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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Who Will Manage The Dodgers In 2011?

I posted this over at Memories Of Kevin Malone, and decided to post it here as well. Chad's follow-up to my post can be found here.


Jon Heyman of SI gives his list of potential managerial candidates for the Dodgers in 2011.
The original plan was to let Torre manage one more year, and then turn the job over to batting coach Don Mattingly. Torre was given a contractual offer in spring training, but he's been deciding ever since whether he wants to stay. Most believe he will not.
This is what we all assumed would happen, but with Mattingly's mistakes in games he's managed this year - one in Spring Training, the other the infamous "double mound visit" - perhaps his stock has fallen, or the Dodgers simply don't want to pick from the Torre family coaching tree.

Mattingly, while the heir apparent for the last few years, has learned directly under Torre, and looking at Torre's numerous bad decisions, his bullpen mismanagement, his poor lineup formations, his favoring of veterans over younger, better, more upside-laden players, it's a fair question to ask whether the apple has fallen far from the tree.

So who manages the Dodgers in the event they don't choose Mattingly, who hasn't exactly succeeded in his current role as Dodger hitting coach? While it's easy and somewhat true to say anyone would be better than Joe Torre, the decision should hinge on who gives the Dodgers the most sound-minded, level-headed man to lead this group. Heyman gives us two names to consider, one of whom many, including myself, have been pushing for all season long.
[Tim] Wallach may get the surprise call. He is well-respected as the Triple-A Albuquerque manager, and just as important for the cost-conscious Dodgers, presumably not too expensive, considering he's already in the organization and only got the Triple-A job a year ago.
Wallach was the Dodgers' hitting coach back in 2004 and 2005, and is very familiar with the organization, having played for it, coached in it, and with numerous sons having played in the minor league system at some point. He's cheaper than Mattingly and is the fast-rising candidate, gaining steam as Torre's decision and the end of the season draws nearer.

But then Heyman springs another name on us, one Dodgers' fans and doctors are all too familiar with.
There are unsubstantiated whispers that [Dusty] Baker, who has delayed taking a Reds extension after a big year, could wind up in L.A.. The ex-Dodger is a hot name right now and could take pressure off McCourt to sign big-name players at a time when he's spending so much on legal fees. Baker has said that he isn't interested in talking about the Dodgers job, but that only makes sense in that Torre's still there and Baker needs to be focused on the Reds' possible division title run. He hasn't rushed to re-sign with the Reds, though that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
The Reds are having a very good season, and many of Dusty's teams have had success, with the Giants reaching the World Series in 2002. I don't attribute much of this winning, both past and present, to Baker though, but that's a factor I'm sure Ned Colletti and Frank McCourt will find appealing, as they did with Torre. Dusty's long been criticized for ruining young arms by overworking them, and that should be enough reason to disqualify him from consideration for the Dodgers' opening after this season.

Let's quickly run down the reasons why Baker wouldn't be a fit with his former team:
  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Chad Billingsley
  3. Chris Withrow
  4. Zach Lee
  5. Allen Webster
  6. every other young pitcher in the organization
With the youth of the Dodgers' top two starters, and the dearth of reinforcements waiting in the system, there's no reason to bring in a man who has historically not handled pitchers of all ages well, especially young pitchers. The Dodgers have built their team around pitching for the longest time, and with tremendous talent currently on hand, Dusty Baker is the wrong man for the job.

When you factor in that Wallach would be cheaper, is already familiar with the players on the team, and was a good hitting coach during his tenure with the club, as the 2004 team sported five regulars with OBPs over .350 and three bench players with OBPs of at least .340, the choice is a clear and easy one.

Tim Wallach, the man Baseball America named the best managerial candidate in the PCL, should be the next manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Manage in the big leagues -- that is now a goal," he said. "I feel like I know what I want to do. I feel like I can. It was a great experience and you never know until you do it. You don't realize how quick things happen and you can get caught off guard. It's how prepared you are. I made mistakes early in the year and I learned from them. You have to be thinking ahead of the game. You can't be even with it."


  1. Agreed. It would be a huge mistake to let Don Mattingly take over.

  2. And yet, it will probably happen and we lose Wallach.


    I at least hope they give Wallach a fair and legitimate shot.

  3. How about Bobby Valentine?

    And the excuse about Baker is ridiculous. Ruining arms? The reason the Dodgers are losing is because Torre wont let the young arms throw past the sixth and seventh innings.

    My candidates...

    1. Valentine
    2. Baker
    3. Lasorda
    4. The Ghost of Walter Alston

  4. Again, as long as it's not handed to Mattingly, at least part of me will be happy. A real competition for the job is what is needed.

    My vote still goes to Wallach though.

    And Kershaw has averaged 6.3 innings this year, and has gone 6 innings or more in 22 of 28 starts. He's 22 years old, I don't want his arm overworked in the slightest. Especially with the team likely to not make the playoffs. 7 innings or more in 12 starts also.

    Billingsley has averaged 6.15 innings, and has gone 6 innings or more in 18 of 26 starts. 7 innings or more in 7 starts.

    And the Dodgers are losing because of a multitude of reasons I would put higher than the staff not throwing a complete game every game. Injuries, inconsistency, a pitiful offense.