Ichiro Suzuki was Kenta Maeda’s favorite player growing up; tomorrow they can face each other for the first time.
DENVER — The Dodgers are flying home tonight and Don Mattingly will be waiting for them. The Miami Marlins visit Dodger Stadium for a four-game series beginning Monday, Mattingly’s only visit to Los Angeles this year with his new club.
I asked some players to weigh in on the topic of Mattingly’s reception today. Now it’s your turn.
Whether you’re going to one of the games, or just imagining yourself in your favorite seat, how will you receive Mattingly?
Bundy was the Dodgers’ third base coach from the beginning of the 2013 season until August of this year, when Ron Roenicke took over and Bundy was shifted to outfield coordinator duties. After the season Bundy, 56, managed Navojoa of the Mexican League until he was fired in November. He was the Marlins’ bench coach in 1998, a team that was notable for briefly employing Mike Piazza and becoming the first defending World Series champion to finish last in its division.
Wallach, 58, was the Dodgers’ third base coach from 2011-13 and Mattingly’s bench coach the last two seasons. He interviewed for the manager’s job that ultimately went to Dave Roberts.
Mattingly had mentioned at his introductory press conference in Miami last month that he expected Wallach to join him.
He did not mention Barry Bonds, who will steal the headlines nationally for being named the Marlins’ hitting coach.
"Don Mattingly is the one who sealed the deal," Bonds said. "I wanted to make sure it was something Donnie wanted." #Marlins
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) December 4, 2015
Roberts was the San Diego Padres’ first base coach from 2011-13 and their bench coach the last two seasons. He has never managed at any level.
As an outfielder, Roberts starred at UCLA before playing 10 major league seasons for five different teams from 1999-2008. He broke through as an everyday player after being traded to the Dodgers prior to the 2002 season, then was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July 2004. His stolen base in Game 4 of that year’s American League Championship Series lifted the Red Sox to victory and keyed their comeback in the series.
Roberts, whose father is African-American and mother is Japanese, would become the first minority manager in Dodgers history. The team has yet to make an official announcement, and Roberts isn’t expected to be introduced Monday. According to several reports Sunday, his contract has yet to be finalized.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is in Boca Raton, Florida for baseball’s annual GM meetings. So is Dave Martinez, who’s there to interview for the Dodgers’ managerial vacancy, per a source.
Friedman didn’t say anything specific about the search process in a conference call with reporters Monday, other than to say it’s ongoing and should be done by the Winter Meetings.
If the market is slow to develop, the Dodgers’ roster might still have an incomplete look by then. Currently there are 36 players on the 40-man roster.
“We’ll be looking for a manager who can adapt to different personnel,” Friedman said, “and someone who can appreciate the strengths of the guys on our roster at any given time and put them in the best position to succeed.”
The Winter Meetings will be held Dec. 7-10 in Nashville, Tennessee.