In spite of the 2019 World Series continuing to take center stage for the next 24-48 hours, the Dodgers have still found a way to weasel themselves into the news, at least to a small degree.
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.
The Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon announced their big league coaches for the 2019 season, with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt (14th season), bench coach Bob Geren (fourth season), first base coach George Lombard (fourth season), bullpen coach Mark Prior (second season) and assistant hitting coach Brant Brown (second season) all returning with Dino Ebel joining the field staff as the third base coach, Robert Van Scoyoc as hitting coach, Aaron Bates as assistant hitting coach and Chris Gimenez as the game planning coach.
There’s another new coach I don’t know much about in the Dodgers‘ dugout. Bob Geren will be joining rookie manager Dave Roberts as bench coach. Geren is filling the role left by Tim Wallach, who followed Don Mattingly to Miami.
Geren is a former catcher who spent 10 years in the minor leagues before making his debut with the New York 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 Class A levels, before joining the Oakland A’s 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. On November 27, 2006 he ascended to manager in Oakland, where he guided the A’s to their 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 voiced their displeasure. Former A’s reliever Huston Street called him the “least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.” He was fired on June 9, 2011.
On October 14, 2011 he was hired to be the bench coach for the New York Mets. Geren would go on to spend four years in New York, which included a run to the World Series last season. In December, he was hired by the Dodgers to be bench coach, after having interviewed for the managerial position in early November. Geren and his wife are from California, and have stated that the favorable location had weighed a lot in his decision to come to Los Angeles.
Geren has many good things to say about manager Dave Roberts. In an interview with Robert Pace of Fox Sports, Geren said, “His (Roberts) enthusiasm is infectious, his personality is off the charts. He’s a great pick, just a great choice.”
Geren also feels that he can be a good teacher for the younger Roberts, and that they can lean on and learn from each other.
Hearing that he’s been called the “least favorite person” that someone has met in sports in concerning for sure, but his years of experience and his willingness to be open to the ideas of the front office should provide a good sounding board for Dave Roberts as they strive to take the Dodgers deep into the postseason.
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.