The hot stove will heat up when free agency officially begins tomorrow night, but the Dodgers have had a busy offseason on the coaching market. The whole coaching staff is up in the air after former manager Don Mattingly left for Miami, and their first casualty was announced this morning.
The Washington Nationals announced that Davey Lopes will join his former teammate Dusty Baker on their coaching staff next year. Lopes and Baker played together for the Dodgers for five years and won a World Series in their final year as teammates, 1981.
Lopes has been on a coaching staff in some capacity in every year since his retirement in 1987. He’s served as a first base coach for the Orioles, Padres (2x), Nationals, Phillies and Dodgers, and served as the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager for just short of three seasons. Lopes became the Dodger first base coach in 2011 and the Dodgers stole 505 bases in 697 attempts (72 percent success rate).
The Dodgers don’t really have any coaches locked in for next year. All of their contracts had expired and with Mattingly’s departure, they were given permission to seek coaching jobs elsewhere. Reports indicate that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt will remain in his role for two years and then transition into a special assistant role. Bench coach Tim Wallach and third base coach Ron Roenicke will each likely get interviews for the managerial opening, and hitting coach Mark McGwire is very much up in the air.
The Dodgers also formally announced that J.P. Howell exercised his player option and will be back in the bullpen next year. For a team with bullpen issues over the last two years, getting him back is huge.
Jun 8, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher J.P. Howell (56) tosses the ball to first for an out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Every year, Fangraphs predicts where top free agents will land. Dave Cameron predicted that the Dodgers would get four of their top 50 free agents. Zack Greinke (five years/$160) and Brett Anderson (two years/$28 million) would each remain in Dodger blue, while utility men Ben Zobrist (four years/$76 million) and Steve Pearce (one year/$8 million) are the two main newcomers in free agency. Cameron also says “they’ll probably make five or six trades for the fun of it”.
If Cameron’s predictions hold true, Howie Kendrick will head back to the AL (three years/$48 million with the White Sox) and Chase Utley will serve his sliding suspension in Oakland (one year, $8 million).