Whether Grady Little, Joe Torre, Don Mattingly or Dave Roberts, a constant on the Los Angeles Dodgers coaching staff has been Rick Honeycutt. This past season marked Honeycutt’s 12th with the organization as pitching coach.
He trails only San Francisco’s Dave Righetti (18 seasons), Chicago White Sox’s Don Cooper (16) and San Diego’s Darren Baisley (15) for longest tenure in the Majors as pitching coach. Righetti was recently reassigned by the Giants as part of a staff overhaul that included hiring Matt Herges.
When the Dodgers hired Dave Roberts as manager ahead of the 2016 season, they needed to complete a coaching staff as the contracts of those from Mattingly’s regime had expired. Honeycutt was signed to a two-year deal.
Now at the conclusion of his contract, the 63-year-old reportedly will not return with the Dodgers as pitching coach next season, per Robert Murray of Today’s Knuckleball:
There is increasing chatter that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt will not return to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2018 season, league sources tell FanRag Sports. “It would be a major upset if he’s back,” one source said.
At the time of coming to terms with Honeycutt on a contract, it was reported he would transition from pitching coach to a special assistant role once the deal expired.
Honeycutt’s impact on the pitching staff is immeasurable, particularly for Clayton Kershaw. The left-handed ace has regularly raved about Honeycutt’s preparation and work ethic.
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.
Honeycutt’s track record enabled the team to seek out pitchers with upside who simply needed a mechanical adjustment or modified approach.
With Herges, the former Triple-A Oklahoma City pitching coach, joining the Giants, the Dodgers would not appear to have a clear internal replacement for Honeycutt. Furthermore, there’s already been movement, with the likes of Chris Bosio, Jim Hickey and Mike Maddux joining new clubs.