Just got off the phone with East Providence native Davey Lopes, a solid baseball man as any you’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 club’s first base coach in 2011.
“I think if you wait a day or two you’ll get that answer,” 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 team’s first base coach and the rest of Bud Black’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 year’s first base coach for the Dodgers, doesn’t seem likely to return next season. Ditto for Larry Bowa, the Dodgers’ third base coach. The Los Angeles Times reported that Mattingly wanted Bowa to be his bench coach, but that general manager Ned Colletti “wanted to go in a different direction.” 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 we’ve seen two ex-Phillies in Ryne Sandberg and Juan Samuel return to where it started – Sandberg as the manager of Triple-A Lehigh Valley while Samuel was named the third base coach – 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 Friday’s Pawtucket Times.