While many followers of the Dodgers knew the 2018-19 offseason would bring many changes in player personnel, they didn’t anticipate a huge exodus in the coaching staff and management departments.
Ward was hired by the Dodgers in December of 2015. His MLB playing career spanned 11 years with six different teams. He was primarily a utility-type outfielder and designated hitter. He began his managing career in the Pirates’ farm system in 2007 and eventually accepted similar roles in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system. He was promoted to assistant hitting coach for the Snakes in 2013, where he remained through the 2015 season. Before joining the Dodgers’ coaching staff, he was widely known for his involvement in the massive brawl between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers on June 11, 2013.
The move was surprising, as there were no signs of the 53-year-old looking for work elsewhere. Indeed, it’s interesting that he would leave Los Angeles for an identical role with another organization, especially one which is in a rebuilding phase. There are a few early theories in place—like a much higher salary and Ohio being closer to where he grew up—but nothing concrete has yet to surface.
Sandwiched between the Woodward and Ward news are whispers suggesting that general manager Farhan Zaidi was offered the GM spot for the Dodgers’ biggest rival, the San Francisco Giants.
Jon Morosi of the MLB Network reported the Giants’ interest in Zaidi last week. Zaidi has been the Dodgers’ GM since Nov. 6, 2014. Before arriving in Los Angeles, he worked in the A’s front office in various roles for nearly a decade. He is the first Muslim GM of an American professional sports team. Zaidi is know for his strong analytical and mathematical approach to the sport.
On Tuesday afternoon, Morosi indicated that a decision may arrive within the next 24 hours:
Should Zaidi accept the role of boss in San Francisco, it will certainly be interesting to see how his relationship develops with skipper Bruce Bochy, who has one more year remaining on his managerial contract.
Bochy is widely known across baseball for being one of the last few “old school” managers left in the game and may have a tough time seeing eye-to-eye with somebody from the sabermetric school of thought.
Think Blue Planning Committee took an in-depth look at Zaidi a few years back.