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Just one day after the introductory press conference of new manager Dave Roberts, the Dodgers front office began filling several positions within their mostly-vacant coaching staff.
According to multiple reports, Bob Geren has been named bench coach and Turner Ward has been hired as hitting coach.
Geren, who was interviewed for the Dodgers’ managerial position last month, spent the last three seasons as the bench coach of the New York Mets. He has extensive experience as a field manager, having managed in the minor leagues for both the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.
After a stint as the A’s bench coach, Geren was promoted to manager in 2006. He was eventually fired in June of 2011, having had numerous, publicized disagreements with a few of his players and being openly criticized for his poor communication skills.
Despite the rocky past in Oakland, he is still widely regarded among his coaching peers as having excellent technical and fundamental knowledge, and a tremendous understanding of sabermetric principles.
Turner Ward’s MLB career spanned 11 years with 6 different teams. He was primarily a utility-type outfielder and designated hitter.
Ward 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 last season. He is widely known for his involvement in the massive brawl between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers on June 11, 2013.
While still not official, it is believed that Rick Honeycutt will return as pitching coach, and will be the lone survivor from the 2015 staff. Details of his contract are unclear, but it appears Honeycutt will return for two more seasons before being introduced to an executive role. He has been the Dodgers pitching coach since 2006.
Among all the primary coaching positions, the bullpen, first base and third base coaching spots still remain vacant. In the past, the Dodgers believed in promoting from within, but it’s highly unlikely this year after the front office did a thorough house cleaning of the farm at season’s end. The Dodgers did not retain OKC manager Damon Berryhill, hitting coach Franklin Stubbs or pitching coach Scott Radinsky following a season in which Oklahoma City posted the best record in the Pacific Coast League.
That being said, it appears that Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Josh Byrnes appear insistent on choosing a brand new staff tailor made to their own technical philosophies and fundamental principles.
It was insinuated by several sources that Gabe Kapler was being considered for a coaching spot at the big-league level, but many believe that his strong performance as farm director would leave a very difficult spot to fill with his departure from that role.
The Dodgers hope to have the remainder of the major league coaching vacancies filled by week’s end.