ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ned Colletti says his club has no intention of going elsewhere
Ned Colletti has been hearing good things about Albuquerque all season.
Sunday the Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager decided to see the organization’s top farm club for himself.
After traveling to New York this week for the Dodgers’ series against the Mets, Colletti opted to make a two-day stop in Albuquerque on his way home. He spent Sunday evening at Isotopes Park watching a lot of familiar players.
Isotopes 9 Cubs 5
Eight of the nine Isotopes who started Sunday’s 9-5 victory over Iowa have suited up for the Dodgers in the past two seasons. (Outfielder Matt Angle was the exception.)
By winning Sunday the ‘Topes moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Coast League’s American South division. They’ve also played a significant role in keeping Los Angeles in National League West contention.
Suffice it to say, Colletti has liked what he’s seen from the Isotopes.
“When you win games, play well and the fans seem to embrace the group of players, that’s what we strive for,” Colletti said. “And when you’ve got guys who can come up and help the big-league club win games, that’s pretty much everything you’re looking for with your triple-A ballclub.”
Colletti’s satisfaction seems to be organization-wide. When asked about the Dodgers’ player development contract with Albuquerque – one set to expire after this season – Colletti was definitive.
“We have no intention of going anywhere else,” he said.
Making his first visit to the Duke City this season, Colletti offered his views on a variety of subjects. Among them were starting pitcher Steven Fife and utility man Elian Herrera, who rejoined the ‘Topes this week after stints with the Dodgers.
Fife made his major league debut July 17, allowing one run in six innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was equally impressive against Iowa, allowing one run on four hits and striking out a career-best 12 in seven innings.
“Fife did really well against Philly, which is obviously a good hitting club,” Colletti said. “He’s a guy who really has to pitch, and he’s gotten better and better at it. He’s thrown some really good games here, as has (today’s ‘Topes starter John) Ely. That’s encouraging.”
Neither Ely nor Fife have particularly surprised Colletti with their success, however. Herrera has.
“You’re talking about somebody who’d spent a long time in the organization,” Colletti said, “and really hadn’t distinguished himself until this year. Elian comes up and plays six positions for us in six weeks and plays really well. That kind of story’s unique.”
Despite contributions from Albuquerque, the Dodgers have been the subject of numerous trade rumors with the major league deadline approaching. Colletti hinted that such rumors may continue.
“It’s the same thing every year,” he said, “with a lot more discussion than actual trades. There are some teams trying to shed payroll, but most of them want two dollars and 50 cents on their dollar until the very last minute. It takes a lot of time and patience if you really want to help your club.”
Considering the injuries they’ve endured, Colletti said he feels good about the Dodgers’ position (1 1/2 games behind San Francisco after Sunday’s games). He feels even better about the recent ownership change that’s re-energized the franchise.
“For a couple years it was difficult, trying,” he said. “Since May 1, it’s been liberating. We can concentrate on baseball, attendance is up at Dodger Stadium when it’s down other places, it’s great.”
Colletti, who will take in today’s series finale against Iowa before heading back to Los Angeles, said the good vibe extends to the players.
“It’s really a team feel,” he said. “They’ve kept it together through adversity, and when people have come up from Albuquerque they’ve been embraced and helped the club. It’s really a good situation right now.”
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal