Dodgers don't appear close to hiring new manager

Updated: November 21, 2005, 7:37 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' search for a new manager will probably take a while.

New general manager Ned Colletti said Monday that while he hadn't formally requested permission from other teams to speak with potential candidates currently under contract, he would do so shortly.

"The people that I've got under consideration, I'm doing some more legwork on," Colletti said during a conference call. "There's still three or four, maybe five out there."

Colletti said he is in the process of narrowing that list. He said he spoke informally with some teams Monday and he and his staff did a lot of groundwork concerning potential candidates.

Colletti, assistant GM Kim Ng, vice president of scouting and player development Roy Smith and director of amateur scouting Logan White met with former big league manager Jim Fregosi for about three hours during the weekend in Tampa, Fla. Colletti was there to attend the wedding of his former boss, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean.

"I think it was good," Colletti said. "I'd say it was positive, more informative than anything, but positive."

Colletti said he's spoken twice with Terry Collins, the team's director of player development and another former big league manager. Collins appeared to be the front-runner for the manager job before Paul DePodesta was fired Oct. 29.

"He's done a great job with the farm system. Terry and his group have been incredible in the development phase," Colletti said. "I can't say enough good things about him. That said, I'm still not sure about the managerial part of it. We'll have to see how that goes."

Colletti, Sabean's assistant the past nine years, was introduced last Wednesday as the Dodgers' GM, and said his first priority was to hire a manager. The team has been without one since parting ways with Jim Tracy on Oct. 3 -- the day after the season ended.

The Dodgers had a 71-91 record last season -- one year after winning the NL West with a 93-69 mark. DePodesta was nearing the end of a managerial search when he was abruptly fired less than two years into a five-year contract.

Colletti said there was no timetable to hire a replacement for Tracy, although he'd like to have it done by the time the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

"I like to be thorough before I do it," he said. "You'd love to have one today. We're going to make sure we take as much time as it takes without wasting time. I don't guarantee it's going to be done by the Winter Meetings."

Colletti beat out Ng for the Dodgers GM job. Ng and Smith are both under contract for three years, but no official announcement has been made concerning their status.

"We've all pulled together, we've spent a lot of time together," Colletti said. "As far as I'm concerned, everybody's working together, we're all getting to know each other. I rely on them, they're in the meetings. I'm not excluding anybody. I haven't really given it that much thought."

Colletti also said he's been in contact with several representatives of free agents.

"The process is underway, obviously," he said. "I'm making sure we're catching up and that they know our interest level and they keep that in mind."

Colletti mentioned first base, third base and the outfield as areas of need. He also said he hasn't been given a set figure concerning the team's payroll.

"I've conversed with Frank and Jamie about what I think we need, who I think we need," he said, referring to Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. "I haven't been told to stop or slow down."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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