Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Coaching

Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Three: The Post-Koufax Generation

As we move forward in previewing the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), we leave behind “The Two Emperors” and find out in Part Three how the Dodgers transitioned on the mound from the 1960s to the 1970s without Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

Three men who were teammates of the Hall of Fame duo — along with one extraordinary pitching coach — paved the way.

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Video: Bench coach Bob Geren rides his bike to work

[mlbvideo id=”714538883″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Dodger bench coach Bob Geren rides his bike from Pasadena to Dodger Stadium (and then in Dodger Stadium) before almost every home game. SportsNet LA has a fun time telling the story in the video above.

It’s also a good reminder that, if you can handle the final uphill climb, cycling is one of the alternate means of transportation to the ballpark.

— Jon Weisman

Steve Cilladi earned every bit of his big-league dream

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Steve Cilladi (82) during Spring Training in 2015 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Steve Cilladi’s lifetime professional statistics read like the baseball version of Oliver Twist.

Forty games. Seventeen hits. Two homers, one triple, no doubles. Six walks, three times hit by pitch. Thirty-five strikeouts.

That’s what the ledger shows for five seasons. Please, sir. I want some more.

But Cilladi is no unfortunate, and he would rebel at the very thought of it. He is a man of means, ambition and perspective — Dodger bullpen catcher today, who knows what tomorrow?

“To me, negativity is an absolute distraction,” Cilladi said. “The time that’s used to complain or mope or whatever else, can be time better utilized for the person next to you or for you, and I really take that to heart. Why am I going to complain? If I have a negative thought in my head, I’m going to turn that into something that can either be productive for myself or that’s going to help the person next to me, and I think that’s something we need more of.”

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Dave Roberts talks bullpen management, state of the staff

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visits Carlos Frias at the mound during a May 24 game. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visits Carlos Frias at the mound during a May 24 game. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

As a rookie manager who neither pitched nor caught in his big-league career, Dave Roberts will be scrutinized for every move he makes with the Dodger pitching staff. (I know — I could have just begun, “As a manager.”)

Today, Roberts spoke about his approach will be, and how he will use pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bench coach Bob Geren as resources.

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So, Dave Roberts, what’s a quality assurance coach?

Image via Parks Moving, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Image via Parks Moving, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Not only are there new names in the Dodger coaching staff, there’s a new title — one that might seem kind of out there.

But “quality assurance coach,” the role to be filled by former Dodger infielder and minor-league infield coordinator Juan Castro, is actually a very down-to-earth role, according to Dodger manager Dave Roberts.

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Dodgers name coaches for 2016

Juan Castro making a play on July 9, 2009 at Citi Field. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Juan Castro makes a play next to a sliding Alex Cora on July 9, 2009 at Citi Field. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

We’ve got the names of next year’s Dodger coaches, and all but two will be new to their positions in Los Angeles.

Joining pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and catching instructor Steve Yeager with the Dodgers will be Bob Geren as bench coach, Turner Ward as hitting coach, George Lombard as first-base coach, Chris Woodward as third base coach, Josh Bard as bullpen coach, Tim Hyers as assistant hitting coach and good ol’ Juan Castro — who started the Dodgers’ first triple play in Los Angeles on June 15, 1996 — in the newly created position of quality assurance coach.

Here’s more on everyone joining the staff, from the Dodgers’ public relations department:

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Bear and grin it: The line between too much and too little encouragement


By Jon Weisman

How far should you go to light a fire under someone?

After seeing the Oscar-nominated movie “Whiplash” last winter, with its internal debate between tough love and abuse, I was curious what the reaction would be in the sports world. So earlier this season, I talked to Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis, Kiké Hernandez, J.P. Howell and Darwin Barney about it for the July issue of Dodger Insider magazine. Click each page below to enlarge.

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Dodgers hire Ron Roenicke as third-base coach, Lorenzo Bundy remains outfield coordinator

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

One-time Dodger outfielder and former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has joined the Dodgers as their third-base coach, with Lorenzo Bundy remaining in the dugout as outfield coordinator.

It’s a homecoming for Roenicke, who was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick (17th overall) in 1977. Roenicke played in 212 games for the Dodgers at the outset of a 527-game MLB career. He would later manage in the minors for the Dodgers in the 1990s, including a Texas League title with Double-A San Antonio in 1997.

As manager of the Brewers, Roenicke was 342-331 from 2011 through May 2015, winning the 2011 National League Central title.

Bundy is in his second year as a Dodger coach and eighth year in the organization, including three years as manager of Triple-A Albuquerque from 2011-13.

Dodgers announce 2015 minor-league coaching staff

Oklahoma City pitching coach Scott Radinsky

Oklahoma City pitching coach Scott Radinsky had a 2.65 ERA in three seasons with the Dodgers.

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers will return all six of their minor-league field managers in 2014, though two of them will be switching teams.

The 2014 minor-league managers are Damon Berryhill (Triple-A Oklahoma City), Razor Shines (Double-A Tulsa), P.J. Forbes (Single-A Rancho Cucamonga), Bill Haselman (Single-A Great Lakes), John Shoemaker (Rookie-advanced Ogden) and Jack McDowell (Rookie-level AZL Dodgers). Last year, Shoemaker managed the AZL Dodgers and McDowell at Ogden.

With promotions throughout the system, many Dodger prospects will work with their coaches from 2014. More on the coaching staffs follows …

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Davey Lopes, Dave Hansen enter the Dodger coaching discussion

Getty ImagesDavey Lopes, now and then …

Intrigue, suspense and a dose of whimsy continue to circle around the 2011 Dodger coaching staff vacancies. Some bullet points from Tony Jackson of

  • Former Dodger second-baseman great Davey Lopes will not return to the Philadelphia Phillies over a salary impasse and has mentioned that he’d be interested in working for a West Coast team.
  • Former Dodger pinch-hitting great Dave Hansen has interviewed for a secondary hitting instructor position in the organization. Hansen has been a minor-league hitting coordinator with Arizona since 2008.
  • Former major-leaguer Eric Owens has been hired as a roving minor-league hitting instructor, with Gene Clines – mentioned as a mentor in my recent profile of Dee Gordon – targeted for a role with the organization to be determined.
  • Triple-A hitting coach John Moses has been let go.

I mainly want to talk about Lopes, but Moses’ interview with Jackson deserves a look.

“They said it was because [Dodgers prospect] Xavier Paul didn’t improve in the outfield,” said Moses, who also had the responsibility of working with outfielders at the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate. “I was shocked, let’s put it that way. A lot of people were. I think the job I did spoke for itself, if you look at the things that happened offensively over the last three years. … But the way I look at it is, it’s their loss.”

I can’t say I see a lot of positives coming out of AAA, particularly in the outfield, for the Dodgers in the past three years. I don’t know the first thing about Moses’ abilities as a coach, whether he deserves praise or parting gifts for his work – I don’t know if he’s responsible – but I don’t know that he’s got a lot to hang his hat on.

As for Lopes, I like the idea of him coaching for the Dodgers, not just because of the homecoming, but because of the potential of improving the Dodger running game. As True Blue L.A., Phillies Nation and Baseball Musings have noted, the Phillies have been great on the bases under Lopes’ watch, and it’s probably not all a coincidence. This could be one of those seemingly rare cases where a player has been able to translate his on-field skills into coaching: Lopes had a career stolen base percentage of .830, seventh all-time, with Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies passing him this season.

But clearly, Lopes is looking for a nice payday – which of course the Dodgers might not be inclined to offer – and in addition, Jackson writes that “the Dodgers already had a list of candidates they were considering for the role, a source said, so it might be too late in the process for Lopes as far as the Dodgers are concerned.”

Lopes, who went 144-195 managing the Brewers from 2000-2002, has also coached for the Padres and Nationals. He is a prostate cancer survivor. Another former Dodger, Ron Roenicke, is poised to become the Brewers’ next manager.

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