According to a source, Colletti met with Little and his coaching staff in the manager's office on Sept. 30, shortly after the Dodgers ended their season with an 11-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants....
In that setting, Colletti opened the meeting by blaming himself for personnel decisions that might have left the team thin in the starting rotation and everyday lineup, then put equal responsibility for the 82-80 record on Little and his staff. Little, according to the source, "didn't take it well."
Little defended himself and his staff, saying they'd worked harder and gotten more out of the team in 2007 than they had in 2006, when the Dodgers won the National League wild card, ultimately losing in a division series to the New York Mets.
"It went downhill from there," the source said.
When the meeting was over, Little left with the impression Colletti would rather he not return, but would have him back because he was under contract for 2008, the option for which was exercised in March. Colletti believed Little would take two weeks to consider his future with the Dodgers. By the end of three weeks, when he hadn't heard from Little, Colletti began the process of identifying a potential replacement, turning first to Girardi, whom he knew when both were employed by the Chicago Cubs.
By then, however, Little had decided he was of the mind and heart to manage the Dodgers again in 2008. He called Colletti, they talked through the pointed parts of the meeting, and told him so.
Colletti, by then, had what he believed to be an agreement with Girardi's agent, and couldn't be sure of Little's enthusiasm for the job. When he was notified of Girardi's decision, therefore, Colletti engaged Torre in conversations, still unsure if he was in a full-scale manager search or simply hedging against Little's hesitation.
A friend of Little's said Little was eager to continue as manager of the Dodgers and that his relationship with Colletti was not irreparably damaged.
Joe Torre had better be already signed, sealed and delivered, because it'll be a disgrace for the Dodgers if he turns down the job.