After a disappointing end to the 2019 season, one definitive change already known with the Los Angeles Dodgers has to do with their coaching staff. Years of speculation that Rick Honeycutt would transition from pitching coach is now set, as he’ll shift to special assistant role.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman announced the news at his press conference that was held shortly after the team was eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers could face an additional change if bench coach Bob Geren is hired away for one of the many managerial openings. For now, the Dodgers are poised to move forward with the only shuffling being Mark Prior elevating from bullpen coach to pitching coach.
Though the Dodgers enjoyed consistency with Honeycutt’s long tenure in the role, he’s confident in Prior stepping into his position as pitching coach, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Mark’s extremely smart, always observing, very conscientious, very prepared,” said Honeycutt. “He’s a good communicator with the pitchers. He always wanted to be at every bullpen session, always listening. The continuity I hope will be very streamlined going forward.”
As a player, Prior was one of the top young arms in baseball with the Chicago Cubs before he saw his career derailed by injuries after just five seasons.
The San Diego native played at USC before being drafted second overall in 2001. Despite the injuries, he was known for having picture-perfect mechanics throughout the course of his career, which bodes well for his future as a pitching coach.
The Dodgers haven’t officially announced that Prior will be taking over for Honeycutt, but if and when they do, he will inherit a quality pitching staff that includes Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and talented young arms Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin.