More than three weeks after making the hire of Dave Roberts as manager official, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced their 2016 coaching staff.
As expected, the group of hires included several new names, with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Steve Yeager the lone holdovers from Don Mattingly’s tenure as Dodgers manager.
Thursday’s announcement also cemented George Lombard, not Gabe Kapler, would coach first base for the club next season.
It’s a position Kapler, the Dodgers director of player development, was reported to fill back on Dec. 7.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Dodgers were forced to head in a different direction as Kapler preferred to remain in his current role:
“I spent a great deal of time examining this and having a number of discussions. I absolutely love working with our players and staff. We have a number of exciting initiatives that are in their early stages. Ultimately, I couldn’t walk away from what we have just started to build in player development. This is the right role for me to make the most powerful impact.”
Roberts acknowledged Kapler received consideration to join the coaching staff, and spoke highly of his former Boston Red Sox teammate and Lombard, via Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:
“Gabe was definitely in the mix, and obviously what he brings to an organization is huge,” Roberts said. “I think at the end of the day, in talking to his family, just remaining in his role as farm director made more sense for them, as well as the organization itself. That’s the way he thought he could impact us the most. Then to get George Lombard to fill that role, I feel very fortunate.”
Kapler joined the Dodgers organization last November and like Roberts, was a finalist for the club’s managerial vacancy. Kapler was the perceived early favorite given his like-mindedness and relationship with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.