The Los Angeles Dodgers have been very active in the available market in order to gain any advantage. Lost in all of the commotion in the acquisition of Chase Utley is the hiring of an experienced manager who can bring more knowledge to the team.
Ron Roenicke, the former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, was hired to the Dodgers’ organization to be the new third base coach. For a team with not a lot of speed, baserunning faux pas need to be at a minimum; however, the Dodgers have had their fair share of mistakes running the bases.
When general manager Farhan Zaidi was brought in to the front office, he understood that the roster wasn’t filled with speed threats, especially after the trade of Dee Gordon. Zaidi was asked about the baserunning blunders the team has had to deal with and he remained adamant in stating that Roenicke would be the proper addition, via Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
The base running has been a major issue with our team all season,” Zaidi said. “Some of that has to do with us not having a lot of team speed. That’s just not an area of strength for us as a roster. Some of it has to do with guys running the bases and picking up their coaches. So I think the responsibility for the base running falls on all of us really. But again, the chance to bring in somebody who has this as part of his pedigree and a real strength – it was more about that.”
Jimmy Rollins, the 36-year-old shortstop, currently leads the Dodgers in bases stolen with nine. The Dodgers are last in the Major Leagues in stolen bases and in stolen base percentage, with just a 52.6 percent success rate. Second on the team in stolen bases is Howie Kendrick, who has just six.
Zaidi was also asked about the replacement of Lorenzo Bundy and went on to say that the move was in the best interest of the team for the 2015 season:
I can say with all sincerity … this move is about this year and it’s about him in this role helping us to go as far as we can in 2015.”
Another major area of improvement that Roenicke can bring to the club is the communication between the players and himself. The 59-year-old spent eight seasons playing in the Major Leagues and five as a manager, so he is no stranger to the ins and outs of baseball. With his knowledge and experience, he can ease the transition on plays from first to third and on close calls to go to home plate.
The Dodgers entered their day off with a two-game lead in the NL West, as the San Francisco Giants begin a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.