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:
Kirk Gibson will reportedly interview for the Dodgers’ managerial vacancy. (Getty Images)
Kirk Gibson could have done practically anything with his life after October 15, 1988, and none of it would change how Dodger fans remember him first and foremost. Gibson’s home run off Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series is number one on many lists in these parts.
Ranked somewhere far behind that in Gibson’s L.A. story: he will be counted among those who interviewed to replace Don Mattingly as the Dodgers’ manager, according to multiple reports Wednesday. The Dodgers have also received permission from the New York Mets to interview bench coach Bob Geren.
Dusty Baker (right) is the front-runner to be the Washington Nationals’ next manager after negotiations ended with Bud Black (left), according to multiple reports Monday. (Associated Press photo)
A surprising bit of news leaked out of our nation’s capital today: Bud Black
will not manage the Washington Nationals.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo offered Black the managerial job last Wednesday, which he accepted, but when they entered contract negotiations, they never came close to reaching a deal.
The Nationals, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, originally offered Black a one-year deal for $1.6 million, and refused to guarantee more than two years. Black informed the Nationals’ ownership several days ago that he couldn’t accept a deal, which is considerably lower than he anticipated.
By contrast, Don Mattingly, who has less experience, just received a four-year deal for about $10 million from the Miami Marlins.
Both USA Today and CBSsports.com are reporting that Dusty Baker is now the front-runner to manage the Nationals.
Baker earned $4 million in the final year of his contract when he was fired in 2013 by the Cincinnati Reds, according to USA Today, and $3.5 million according to CBS. He was not among the front-runners to manage the Dodgers.
Black, who managed under Dodgers executive Josh Byrnes in San Diego, is a candidate to at least get an interview this month.
Some more tidbits:
At his introductory press conference in Miami on Monday, former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he didn’t want to go into detail about who will comprise his coaching staff.
In the next breath, he said “I think Tim Wallach‘s going to come with me to be the bench coach.”
Bud Black and Don Mattingly might be managing in the same division again when the 2016 season starts. Just don’t expect either the Washington Nationals or Miami Marlins to make this official before the World Series is over.
Black will become the Nationals’ next manager, according to the Washington Post, while Mattingly and the Marlins have reached agreement on a four-year deal.
Meanwhile, the Padres are reportedly set to hire Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green to be their manager.
Mattingly reportedly interviewed for the Marlins’ job on Monday, though he had been linked to the job in reports since early September. At the time, the Dodgers were in the middle of a critical series against the San Francisco Giants, and there wasn’t much Mattingly could say.
“I’m not worried about anything as far as that goes,” he said. “I’m happy here. I feel like I’m a Dodger.”
That changed last Thursday, when Mattingly and the Dodgers mutually agreed to forego the final year of his contract. It is unknown how much of Mattingly’s 2016 salary, if any, will be paid by the Dodgers.
Once the three hires are announced, the Dodgers will be the only MLB team without a manager.