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What's Going On in Hollywood?

I was fortunate to talk to an old friend of Baseball Digest Daily on Friday. That old friend happens to be the VP of Scouting and Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Roy Smith. Roy has been with the Dodgers for a little over a year now following an up and down ride in the front office at Pittsburgh.

Roy was hired by former Dodger GM Paul DePodesta. He endured a season that saw the Dodgers suffer more injuries than any team in recent memory. He watched DePodesta get hung out to dry for one losing season, and then watched owner Frank McCourt hire the enemy in Ned Colletti, formerly of the San Francisco Giants. If that weren't enough, the Dodgers then decided that Grady Little was somehow the right man to manage the major league club. (These are my editorial comments and in no way represent the opinions of Roy Smith)

Now, I didn't call Roy to ask him about the front office turnover or whether he is content with the way things have gone. I called to talk about some of the Dodgers prospects and inquire about the health of some other significant players (more on that later). But as I talked with Roy, it dawned on me how much has changed within a year. I mean, in addition to cleaning house, the Dodgers suddenly opened their pockets and spent millions on the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, Jose Cruz Jr., Rafael Furcal, Bill Mueller, and Kenny Lofton. And on Friday, the Dodgers sent prospects Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany to Tampa Bay for overrated closer Danys Baez and journeyman reliever Lance Carter.

Call me a skeptic, but when was the last time you saw a team achieve success by turning over nearly 50% of its roster by going outside the organization? Frankly, I can't remember any team that has accomplished such a feat. According to MLB.com, "The Dodgers now have $95 million committed in 2006 payroll to 18 players. Colletti, on the job less than two months, has moved off the roster 17 of the 39 players he inherited." Is this a recipe for disaster or what? But here's the most disturbing quote of the crazy offseason undertaking...when asked if the acquisition of Baez is insurance against losing Gagne after the season, Colletti responded, "It's not a hedge at all. I believe in having a strong team for the year at hand. I can't predict the future, I'm not that smart. The bullpen is a key piece in any team and we've added to it."

I'm not a Dodgers fan, but boy, I'd be pretty frightened if I were. That's one scary statement. When your organization is deemed to have the best minor league system in the league, you want to make sure you trust the person ultimately in charge of moving those players around. Hey Dodger fans, do you really trust Ned Colletti?

I know this is a Braves blog, but I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts on another organization going through a metamorphosis of sorts. Count your blessings Braves fans!

Additional Notes: Roy Smith was the perfect gentleman as always and filled me on the status of several players out in LA. First of all, there appears to be little or no progress in signing 2005 draftee Luke Hochevar. J.D. Drew, Eric Gagne, Rafael Furcal, and Jeff Kent are recovering from their respective injuries, and the Dodgers expect all to be ready for the start of spring training. Despite being dealt to Tampa, Roy feels that Edwin Jackson can build on some of the success he had during the second half of the season. People forget the kid is only 22 years old and is really just going through the normal maturation process as any other young pitcher. That's good news for Devil Rays fans.