Torre was "not best choice" for L.A. *

Bill Shaikin, the L.A. Times' national baseball writer, writes today that as the Dodgers go with young players, "it becomes increasingly apparent that [Joe] Torre was not the best choice as the Dodgers' manager."

This is not to criticize Torre. He is the same manager in Los Angeles that he was in New York, but the needs are not the same. With the Yankees, Torre calmed a veteran clubhouse, steadfastly buffering the players from ownership and media tempests.

Torre is more a head coach than a manager, delegating the teaching to his coaches.

Shaikin's larger point is that with the perception around baseball that the Dodgers' front office is "dysfunctional and factional," general manager Ned Colletti may be on his last legs: "If [owner Frank] McCourt does not trust Colletti to spend his money, he should fire him now. If McCourt does not trust Colletti to run the front office, he should do the same." Jon Heyman at Sports Illustrated quotes a National League general manager saying of the Dodgers' leadership, "They're a mess."

Poor Andy LaRoche: The rookie third baseman who can't catch a break got the good news Saturday that his competition, Blake DeWitt, was sent to the minors. But then the Dodgers gave the position to Casey Blake, a utility player with a little bit of power acquired from Cleveland for two decent prospects. Blake will be a free agent at the end of the season. Tony Jackson/DN

Also: ESPN's Keith Law writes, "Blake's problem -- and now the Dodgers' -- is that he's a statue at third base; he's okay on balls hit right to him, but he offers very little lateral range. Add him to an infield that already has pillar-of-salt Jeff Kent at second base, and Derek Lowe might have cause to sue."

* Add Blake: ESPN's Peter Gammons blogs, "The reason the Indians were able to get Carlos Santana, a very high-level prospect, in the Casey Blake deal is that the Indians took on all of Blake's remaining $2 million salary. Several general managers around baseball wonder whether L.A. doesn't have cash flow problems."

Phil Wallace's take at SoCal Sports Observed

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