Dan Evans looks good in retrospect
There's an unsung hero to the Dodgers' success the last few years, a nearly forgotten figure.
A man who built the core of this current team, but who was discarded before his work bore fruit.
Time to give Dan Evans his due.
Evans was hired as the Dodgers' general manager in 2001 at a time the team seemed mired in mediocrity and the farm system had lost its way.
Most publications ranked the team's minor league system near the absolute bottom in baseball, but in three short years it was ranked in the top 10.
Evans rebuilt the front office and brought in good people like Kim Ng, vice president and assistant general manager, and Logan White, assistant general manager of scouting. And then they went to work.
They drafted Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton, players the team is now built around, as well as Jason Repko and James McDonald.
"I’m really proud of the fact that these guys panned out," Evans said. "I was really lucky. I had a terrific staff. I feel good about what we did there."
Evans, however, became the break with the Dodgers' past when the team was purchased by the McCourts. Shortly afterward, Frank McCourt said Evans was a candidate ... for his own job. You didn't have to be psychic to see how that was going to end.
Evans was bid adieu. McCourt then hired Paul DePodesta, who lasted 20 months.
"You can’t go back and change history,'' he said. "I had a good time. I loved going to work every day. It’s part of life. I’m really glad for the time I spent there."
Evans now works for the other side. After spending time as a scout for the Mariners, in 2007 he became chief executive and president of West Coast Sports Management. The ex-GM is an agent.
"It’s actually been very fun,'' Evans said. "I’ve had a chance to look at things from the other side of the equation. It’s been interesting because you see things from a couple of different perspectives."
His Pasadena firm includes former Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen, and he said they represent more than 60 baseball players, including Atlanta's Kenshin Kawakami, Milwaukee's Gregg Zahn, Minnesota's No.1 pick Aaron Hicks and Hank Conger, the Angels' No. 1 selection in 2006.
West Coast Sports Management also has a 10,000-square-foot facility with batting cages, weights and video equipment.
Evans, 50, said he has season tickets to the Dodgers and Angels, and there are times he watches a high school, college and pro game all in the same day.
"That to me is a blast,'' he said. "I see more games now than I ever did.''
Evans said he still follows the Dodgers and harbors no bitterness.
"I have a good relationship with Frank McCourt,'' he said. "I don’t have any bad feelings about the Dodgers at all."
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dan Evans. Credit: Los Angeles Times.