Colletti 'Looking for a Great Leader'

The Dodgers new General Manager Ned Colletti said his list of preferred managers consists of up to eight names. He said he would like a manager who relates as well to young players as he does to veterans, a critical trait for the Dodgers, who expect the arrival of a handful of top prospects over the next couple of years.

He declined to make public the identities of his eight prospects, but sources believe that Jim Fregosi, who managed four major league teams, including the Angels from 1978 to '81 and the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1993 National League pennant, is chief among them.

"I've got one in mind, sure," Colletti said, and, "somebody else right alongside."

Colletti and Fregosi worked together in the front office of the San Francisco Giants, where Colletti was assistant general manager and, for two years, Fregosi was a special assistant to General Manager Brian Sabean. They formed a close relationship during that time

Colletti will have to ask permission to speak to Fregosi from the Atlanta Braves, for whom Fregosi is employed as a special assistant to General Manager John Schuerholz. Traditionally, such permission is a formality. Fregosi, 63, has one year left on his contract with the Braves.

"I'm definitely interested," Fregosi told the Los Angeles Times. "I like Ned a lot. I thought he was well qualified for that job. And he did a hell of job in San Francisco."

So where does all this leave Orel Hershiser?

Hershiser said Wednesday that he had not heard from the Dodgers in more than a week and had not spoken to new GM Ned Colletti, who was officially presented Wednesday.

Hershiser, who worked with Colletti when both were with San Francisco in 1998, could still be a candidate for either the open managerial position or an administrative role. Hershiser interviewed for the managerial job with owner Frank McCourt nearly a month ago.

Hershiser said he was operating as if he'd be working for the Rangers in 2006, though he does not have a contract yet. The Rangers have invited him to return, but his contract expired Oct. 31, and he has not re-signed because of the Dodgers' opportunity.

Hershiser has been the Rangers pitching coach since June 2002 and has said he'd return if he didn't take a job with the Dodgers.

Then too, Colletti may consider Lou Piniella, who left the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after last season with a year remaining on his contract, along with Dodger director of minor league operations Terry Collins, who was Paul DePodesta's choice to succeed Jim Tracy.

However, Piniella was owed $4.4 million on his final season with the Devil Rays but was bought out for something like half of that.

If Piniella accepted a position with the Dodgers, according to the terms of the buyout, the Devil Rays would pay the difference between Piniella's salary and $2.2 million. If the contract's average annual value was worth more than $2.2 million, the Devil Rays would receive a percentage of Piniella's salary above that figure.

Dodger owner Frank McCourt may not be willing to spend that much on a new manager. Tracy made less than $700,000 annually. Fregosi would probably command twice that, Piniella perhaps three times that.

Fregosi managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000 and hired local favorite Buck Martinez, who didn't last two seasons.

"I miss the challenge of day-to-day action, managing a big-league ballclub," Fregosi said.

Colletti left Los Angeles for San Francisco on Wednesday night and flew to the Tampa, Florida where he will attend Sabean's wedding. Coincidentally or not, both Fregosi and Piniella live in the same area.

Depending on the length of Colletti's list, it could include a handful of potential first-time managers, including Philadelphia bench coach Gary Varsho, Angel pitching coach Bud Black and Atlanta third base coach Fredi Gonzalez.

Orel Hershiser was interviewed by McCourt and advisor Tom Lasorda in the first manager search, but has not been contacted since. And former Dodger coach Jim Riggleman, currently in minor league operations with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Colletti share Cub ties.

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