Dodgers name coaches, non-tender Juan Nicasio

Wednesday was one of the busier days of the offseason so far for the Dodgers. They made some coaching hires for Dave Roberts‘ staff and trimmed two players from the 40-man roster.

On the coaching front, Bob Geren was lured away from the Mets to become the Dodgers’ bench coach. He served in that position with the Mets for the last four years. He was one of the nine finalists for the managerial position. Chad used this bit from Just Mets in his October piece about managerial candidates.

“Geren is the statistician among the coaches on the staff, and a student of advanced metrics who provides meaningful data to Terry Collins in-game.”

That certainly does not suck. It’s pretty easy to see why he was hired to be Roberts’ right-hand man. Chad also pointed out where Geren came up short as the A’s manager.

“In September 2008, Street had to be separated from Geren by shortstop Bobby Crosby after getting pulled from a game in Detroit. Calling himself ‘selfish,’ Street later held a meeting to apologize to his teammates.

On Tuesday, Street, now with the Rockies, offered his harshest public criticism of Geren in a text to Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser:

‘Bob was never good at communication, and I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left. For me personally, he was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager.'”

I guess it’s something to keep an eye on, but I’m not too worried about it.

Former Diamondbacks’ hitting coach Turner Ward was brought in to replace Mark McGwire in the same role. Ward, a former big leaguer, did a pretty good job of helping some D-Back hitters reach their potential. He was their assistant hitting coach in 2013 and hitting coach in 2014 and ’15. A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Ender Inciarte all showed marked improvement while Ward was around. Yasmany Tomas didn’t fare too well, but I don’t know if the reincarnated corpse of Ted Williams could help him get better.

Oh, and Jared actually called for this hiring in the latest episode of Dugout Blues. I hate giving him credit, but he nailed this one.

Gabe Kapler, runner-up to Roberts, will be part of Roberts’ coaching staff, but it isn’t yet clear what his role will be. First- and third base coach is open. He could also be considered for another role … or a role that has yet to be introduced. He’s out as farm director, which I thought was a great role for him. But if he has managerial aspirations, it’s probably best for him to get into the dugout as a coach.

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The Dodgers non-tendered Juan Nicasio and Lisalverto Bonilla just ahead of the deadline on Wednesday. Bonilla, claimed off waivers from the Rangers in October, was coming off Tommy John surgery, so his non-tender decision was easy. The same couldn’t be said about Nicasio, but I ultimately think it’s the right call.

We were somewhat excited about his acquisition last winter.

“Overall, getting Juan Nicasio as a relief pitcher is not a bad gamble. He’s not going to be Andrew Miller, but at about a $2 million salary and with an option remaining, he doesn’t have to be. There are some wrinkles to iron out, but Nicasio did show some promise in his 19 relief outings. Still, he’s going to have to change his usage pattern one way or another, so it seems prudent to expect some growing pains.”

He was a solid pitcher, but not worth the $3.1 million projected salary he’d make via the arbitration process.  Here’s what I wrote about him in October.

“Nicasio was generally good for most of the season. He had a rough July (6.97 ERA), but bounced back with a good August (1.29 ERA). He really struggled down the stretch. He had a 9.00 ERA and gave up 16 hits in eight innings in September/October. While he has a great fastball, a fringy slider, inconsistent command and the inability to consistently retire left-handed hitters could have the Dodgers looking elsewhere for a reliever. There will be cheaper options available. If he isn’t tendered a contract, he could be a hot commodity on the free agent market.”

The Dodgers could get at least equal (and probably better) production for much cheaper than $3.1 million. The Dodgers could attempt to re-sign him, but I doubt he’ll want to return. He won’t be out of a job for long.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.