Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi tells J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group that Gabe Kapler’s departure to become the Phillies’ new manager now leaves the Dodgers with the onerous task of finding a new person to fill the “toughest job in baseball.” Kapler spent three years as the Dodgers’ director of player development/farm director, and Hoornstra notes that the new ideas he brought to the table have helped the lay the foundation for the team’s current run of success. “You’ve got to be able to relate to a lot of different factions and constituents between the front office, the major league club, major league manager, coaches, players throughout the system, affiliates, minor league players, minor league coaches,” said Zaidi of the unique challenges the role presents. Per Zaidi, the team will be casting a “wide-open net,” and the search could take a few weeks. Hoornstra points out that Jeremy Zoll, Kapler’s top assistant who could have been a leading internal candidate, has already been scooped up by the Twins to serve as their farm director in 2018 and beyond.
More from the NL West…
- Newly minted Padres hitting coach Matt Stairs plans to bring an emphasis of on-base percentage and selectivity to the lineup, writes MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Cassavell notes that Stairs’ famous one-liner, “Swing like you live: hard,” leads to some misconceptions about his philosophy; Stairs doesn’t necessarily preach swinging often but believes in being aggressive when deciding to do so. “I’ve always been a guy that always preaches — even when I wasn’t coaching — about not giving at-bats away, being a stubborn hitter,” said Stairs. “…I’m a firm believer in passing the baton and taking the walk. Let the guy behind you pick you up.” The Padres ranked 25th in MLB with a 7.7 percent walk rate last year and somewhat incredibly finished the season with a sub-.300 OBP as a collective unit, ranking last in the Majors at .299.
- MLB.com’s Chris Haft writes that young Giants relievers Kyle Crick, Reyes Moronta and Garrett Williams are all likely to get the chance to cement themselves in the 2018 season. Krick, 25 next month, may have the best chance to do so early in the year after already experiencing some success in the second half of the 2017 season, though his 7.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 will need to trend more closely toward his respective Triple-A marks of 12.0 and 4.0. Williams has yet to even pitch in Double-A, but the 23-year-old lefty tore through two Class-A levels last season, and left-handed bullpen help is a need in San Francisco. Of course, the Giants still seem likely to add to the bullpen in some capacity this winter, though with myriad holes to fill throughout the roster, the presence of some internal options will be key.