine), they likely will make first runs at those, along with catcher Rod Barajas and outfielder Jay Gibbons.
Colletti said he hasn't received a dollar figure on a 2011 payroll budget and said he is "assuming" the ongoing divorce trail between owner Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt won't impact his ability to address needs.
"I think we'll have the budget that will allow us to compete," he said. "We thought this year's club was prepared to compete, that we had the right players knowing we could add players at the deadline."
Nearly $38 million could come off a 2010 payroll of $95 million through free agents and players that have already left.
Colletti said the two most promising Minor Leaguers are the two Branch Rickey Award winners for best pitcher and player in the system -- hard-throwing right-hander Rubby De La Rosa and slugging corner infielder Jerry Sands. Both started last year at Class A and finished at Double-A. Sands could be groomed to replace third baseman Casey Blake, who at 37 might transition to utility.
Mattingly and Colletti indicated the coaching staff remains a work in progress. Bob Schaefer, Joe Torre's bench coach, said he won't be back and first-base coach Mariano Duncan said he was told Sunday that he might not be back.
Third-base coach Larry Bowa said he hasn't been told anything. He is a candidate for bench coach as a former Major League manager and longtime Mattingly associate, however there are other former Major League managers apparently on the short list. Triple-A Albuquerque manager Tim Wallach is expected to have some role on Mattingly's staff -- possibly third-base coach -- if he isn't hired as a manager elsewhere. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he's confident he will be back after speaking with Mattingly, but hasn't talked yet to Colletti.
Colletti said the construction of the staff will be done the same way as others on his watch.
"We won't have anybody that he's not comfortable with or anybody that I'm not comfortable with," Colletti said.
Mattingly also revealed a glimpse of his personality he hadn't previously discussed about how a Midwesterner who played in New York fits in L.A.
"The first time I came to California [as a player], I loved it," he said. "The weather, the cool nights, the laid-back way it is away from the field. I like that a lot. This place fits my personality really well. I live at the beach, I like it a lot, chill away from the field. It allows me to be somebody different."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.