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Just got off the phone with East Providence native Davey Lopes, a solid baseball man as any youâ€™ll come across. After a 10-minute discussion about the merits of free agent outfielders Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford, I asked Lopes if he sees himself coaching next year. Earlier this month the Phillies announced that Lopes would not be returning as the clubâ€™s first base coach in 2011.
â€śI think if you wait a day or two youâ€™ll get that answer,â€ť said Lopes, a hearty laugh following the response that seems to suggest the La Salle Academy graduate is close to landing a job.
The question is where?
Lopes makes his offseason home in San Diego, and reports indicate that the 65-year-old prefers to take a job on the West Coast. Last month the Padres named Red Sox hero Dave Roberts as the teamâ€™s first base coach and the rest of Bud Blackâ€™s staff seems set.
The Lopes-to-the-Dodgers rumor has been bandied about, which on paper makes the most sense. Lopes played for the Dodgers from 1972-81 after getting drafted in the second round in 1968. He is a Dodger thick and through, winning a World Series in 1981 while twice leading the National League in stolen bases (1975-76).
Los Angeles is in the process of transitioning from Joe Torre to Don Mattingly as its manager, which as expected has led to a shakeup of the coaching staff. Mariano Duncan, last yearâ€™s first base coach for the Dodgers, doesnâ€™t seem likely to return next season. Ditto for Larry Bowa, the Dodgersâ€™ third base coach. The Los Angeles Times reported that Mattingly wanted Bowa to be his bench coach, but that general manager Ned Colletti â€śwanted to go in a different direction.â€ť Former Kansas City manager Trey Hillman ended up getting the job.
Perhaps the re-entry of Lopes into the Dodger family would help lesson the sting of watching the Giants bask in the glow of their recent World Series title. In a week where weâ€™ve seen two ex-Phillies in Ryne Sandberg and Juan Samuel return to where it started â€“ Sandberg as the manager of Triple-A Lehigh Valley while Samuel was named the third base coach â€“ it just makes sense for Lopes to return to where his pro career first took flight.
For more on Lopes and his take on Crawford and Worth, see Fridayâ€™s Pawtucket Times.