Bob Geren Linked to Managerial Positions in San Francisco, New York

During the offseason, sometimes the coaching staff of the Dodgers takes as hard of a hit as the player roster as far as personnel goes departing the team.

Last year, third base coach Chris Woodward started an exodus that saw him accept the managerial spot for the Rangers. Within days, Turner Ward snagged the hitting coach job in Cincinnati. A short time later, Farhan Zaidi was named the new president of baseball operations for the Dodgers’ biggest NL West rival, the Giants.

Seemingly, the Dodgers won’t be hit as hard this year, despite pitching coach Rick Honeycutt already being announced in his new special assistant role. However, one of the likeliest departures, if there indeed is one, could be bench coach Bob Geren.

Even before the regular season ended, Geren was linked to the managerial job in San Francisco, as Bruce Bochy had announced his retirement  during 2019 spring training. Geren is believed to have strong ties to Zaidi—not just from their time together with the Dodgers—but also when the pair worked together in Oakland.

Additionally, folks in New York have been whispering Geren’s name as a potential candidate to replace departed skipper Mickey Callaway. Geren was bench coach in New York from 2011 tthrough 2015, but reportedly took the job in Los Angeles because of his family being rooted in Southern California.

His time with the Mets included a run to the 2015 World Series.

As far as his playing days go, Geren is a former catcher who spent 10 years in the minor leagues before making his debut with the Yankees in 1988. He stayed with the Yankees for four years, spent a year in the minors with the Pawtucket Red Sox, then played his final year with the San Diego Padres in 1993.

Geren has coached his way through the ranks, starting in the Red Sox organization at both the Rookie and Single-A levels, before joining the Oakland Athletics to manage their Triple-A team in Sacramento. He was promoted to bench coach for the A’s in 2002, where he remained through 2006. In November of 2006, he ascended to the manager spot in Oakland, where he ended up being chiefly responsible for the A’s first losing season since 1998.

His time with Oakland was rocky—he received an extension on his contract, but his managing style was questioned after several players overtly voiced their displeasure.

Former A’s reliever Huston Street called him the “least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.”

He was relieved of his duties with the Athletics in June of 2011.

Since taking his current post as bench coach in Los Angeles in 2016, he has been instrumental in the club’s four division titles and two National League pennants.

In addition to Geren, it is reported that Zaidi will be interviewing Gabe Kapler for the managerial vacancy.

From 2014-2017, Kapler served as the Dodgers’ director of player development.

 

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Let’s Talk Bullpen Upgrades

Indeed, many media outlets covering the Dodgers could probably spend half of the winter writing about what Andrew Friedman told reporters at his end-of-season press conference on Monday.

If you happened to miss it, Andy did a fine job discussing some of the highlights in her column on Monday afternoon.

Perhaps one of the most controversial points was when Friedman said that he felt his 2019 bullpen had the ability to win a World Series.

Personally, I had many mixed reactions immediately after reading that comment.

Obviously, my first notion, and the one that seemed to dominate social media on Monday, was when a slew of fans retorted, “If the team had that much confidence in the relief crew, then why use Clayton Kershaw and Joe Kelly for multiple innings in NLDS Game 5?”

With that question comes plenty of fallout, much of which we’ll talk about in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, Friedman explained that Roberts has final say on in-game personnel decisions, suggesting that perhaps the skipper did not trust Kenley Jansen and others in that particular situation. Either that, or Roberts was getting a little to sentimental or gutsy in his decisions.

But, that’s complete speculation on my end.

I suppose one thing that does give credence to Friedman’s claim, though, is the fact that the 2019 bullpen was packed with plenty of arms who were regular starters or decent swing men. Kenta Maeda comes to mind right away. Whether he should remain a reliever or rejoin the rotation in 2020—like Friedman hinted—is another one of those secondary topics.

Flanked around Maeda were Ross Stripling, Dustin May and Julio Urias. All of these pitchers may not have otherwise been in the bullpen if they would have been part of a starting rotation. I suppose that Friedman considered that an upgrade in itself. Certainly, that theory would apply to Maeda, as he was absolutely brilliant in relief during the NLDS this year.

Still, it baffles me how the Dodgers—who, coincidentally, were tied with Washington for most blown saves in the NL—would have had a good enough bullpen to capture a World Championship.

Part of me thinks that Friedman was using a bit of reverse psychology in the sense that he was defending his philosophy of mostly building his bullpens from within the system. After all, fans were pleading over the summer of a few big names—Craig Kimbrel comes to mind immediately—but look what happened to him. The Braves swiped up almost every reliever who had a reputable pedigree, and it didn’t get them very far at all.

Consequently, maybe Friedman was preparing fans for what’s to come over the winter in terms of possible upgrades. By saying his 2019 relief crew was good enough to go the whole way, perhaps he was inferring that he’s confident sticking with the same crew heading into 2020.

He did confirm that Jansen, the same Kenley who had eight blown saves by himself, will conceivably begin next season as the squad’s primary closer.

Nevertheless, one can’t help but take a gander at this winter’s free agent market. Some of the big names who jump out are Will Smith (the pitcher, obviously), Will Harris, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, should he decide to opt out of his contract. Almost every fan and their brother had the lefty Smith linked to the Dodgers at last summer’s trade deadline in some shape or form.

Will the Dodgers use some of the money that’s coming off the books to buy one of these heralded arms? Probably not, especially after Friedman invested millions in Kelly only to produce an extremely disappointing campaign.

The reality of all this is that while fans were hoping for some type of change at the top of the organization this winter, they might not even see much changes to the existing roster, much less the bullpen itself.

Perhaps the plan is not to spend the extra $25+ million at all, giving it back to investors while showing the baseball world how a team that is $50 million under the Luxury Tax Threshold can be perennial division winners.

Seemingly, that makes ownership quite happy.

 

Dodgers Looking to Hire Statistical Analysts, Apparently

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(Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

What better way is there to start an offseason than placing an online ad for a quantitative analyst position with hopes of bolstering your organization’s research  and development department?

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David Freese Announces Retirement

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Orlando Ramirez—USA TODAY Sports

Just like most of the baseball world anticipated, infielder David Freese announced his retirement on Saturday after a very impressive 11-year big league career.

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On Fan Psychology, Management, Relief Pitching and Slumps

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(Getty Images photo)

Nearly a full day after contemplation, so many thoughts and insights still exist over the Dodgers‘ loss to the Nationals that there’s plenty of varied perception, at least on my own end.

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Preview: Dodgers, Nationals Meet in Decisive Game 5

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(Tony Avelar/Washington Post)

From a Dodgers perspective, not many people envisioned the 2019 NLDS lasting the full five games. Fans were certainly hoping Los Angeles would wrap up the series in Washington with a bit of leeway, rather than force a Game 5 where absolutely anything can happen.

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More Thoughts Ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 Decider

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(Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2019 Dodgers, the team that broke the all-time franchise record for most wins during a regular season, find themselves in a do-or-die situation as they prepare for the Game 5 NLDS decider against the Nationals on Wednesday.

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Nationals Handle Dodgers in Game 4, Force Game 5 in Los Angeles

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To say that Washington came through in a mandatory, must-win Game 4 would be an understatement.

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Preview: Rich Hill, Max Scherzer Square Off in NLDS Game 4

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(USA TODAY Sports Photo)

One day after the Dodgers used a late-inning, nine-run explosion to defeat the Nationals in Game 3, they find themselves in a position to clinch the series in Game 4 on Monday.

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Preview: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers Face Anibal Sanchez in NLDS Game 3

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As the 2019 NLDS shifted gears to the nation’s capital, the biggest question mark was which pitcher the Nationals would start against the Dodgers in Game 3.

Continue reading “Preview: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers Face Anibal Sanchez in NLDS Game 3”