So the Dodgers have chosen their manager, a significant to-do scratched off their busy off-season list.
The list, of course, is Rapunzel-hair long, but somewhere in its upper reaches will be new Manager Dave Roberts naming his coaching staff. Assuming he gets to.
The staff figures to be dramatically different from the one last seen under Don Mattingly. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has reportedly agreed to return, but after that it's something of a free fall. First base coach Davey Lopes has signed with the Nationals, third base coach Ron Roenicke has returned to the Angels, bench coach Tim Wallach may follow Mattingly to the Marlins and hitting coach Mark McGwire is reportedly in discussions with the Padres to be their bench coach.
That leaves just outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy, demoted from third base coach by the front office last season, assistant hitting coach John Valentin and bullpen coach Chuck Crim. All the coaching contracts have expired.
Roberts is almost impossible to dislike and no doubt has built plenty of strong relationships with coaches and players during his 16 years around Major League Baseball. Roberts has yet to address the media and is not scheduled to until Tuesday.
You have to wonder, though, just how much say Roberts will get in formulating his coaching staff. President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi appeared very hands-on in the daily running of the club last season. The constant lineup shuffles because of match-ups and the major increase in defensive shifts were attributed to their input.
It's not much of a stretch to imagine they want to name, or at least have very significant input, in the coaching staff. Most new managers normally get to surround themselves with their own people. A manager is held responsible for the coaches' work too, and that's more difficult to do if he was not allowed to select them.
Because Roberts has never managed before, it's likely the front office will want him to have a bench coach with managerial experience (or they could just have catcher A.J. Ellis double-dip). This will be the key coaching hire and no doubt Roberts would prefer someone with whom he has a history and feels comfortable with.
After Mattingly announced his departure, Friedman said at his news conference that the next Dodgers manager would not necessarily have to be fluent in sabermetrics or any specific area.
"We're going to keep a really open mind about who is the best fit, and whatever we perceive to not be that person's strengths, we'll look to fill that in around him and figure out ways to help make it as well-rounded as possible," Friedman said.
There has been no announcement on Wallach, who was one of nine believed to have been interviewed for the Dodgers manager job. He could be miffed at being passed over, but it should be noted that he was Roberts' hitting coach in 2004 before Roberts was traded to the Red Sox. And Wallach was raised and still lives in Orange County.
We're still learning how the final Friedman vision for the team will take shape, and how much freedom he has in making decisions away from team President Stan Kasten and the ownership group. If nothing else, it adds some intrigue to the next coaching staff.
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