All the talk was about Joe Torre managing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only problem was Grady Little was still the manager.
That's not an issue any longer. Little announced on Tuesday night that he was resigning as manager as reports surfaced that the Dodgers and Torre are on the verge of consummating a deal.
During a conference call, Little responded to reports of ill will between himself and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
"Ned and I have been in constant communication since the end of the season and decided mutually that this was the best move for the Dodgers organization to take," Little said.
Colletti said, "I wanted Grady Little back. I encouraged him a handful of
times to think it through."
Little's resignation comes amid multiple media reports that Torre will be named the Dodgers' next manager. The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the Dodgers and the former Yankees manager had agreed to terms of a contract but were resolving issues related to the coaching staff and player personnel moves.
The New York Post reported on its Web site Tuesday night that
Torre had agreed in principle to a $14.5 million, three-year
contract with the Dodgers, but a baseball official with knowledge
of the search said no deal was imminent. Torre's reported average annual salary would be worth slightly less than the $5 million, one-year deal that the Yankees offered Torre to manage in 2008.
Torre's agent, Maury Gostfrand, declined comment. However, Colletti told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Dodgers "don't have a deal" with Torre yet.
Colletti told Stark that the Dodgers and Torre are "in the early stages of getting to know each other," but there was "mutual interest" for both parties.
It has been widely reported that Torre would bring his former bench coach, Don Mattingly, with him to Los Angeles. In a conference call on Tuesday, the former Yankees great did not deny or confirm a prospective move to L.A. His son Preston was a first-round draft pick of the Dodgers in 2006.
Colletti stressed that Little would have kept his job for next season had he decided to come back.
"This is a difficult day for many of us," Colletti said.
"Grady is a man I'm very fond of. Our friendship and relationship
I expect to last as long as we're here on earth."
Colletti said he knew resigning was on Little's mind at the end of the season.
When asked if rumors of Torre taking over had an influence on his decision, Little replied, "None whatsoever."
"I have my personal reasons," he said.
He added: "It's nothing in particular. It's just a decision
we've come to. This is all personal. There's a lot of belief I've
been dealt an injustice here. That couldn't be further from the
truth. My plans? To play with my grandkids."
Little had one year remaining on his contract with a club
option for a second year.
Little, the Dodgers' skipper the past two seasons, managed the
Boston Red Sox in 2002-03 before being fired despite leading the team to the American League Championship Series in 2003.
The Dodgers had baseball's best record in July but faded down
the stretch to finish 82-80, good for fourth place
in the NL West.
Clubhouse unrest surfaced between veterans and young players
during the season's final two weeks, when the Dodgers lost seven
straight games to the Colorado Rockies while falling out of
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.