Dodgers execs, coaching staff huddle to discuss roster future after early playoff elimination

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LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers' front office and coaching staff began meetings Thursday to discuss the team's future after its second straight early exit from the playoffs.

Speculation on the future of general manager Ned Colletti is swirling in the wake of the Dodgers' elimination by St. Louis in four games in the National League Division Series.

Manager Don Mattingly said he "would be surprised" if Colletti doesn't return next year. Under Colletti, the club has won the NL West title five times in nine years. Colletti is a holdover from when Frank McCourt owned the Dodgers.

Colletti and team president Stan Kasten are set to meet on Friday. Colletti has presided over a team with baseball's highest payroll at $256 million.

Mattingly signed a new contract last year that takes him through the 2017 season. He said he assumes he'll be back next year.

"Nobody has told me anything different," he said. "I'm proud of what we accomplished this year."

The Dodgers won their second straight NL West title, by six games over rival San Francisco, which advanced to the NLCS against the Cardinals.

A year ago, the Dodgers were sent packing in six games by the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Mattingly repeatedly deferred specific questions about various players and issues like the quality of the bullpen to Colletti.

"My opinions, now is not the time to express them," he said.

He declined to confirm that his coaching staff would return intact next season.

Mattingly did say he thought impending free agency affected shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be given a qualifying offer by the team.

"It was there all year," he said.

Regardless of next year's roster, Mattingly said, "I'm prepared to do whatever we have to do to win with the guys we have."

He disagreed with critics who have questioned the chemistry in the clubhouse, saying, "We battled that talk. I don't worry about our chemistry. These guys stuck together all year long."

A topic of conversation among the staff was the club's aging roster, with six of the eight starting positions filled by players who are 30 or older.

"It's something you should pay attention to," he said. "But it's what the owners have talked about, building the farm system so you don't have to do it with free agents."

Mattingly had one regret about the series against St. Louis, saying he wished he could do-over his decision in Game 3. Left-hander Scott Elbert started the seventh inning of a tie game against right-hander Yadier Molina, with left-handed hitters due up.

Elbert gave up a double to Molina, who took second on Jon Jay's bunt before Kolten Wong homered. Mattingly said right-hander Brian Wilson better fit that situation.

"We lost," Mattingly said. "I'm not going to say our bullpen lost or our starters lost."

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