Davey Lopes, right, was the Dodgers’ first base coach from 2011-15. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)
became the first member of the Dodgers’ 2015 coaching staff to defect on Thursday. He’ll be the Washington Nationals’ first base coach under new manager Dusty Baker
, ending his (latest) stint with the Dodgers that began in 2011.
Lopes, 70, brought a unique voice to the coaching staff. He was the oldest uniformed coach in baseball last season and was an instrumental baserunning mentor when the Dodgers had speed to spare. His prized pupil was Dee Gordon, who stole an MLB-leading 64 bases (in 83 attempts, a 77 percent success rate) in his final season as a Dodger in 2014. In 2015 with the Marlins, Gordon stole 58 bases in 78 attempts, a 74 percent success rate.
The Dodgers did not have speed to spare last season. Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, maybe their two fastest baserunners, spent much of the season on the disabled list. Puig’s explosiveness was sapped by multiple hamstring injuries. Acquiring Chase Utley and Jose Peraza helped, but the Dodgers still finished the regular season with 59 steals as a team — one more than Gordon — and a paltry 63 percent success rate.
The Nationals only stole 57 bases last year, so Lopes will have his work cut out for him again. He was the first base coach in Washington in 2006 under Frank Robinson.
Lopes played for the Dodgers from the time he was drafted in 1968 until 1981.
Some more notes from the morning:
Brandon Beachy held the Milwaukee Brewers to three runs in four innings Saturday. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)
It would be really, really easy to congratulate Brandon Beachy for simply making it back to pitch in a major-league game Saturday, but he wasn’t in the mood after the Dodgers lost 7-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The photo gallery is here. The box score is here.
Before the game, Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes cringed to learn about the head-first slide that knocked Dee Gordon out of the All-Star Game.
Ten items of baseball memorabilia belonging to Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes are being auctioned online, including his 1981 World Series Trophy and 1978 Gold Glove Award.
The auction period ends Saturday. The items can be found here.
Lopes played for the Dodgers from 1972-81. As a coach and manager, he’s made stops in Texas, Baltimore, San Diego, Milwaukee, Washington and Philadelphia before returning to the Dodgers in 2011.
Davey Lopes (Getty Images)
Davey Lopes was one of the names you’ve probably heard of who was signed by scout John Keenan. Bill Russell, Don Sutton and Mitch Webster are among the others.
Now the Dodgers’ first-base coach, Lopes was drafted by the Dodgers in January 1968 — there was a January draft then — out of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Kansas was Keenan’s territory.
“He was very quiet, personable, well respected at his job,” Lopes recalled. “His grandfather was a scout, Burt Wells. They were highly thought of in the game for quite a while.
“He was good at what he did. He got a couple really good players.”
Batting coach Dave Hansen is the only member of the Dodgers’ coaching staff who will not return to his current position in 2013, the team announced Friday. The 43-year-old has been offered another position within the organization.
Hansen was named interim hitting coach in July 2011 after Jeff Pentland was fired at midseason, and had the ‘interim’ tag removed prior to the 2012 season.
As a team, the Dodgers ranked near the bottom of the 16-team National League in many key categories — runs (13th), slugging percentage (15th), home runs (15th). They ranked first in sacrifice hits, with 82, but that was often attributed to their inability to advance runners with base hits.
The returning coaches include pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, first base coach Davey Lopes, third base coach Tim Wallach, bench coach Trey Hillman, bullpen coach Ken Howell, catching coach Steve Yeager, bullpen catcher Rob Flippo, as well as Manny Mota and Mickey Hatcher. Wallach is a candidate for the Boston Red Sox manager’s job. If hired, he would leave the Dodgers with two coaching vacancies to fill this winter.
Hatcher, 57, was the Angels’ hitting coach from 2000 until he was fired in May. He joined the Dodgers as a special assistant to the general manager but quickly became an in-uniform coach.