The Dodgers announced their 2013 coaching staff Tuesday. Aside from the previous announcement of Mark McGwire as hitting coach, the coaching staff contains a couple new additions.
Both the hitting coach and pitching coach duties will be split. John Valentin will assist McGwire while Ken Howell, the Dodgers’ bullpen coach from 2008-12, will assist pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. Chuck Crim takes over as the bullpen coach after two seasons as the pitching coach at Double-A Chattanooga.
Otherwise Don Mattingly’s staff looks the same: Davey Lopes (first base), Tim Wallach (third base), Trey Hillman (bench), Manny Mota (coach) and Steve Yeager (coach).
A couple thoughts:
• Howell’s transition to assistant pitching coach already seemed to be taking place last season when he and Honeycutt worked together to correct Brandon League’s mechanics. The result? League finished the season with a 0.40 earned-run average and six saves in six opportunities over the season’s final 21 games.
• Whenever I asked Nathan Eovaldi why the Dodgers always sent him back to Double-A Chattanooga rather than Triple-A Albuquerque, his answer was the same: Chuck Crim. Now property of the Marlins, Eovaldi’s major-league stats aren’t terribly impressive (so I guess you can take that as a back-handed compliment toward Crim). But overall Crim’s staff at Chattanooga posted a Southern League-best 3.66 ERA in 2011 and was second best in 2012 (3.57). He’s a local guy, a native of Van Nuys and the head baseball coach at Canyon High School in Santa Clarita from 2003-05.
• Wallach is out of the running for the managerial job in Toronto, after earlier losing out on the Boston Red Sox job that went to Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Colletti said that Wallach isn’t the only coach on staff who other teams called to ask about. He didn’t say who, but former big-league managers Hillman (in Kansas City) and Lopes (in Milwaukee) seem like logical guesses.
• Valentin will enter his sixth season in the Dodger organization and first as assistant hitting coach. The 45-year-old was the hitting coach at Triple-A Albuquerque (2011-12), Double-A Chattanooga (2010) and the manager for Chattanooga (2009) and Single-A Inland Empire (2008). Valentin is a veteran of 11 Major League seasons, primarily with the Boston Red Sox, winning the Silver Slugger Award at shortstop in 1995. The New York native finished his career with a .279 career batting average in 1,105 big league contests. Colletti said last week “he’s a real good hitter; has a great feel for hitting.”
• At the GM meetings, Colletti explained his theory as to why his team (among several) are employing a secondary hitting coach: “I think there’s so much scouting out now, so much video, so much work that needs to be done in between games. Think about it, you’ve got 13 position players of which all could play any given day. You need to adjust every giving day. You’ve got a pitching coach and a bullpen coach. You’ve got 12 there. It just makes sense that the manpower, the numbers work that way, as far as how much teaching you have to do. Then the scouting is deeper, the video is deeper. There’s so much more information that you need more than one person to really do it.”