Not long after the departure of former manager Don Mattingly, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman reached out to the remaining members of the coaching staff and explained there were no guarantees for positions in 2016. Friedman also relayed that the coaches were free to seek employment elsewhere while the front office regrouped and decided on a new direction.
Since that time, a few things have transpired that make the future at least a little bit clear. Dave Roberts will be taking over the managerial regime. Davey Lopes headed East and will coach first base for the Nationals. Ron Roenicke accepted a position to man the third base coaching duties of the Angels. And most recently, former hitting coach Mark McGwire was named the new bench coach of the Padres.
Many assumed that Tim Wallach would head to Florida and join Don Mattingly as the bench coach of the Marlins, but things have been completely quiet in the Wallach camp. One possibility is that Wallach may stay put in Los Angeles and work beside Dave Roberts on the bench.
A few outlets have already envisioned Gabe Kapler as a solid candidate for the Dodgers’ bench coaching job; however, the lack of experience between both Kapler and Roberts could prove to be detrimental in terms of the knowledge required of actually managing a game.
Some remember Mattingly running out of pitchers during the Peoria Saguaros’ 15-1 forfeit win over his Phoenix Desert Dogs during his initial season of managing in the AFL in 2010. Others recall when he stepped off the mound and back on again against the Giants after filling in for Joe Torre earlier that year. Things like these happen to a rookie manager, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have someone on the staff with at least some knowledge and experience at the Major League level.
The new sabermetric approach of the front office may prove to be beneficial to the Dodgers over the course of time, but Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will only be able to offer up so much from the press box in terms of the true nuances of baseball.
Tim Wallach is widely recognized among his coaching peers as being one of the most knowledgeable students of the game, and many attribute the managerial success of Mattingly to his presence. It goes without saying that Wallach would be a beneficial piece of the Dodgers’ puzzle moving forward, but the question remains as to whether he would accept such a role after being looked over rather quickly for the managerial position.
Dave Roberts and Tim Wallach are no strangers to having a working relationship, as Wallach was Roberts’ hitting coach in 2004 before being shipped off to Boston. It is unknown whether Roberts will be permitted to choose his own coaching staff; but if he’s so entitled, Wallach may be very high on the list to work by his side.
As perfect as it sounds on paper to remain with the Dodgers as bench coach, Wallach may have an entirely different agenda. He may decide to pair up with Mattingly and head to Miami. Or he could join Dusty Baker and Davey Lopes in Washington. He may even take a year off, or possibly join another team’s front office in an executive capacity.
Regardless of which course he follows, hopefully the Dodgers front office recognizes Tim Wallach as a valuable piece to the success of the franchise, and does everything within its power to utilize the precious leadership, knowledge and experience that he possesses.