The Dodgers announced their coaching lineup for the 2013 season today. There wasn’t many huge changes other than a couple of promotions and the addition of Mark McGuire as the new hitting coach.
Don Mattingly will be returning for his third season at the helm for the Dodgers. In his two seasons as Manager, he has a 168-155 record with
a .520 W-L%.Chuck Crim has been promoted to bullpen coach in this his seventh season in the Dodgers organization. He was an amateur scout for the Dodgers from 2007-2008, the pitching coach for the Rookie-Advanced Ogden Raptors in 2009, pitching coach for the Single-A Great Lakes Loons in 2010, and the pitching coach for the AA-Chattanooga Lookouts from 2011-2012. Crim, who deservedly has worked up through the ranks of the Dodger organization is a native of Southern California and is from Van Nuys. He also was the head baseball coach at Canyon High School in Santa Clarita, California from 2003-2005. He will be replacing Ken Howell, who was promoted from the bullpen coach role.
Trey Hillman will be returning for his third season as bench coach. Hillman also has extensive managing experience including three years with the Kansas City Royals, five seasons in Japan, and 12 years managing in the minors. If you remember, Hillman filled in admirably when Don Mattingly was suspended for a couple of games this past season.
Rick Honeycutt will be returning for his eighth season as the Dodgers’ pitching coach. He is the longest-tenured coach on the Dodger staff. Honeycutt has helped shape a formidable Dodger pitching staff over his eight consecutive seasons with the ball club. The Dodger pitchers have posted a Major League Baseball best 3.77 ERA, second in strikeouts with 8,544, and second in opponents’ batting average with .248.
Davey Lopes will enter his third season as the Dodgers’ first base coach. Although the Dodgers made strides in base running in 2011, this past season saw a setback in the base running department. I’m not sure how many of the costly TOOTBLANS and base running mistakes were partly Lopes’ fault or perhaps because Matt Kemp‘s injuries prevented him from running as much, yet the Dodgers need to try to go back to 2011 form. Regardless, former Dodger Davey Lopes will be holding his signature stopwatch at first base once again for the Dodgers next season.
Mark McGwireis the only new addition to the coaching staff from outside of the organization. Dave
Hansen was let go earlier this offseason, and he has since been hired as hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners. Big Mac was a very successful hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals for the past three seasons. During his time with the Red Birds, they led the NL in batting average (.269), on-base percentage (.337) and batting average with runners in scoring position (.274), ranked second in runs (2,263), fourth in slugging percentage (.416) and third in OPS (.753). Wow, not too shabby! The Cards also won a World Series crown in 2011. McGwire hit 583 homeruns in his 16-year career which is the 10th most in MLB history. I can’t wait to see what McGwire can do with the Dodger hitters. He has already spoke of the psychological aspects of hitting, and he plans to evaluate the players to see where they stand.
Tim Wallach will return for this third season as third base coach. Wallach was looking and interviewing for manager jobs this offseason, but he failed to land one just yet. He previously was a very successful manager for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes for four seasons. The former Dodger understandably would like to manage in the big league level one day. Many thought he deserved a chance to manage the Dodgers after Joe Torre retired.
Ken Howell was promoted from bullpen coach to assistant pitching coach. He was the bullpen coach from 2008-2012. During that time, the Dodger relievers had a 3.49 ERA which was third-best in the league. The former Dodger pitcher will now assist both Honeycutt and Crim as well as working with the minor league pitching staffs and with pitchers who are on rehab assignments throughout the season.
John Valentin was promoted to the position of assistant hitting coach. From 2011-2012, Valentin was the hitting coach for the Isotopes.
He previously was the hitting coach for AA-Chattanooga in 2010, the manager for the Lookouts in 2009, and the manager of Single-A Inland Empire in 2008.
Manny Mota will return for his 34th season as a Dodger coach and his 44th year in the organization.
Steve Yeager will return for his second year as a catching coach for the Dodgers. He will be helping to instruct the minor league catchers throughout the season as well.
With such a strong coaching staff, especially with the addition of Mark McGwire, the Dodger coaches will have the totality of Spring Training to work with this roster. It was thought that the large turnover of players during the last half of the season didn’t allow for the team to gel enough to be a cohesive team unit. Now we will see if this instructional staff can mold this star-studded team into a championship caliber squad.