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: