Don Mattingly and L.A. Dodgers Continue to Explore Coaching Staff Options
Normally when a new manager is hired in Major League Baseball, his first task is to assemble his own coaching staff, but in the case of Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers, things may be a bit more complicated than they look.
Seemingly, the market for potential coaches around the league is excellent, but problems may lie in trying to convince possible candidates to come to Los Angeles and join a franchise in heavy turmoil. This could very well be the primary reason that General Manager Ned Colletti has gotten involved in the hiring process and not allow Mattingly to put together the staff on his own.
It was reported on Saturday that Tim Wallach has signed a deal to become part of the coaching crew in 2011, so long as he doesn't accept a managerial position with any other team.
Although it sounds like good news for Dodgers fans, the number of Major League clubs seeking managers will be very high, and Wallach has stated previously that managing is his highest ambition.
Still, it was speculated that Wallach was a leading candidate to fill the Toronto Blue Jays' managing vacancy, yet several sources revealed last Saturday that Wallach turned down an interview for the job.
Many people guessed that Wallach could possibly fill the batting coach position vacated by Mattingly, but Dodgers officials confirmed that if Wallach indeed becomes part of the staff, he will assume the role of either bench coach or third base coach. Wallach held the post of batting coach previously for Los Angeles during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
If Los Angeles is forced to primarily promote from within the organization, it's assumed that current hitting instructor Jeff Pentland may be a sure bet to become the next Dodgers batting coach.
It has also been mentioned that Los Angeles may be pursuing Willie Randolph to become bench coach. Randolph, a former teammate of Mattingly's with the New York Yankees, is the current bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Larry Bowa, the current Dodgers third base coach, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for bench coach. Bob Schaefer, who was the Dodgers bench coach in 2009, has already declined to return next season.
According to additional reports, current first base coach Mariano Duncan has been told to pursue other interests, although there may be a spot available for him coaching in the Dodgers' farm system if he so inclines to explore that avenue.
Rick Honeycutt, who has been the Los Angeles pitching coach since 2006, was reportedly offered a contract to return, however Honeycutt has yet to accept or decline the offer.
Baseball critics everywhere continue to say that the Dodgers need to be very aggressive in both the free-agent and trade markets this winter in order to be contenders in 2011, yet at this stage assembling a coaching staff seems to have its own difficulties.
Depending on the outcome of the McCourt divorce trial and the availability of cash, it may be difficult to convince a big market free-agent to sign a deal with Los Angeles, much less a high profile coach.
For the Dodger faithful, there's probably no reason to panic just yet; nevertheless, everyone involved with the organization should hope to have something definite in place before Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings begin on December 6.
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