Aside from losing assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers to the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman anticipates the coaching staff to remain intact for the 2018 season. That includes pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, despite previous reports.
“We fully expect everyone to be back, including Honey,” Friedman said Tuesday during a press conference at Dodger Stadium. “He was really energetic through the year and in talking to him during the World Series.
“Honey’s obviously been big part of our past success, and we look forward to him being a big part of our success in 2018. From all of our standpoints, we have some unfinished business.”
Honeycutt’s two-year contract expired at the conclusion of this season, and it was followed by indications he would not return to the Dodgers as pitching coach. When Honeycutt inked his previous contract, it was reported he would transition to a role as an advisor once his deal was up.
Should Honeycutt return in the same capacity, it would mark a 13th season with the Dodgers as pitching coach. He’s been the lone holdover from the managerial tenures of Grady Little, Joe Torre, Don Mattingly and now Dave Roberts.
Honeycutt trails only Chicago White Sox’s Don Cooper and Darren Balsley of the San Diego Padres for standing as the longest-tenured pitching coach. Dave Righetti (18 seasons) held the title, but was reassigned by the San Francisco Giants last month. Next season will be Cooper’s 17th, while Balsley is entering his 16th.
Honeycutt’s impact on the pitching staff is immeasurable, particularly for Clayton Kershaw who has regularly raved about the only pitching coach he’s known in his career.
During Honeycutt’s 12-year tenure, the Dodgers have sported the best cumulative ERA in the Majors. This season, they led the National League with a 3.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .228 opponents’ batting average, and 1,549 strikeouts, which also set a franchise record.