Dodgers elect to retain esteemed coaching staff for 2017 season.
In a press conference alongside President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, Manager Dave Roberts announced that the entire coaching staff will return next season. The staff which includes Roberts, Pitching Coach Rick Honeycutt, Bench Coach Bob Geren and Hitting Coach Turner Ward, was instrumental in handling a roster in flux for much of the year, one which saw a record number of days lost to the DL.
The move hardly comes as a surprise as Roberts is a favorite to win NL Manager of the Year, while Honeycutt proved once again to be one of the league’s top pitching coaches. The rest of the staff was similarly instrumental in the Dodgers reaching game 6 of the NLCS. With a young core, continuity in the coaching staff and their message will be instrumental in the continued development of the younger players.
In an off-season which brings with it some uncertainty with four potential big free agents, this is the first step towards retooling the reigning NL West champs for a run in 2017.
Other notes from the press conference included some insight into the future of the roster. Justin Turner is a free agent, but we can eliminate one replacement if he isn’t re-signed.
Many believed that due to his size, Corey Seager would eventually make the move to third. That’s still possible in the future, but it won’t happen next season.
Finally, there were some questions about Clayton Kershaw‘s health. He missed about two months with a back injury, and came back to pitch down the stretch and in the postseason. His final start of the postseason was rough, and some believed that it was injury-related.
Every player reportedly undergoes a physical after the season, and Kershaw’s will happen like normal. The front office doesn’t believe that there were any issues that caused his struggle, and they don’t think anything is going to pop up that suggests otherwise. Of course, there’s always a chance that the injury is lingering, but that won’t be known until the physical.
Friedman and Roberts answered a lot of questions, but didn’t answer too many about their potential free agents. It would have been irresponsible for them to touch on that, but it sounds like they’re going to pursue their free agents while maintaining backup plans.
Continuity is important, and that starts up top with the front office. The longer they remain in place and keep their coaching staff and players in place, the better the team will be for it.