UPDATE (Dec. 2, 11:15 a.m. PT): The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to add former Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach Turner Ward to Dave Roberts’ staff in the same role.
The same energy and passion that Dave Roberts wowed the Los Angeles Dodgers front office with during the interview process to find the club’s new manager was on full display at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
Now that the Dodgers have their field leader in place, Roberts needs to be surrounded by a coaching staff.
Team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated hires could be finalized by the end of the week, but didn’t offer many other specifics such as candidates being considered.
One thing that is for certain, Honeycutt isn’t far from the Dodgers’ minds. “Honeycutt is in the mix. I think the world of Honeycutt,” Roberts said.
However, the 43-year-old manager stopped short of stating with certainty that the pitching coach will be back next season. “There’s always a chance he might not be [part of the staff] until things are finalized,” Roberts said. “But again, I think the world of him.”
As for Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler, who was a finalist for the managerial position, Friedman only revealed he expects Kapler to remain with the organization.
“Yeah, he definitely will be. We’ve been focused on this and haven’t gotten too far into [determining Kapler’s role],” Friedman said. “Obviously he had a great impact last year in his role and I definitely assume he will continue to impact the Dodgers going forward.”
On Wednesday it was reported Kapler will indeed be part of Roberts’ staff, however not as bench coach. No matter how it shakes out, Roberts was clear with what traits he values in coaches. “I want teachers. I think that sometimes people at this level get caught up in feeling that we can just roll out the balls and let these guys play,” he said.
“I want teachers, and I want leaders and guys around me who are going to challenge me and make me grow. I want the players to know the coaches around them, they are there to make them better, and they can trust them and they care about them. When I put my players’ hat back on, if a coach can check those three boxes, then I’m all in. So that’s what I’m looking for in our staff.”
Whereas the front office led the search for Don Mattingly’s replacement, Friedman indicated filling out the staff will be at Roberts’ behest. “By and large, Dave is driving that process. We have input on different guys that we’ve encountered. I think more than anything, we’re very much on the same page in terms of the type of people we want around and working in the trenches with our players every day,” Friedman said.
“That’s the most important part. Then it’s about fitting guys to that, guys that Dave doesn’t know, giving him a chance to get to know them better. Guys that we don’t know, giving us a chance to know them better. More than anything it’s about philosophically, we’re very aligned in terms of profile and types of people we want around every day.”
Although Roberts was easily able to identify what he values in a coach, he’s yet to single out any candidates. “I haven’t been kind of positioning and talking to guys and saying, ‘If I get this job, you’re my guy,'” he said.
“To be quite honest, I’m kind of vetting as many people as I [can] and people that I trust,” he said. As kind of long and arduous as it was to come to this decision, I’m not going to say it’s going to be equal, but I think we just want to make sure we have the right guys.”
Ensuring sound decisions are made will entail Roberts soliciting the advice from Dodgers executives. “I’m definitely leaning on [the front office] and Josh [Byrnes, Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations] for their input because these guys know the industry as well if not better than I do,” he said. “It just goes to teachers, leaders and guys like that.”