Mike Easler to join big league coaching staff…

Here’s a press release we’re sending out momentarily…

DODGERS NAME EASLER HITTING COACH
Former NL All-Star to replace Mattingly on Joe Torre’s staff

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today named former National League All-Star Mike Easler as the hitting coach for the 2008 season. Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement. Easler will replace Don Mattingly on Joe Torre’s staff, as Mattingly will shift to the role of Major League Special Assignment Coach for the 2008 season due to family reasons.

“Mike has enjoyed success as both a player and a coach in the Major Leagues and he’s extremely familiar with our players,” said Colletti. “This is an opportunity to promote a very talented individual from within the organization and we expect him to make a seamless transition to the Major League staff.”

Easler, 57, was the St. Louis Cardinals’ hitting coach from 1999-2001 and served in the same capacity for the Brewers (1992) and Red Sox (1993-94). He spent the last two seasons as a hitting coach in the Dodgers’ minor league system, first with Double-A Jacksonville in 2006 before being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas prior to last season. In that role, he worked extensively with Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andy LaRoche, Tony Abreu, Delwyn Young and Chin-lung Hu, among other Dodger prospects.

The Cardinals reached the postseason in two of his three years as a hitting coach, ranking third in the NL with a .270 batting average and fifth in the league with a .339 on-base percentage and .441 slugging percentage in 2001, his last year as a big league coach.

During his 14-year Major League career, Easler played primarily in the outfield and posted a .293 average with 118 homers and 522 RBI with the Astros, Angels, Pirates, Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies. His best season came in 1984 when he finished sixth in the league with a .313 average while slugging 27 homers and 91 RBI in 156 games for Boston. He was named to the National League All-Star team with Pittsburgh in 1981.

The Cleveland, OH native was a member of the 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates and served as a minor league manager and college baseball coach following his big league playing career.

Mattingly will remain employed by the Dodgers full-time in the role as a Major League Special Assignment Coach in 2008 and will assist with the Major League coaching staff during Spring Training as well as other duties throughout the season.

“I’m very grateful that the Dodgers have allowed me to take care of these family matters and I hope that everyone can respect our privacy during this time,” said Mattingly. “I truly appreciate the support of all Dodger fans since joining the organization and I look forward to helping the team win in 2008 and beyond.”

63 Comments

Easler is certainly familiar with the kids, who have said positive things about him to the press. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Mattingly in the dugout.

Maybe this new job lets Don see Preston play more often.

For some reason I knew Mattingly wouldn’t commit to the Dodgers full time…

Wasn’t Mattingly purportedly being groomed to be Torre’s replacement? Who is it now?

Wow, this was a shocking move. Good Luck to Mattingly. It’s good to read that Mike Easler has already worked with a lot of our younger guys already. Even better is that the Cardinals had some very good years with him as batting coach. Ofcourse, it is unnecessary to say, this is a very very important job. As we all know, if there is any place the Dodgers have to show they are a better club it is in the offense.

Did anyone just follow the live chat with Ned? Why didn’t anyone ask him any hard questions, especially about JP? Jeez, it was like watching the media softsoap interview Hillary.

All I got out of it was a strong inkling that JP IS the left fielder.

For some reason, it wouldn’t let me log on to ask any questions. Now I’m irritated. Not as irritated I’ll be though if I have to watch JP in the outfield…

I got on about 1:15 PM PT and my question was:::Do you regard the signing of Juan Pierre as a good signing? and if you had the same outfield predicament you were in at that time would you do it again? That question was accepted but I never got an answer. I asked another question about Andre Ethier, I’ll check back on that. At least I’m glad to finally be able to get in on the chats.

Well all is right in the Dodger world, Ned talking about how great pierre’s SB are and hinting that he will start full time. Yep, he’s still a grade a maroon.

In Ned’s defense, he can’t really say anything controversial and he will want to say positive things about all this players going into Spring Training. You don’t really expect him to agree on the record with those of us that believe Juan Pierre has no business starting in the OF? The signing of Jones to be the every day CF is the biggest and only way he can say anything negative about JP.

No, I don’t expect him to say anything truthful. To start a question about pierre with the signing of Jones points to what a miserable failure the pierre signing was. To tout his expectant base totals is putting lipstick on a pig. And in the end to put the decision on Torre (as he did in the chat) is cowardly, IMO.

I don’t know why Ned even bothers to do these chats, he never answers the real good questions only fluff stuff. Also Easler will be a better hitting coach than Mattingly. I’m sorry Donny baseball is having family issues but glad he’s not the hitting coach.

I agree – he’s going to deflect tough questions as best he can, but come on – might as well have asked him his favorite color. He may not answer them, but they need to be asked IMO.

BTW, its scarry to me that Easley’s 57… Where has the time gone? – I remember him on the Angels.

Sorry EasleR.

And in the end to put the decision [regarding Pierre] on Torre (as he did in the chat) is cowardly, IMO.

Posted by: jspelk2@uic.edu | January 22, 2008 03:19 PM

I agree with the rest of your post, but I beg to differ on this part. Oversimplified but, tt ought to be the GM’s role to stock the roster and the manager’s job to determine who plays when.

enchantedsunset – good point. Oftentimes we can learn a lot by HOW one doesn’t answer the question that must be asked but shouldn’t be answered.

THIS IS REALLY GOOD NEWS… THIS GUY TAUGHT OUR YOUNG GUYS HOW TO HIT!!!!! NO ONE I WOULD RATHER BE OUR MAJOR LEAGUE HITTING COACH THAN MIKE EASLER—- AND, BIG BONUS; HE ACTUALLY IS A HITTING COACH….

I don’t ever think Colletti will ever state that he is sorry he signed Pierre. I don’t think we could ever get him to admit he made a mistake. I’m just hoping that Torre can somehow straighten out this puzzle. Stolen bases are great and they help alot, but those 3 guys who stand out in the outfield have got to supply power. A lot of this goes back even before Colletti, this club shows it has nothing against no power outfielders like Brett Butler, Dave Roberts & Kenny Lofton. We just have to hope middle infielders like Jeff Kent can make up the difference.

I understand oldfogey, but if pierre gets to start almost every day next year at some position, who’s decision will it be? Torre’s or Ned’s? Or a combination of the two? To me it seems like if he gets a starting role it will be pegged as Torre’s choice, eliminating ned from the responsibility of playing an inferior player. But ned himself must know that its not easy to tell a player like pierre he is benched. He created a bad situaiton for Grittle last year at more than one position and he has done so again (barring a trade).

BTW, look where speed got us last year…

You start Ethier and LaRoche and you have seven guys capable of hitting 20+ HRs. THAT’s a solid team top to bottom.

The way Ned answered the one question, he made it sound like Kemp and Ethier will be platooning in the OF. If that’s the case, might as well trade one and go after pitching…

Sorry to bit**, I’m just highly perturbed at the whole Q&A session.

“But ned himself must know that its not easy to tell a player like pierre he is benched.” Posted by: jspelk2@uic.edu | January 22, 2008 04:12 PM

There are reasons why Joe Torre will be paid about SIX TIMES what Grady Little was paid. Tough jobs like that are one of them; Torre gets paid to be the playing time decision maker. I don’t think Frank McCourt hires Torre for all that money to have him merely carry out preordained decisions from above; he could have kept Little for that and saved a bunch of dough.

enchantedsunset, I also noticed that Ned’s 20+ HR list did not include “Nomar/LaRoche”. One or the other better show that kind of potential or neither will win the job!

“I don’t ever think Colletti will ever state that he is sorry he signed Pierre.” – Posted by: pierreseastmeetswest@yahoo.com | January 22, 2008 04:00 PM

I agree with you, and I don’t think Colletti should, at least while JP is still a member of the Dodgers. There is nothing to be gained by publicly belittling one’s own players. Now, after he’s traded to the White Sox, Ned can say he wishes Juan the best, appreciates the effort he gave but the Dodgers needed to go a different direction, etc., etc., etc.

Lost in all the major stories, I’m very pleased that Repko reached terms with the Dodgers. If only that guy could stay healthy. If he can, he’ll be a major contributor to a championship club. But if he goes down yet again, I’d have to say he’s snake bit and his future, with the Dodgers anyway, might pass him by.

Ned will never admit to a mistake with JP. There is nothing to be gained by saying it, for the team, for JP or himself. I think he did what he had to do. He signed Andruw to play CF. Admitting a mistake serves no useful purpose except to make those of us who question the signing feel good about it. If all the parts were in place except SB’s then JP would be a missing part. Other needs trump that – CF, 3B, SP, RP, power, so JP isn’t an essential missing part now.

GO DODGERS!!

Easler is the real deal ….the Dodgers are really going to see some offense with the “Hit Man ” working with some of the great young talent available to the great knowlege he posseses.

Once Joe Torre gets a look at Matt Kemp in person, I can’t imagine him not drooling at the prospect of putting his name in the lineup card every day. I predict Matt Kemp will be the regular rightfielder and if Pierre plays persistently, it will be at Ethier’s expense (and be our loss).

I don’t ever think Colletti will ever state that he is sorry he signed Pierre. I don’t think we could ever get him to admit he made a mistake. I’m just hoping that Torre can somehow straighten out this puzzle. Stolen bases are great and they help alot, but those 3 guys who stand out in the outfield have got to supply power. A lot of this goes back even before Colletti, this club shows it has nothing against no power outfielders like Brett Butler, Dave Roberts & Kenny Lofton. We just have to hope middle infielders like Jeff Kent can make up the difference.

Posted by: pierreseastmeetswest@yahoo.com | January 22, 2008 04:00 PM

Well said PierreEast/West,

Butler, Roberts, and Lofton could at least field their position. JPierre is a cruel joke.

Let’s hope Ned is just being tactful and Torre can get it right and start Ethier/Jones/Kemp as our outfield. Anything less is UNACCEPTABLE.

i want to buy a new dodger jersey but i want to wait until you’ll be able to buy them with the 50th aniv. patch on it. i wonder when that is gonna be?

Of COURSE Ned is being tactful. GMs just don’t come out and say “I made a mistake” regarding a player they have under contract for the next four years. Signing Jones was GM-speak for “I made a mistake.” Since Ned probably couldn’t find anyone who would take JP this winter, it is, of course, ultimately up to Torre as to the team he fields from the 25-man roster. You guys are dreaming if you think you’ll ever hear Ned call JP a mistake while he’s still a Dodger. I’d be mad at him if he did – management can’t talk that way about players if they expect them to play well and with passion for the name on the front of the jersey.

you’re right puppy

We don’t need Ned to say anything regarding JP, but we don’t need him tallying up SB totals for next year while counting Pierre and then referring to Kemp/Ethier as one person in the OF.

I don’t give a rip about stolen bases. JP is a nightmare that can only ruin this great team we have by playing regularly.

Here’s hoping Torre’s got his head screwed on right and means what he says about spring training settling things because there’s no way JP out plays any of the other guys in Vero.

http://mlbfleecefactor.com/2008/01/22/a-look-back-the-dodgers-2007-investments/

Interesting site. Good and informative articles and they tell it like it is. Call a spade a spade and a Ned a ****.

jhall, what do you get from this tidbit from Ned’s chat?

bobwisore: Will the Dodgers look to steal more bases now that they have some speed?

Colletti: We don’t think it’s out of the question to have 100-plus stolen bases out of Furcal, Pierre and Martin. We don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect 20-plus home runs from Jones, Jeff Kent, James Loney, Martin and perhaps Kemp/Andre Ethier. We think the combination of speed and power are somewhat rare in the National League. Many times, a team has power without speed or speed without power, but to have three players that are capable of stealing 20-plus bases and two capable of stealing 40-50 bases, coupled with the power maturation of our young players, is pretty intriguing.

I don’t like him referring to Kemp/Ethier as on entity. Makes me wonder if he will interfere with Torre about who should play. He needs to step away and say, “here Joe, this is what we’ve got, now you sort it out and put the best team out there”. Most of it sounds like pure speculation and assessing what he thinks each player can do. It does make me worry a bit that Pierre will have an unfair advantage at winning the LF starting job because of his fat contract and Ned not willing to admit he made one of the biggest baseball blunders of recent memory by signing Pierre. Do the right thing Joe.

Just think of all those stolen bases though!!!!

I’ll take 15-20 homers and gap power from Ethier anytime over 40-50 stolen bases. And did I mention, Ethier can field his position.
Let’s hope Ethier and Kemp pound the ball in the spring and make it a no brainer. Pierre was and oaf in CF and now he will be learning to play LF. It should become very apparent when Torre sees him out there.

I’m anxious to see how badly Bombko gets lit up in the AL.
He will get pasted even more than last year.

That photo of JP making a “catch” in the outfield with the ball at his feet still makes me chuckle…

… Be hilarious if he wasn’t wearing a D’s jersey.

From Gurnicks column: [pitching staff]…which grew increasingly annoyed with every extra base opposing runners took on Pierre’s weak arm.

That ain’t gonna get any better in left fellas!!

How many major league LFers are going to give up first to third on a 99% basis? (LongGone not withstanding.)

BTW, how’d I miss Lurch signing with the Marlins? Is Bombko really worth twice as much per year? Gawd their agents could sell ice to the eskimos!

Tomko pitching against NY, BOS, or CLE…lol

That photo of Pierre is priceless. He will be even more pathetic in left.
KC fans are going to see some monster homers at least. LOL

I’d take Lurch over Bombko any day. At least he was a good left handed middle reliever. However, I am happy we do not have to suffer with those two on our team. Now, just make Pierre go away.

There was an ESPN Insider chat (I’m not one) debating Joe Mauer vs. Russell Martin.

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=18950

True Blue LA provides a couple quotes about it here:

http://www.truebluela.com/story/2008/1/23/124211/279

You will like what Tim Kurkjian has to say.

Notice the “form” too [ref. to JP photo] – is he riding an invisible horse?

Andruw’s going to be quite gassed by the all-star break from having to cover center and most of left too…

Tomko pitching against NY, BOS, or CLE…lol

Posted by: scott@whittiermailing.com | January 23, 2008 12:28 PM

Detroit (Cabrera, Sheffield, Granderson, Ordonez, etc.) too, in his division!

Tomko actually has had more seasons where he was a serviceable fifth starter type (ERAs reasonably close to league average, WHIPs in the 1.3s, etc.) than Hendrickson, that’s why he’s paid more. Middle relievers make less. Tomko still stinks though.

Tomko is also another sign of just how desperate teams are for starting pitching. In MLB terms, even K.C.’s, $3M just isn’t that big a salary if they have to eat it.

Think FL signed Lurch to be a starter.

Starting or relieving I’d still take Hendy over Bombko… but its not much of a choice.

When ST opens and they’re playing intrasquad games, if JPs in left and I’m Kemp & Ethier, I take third on him every chance I get running the bases.

I also found this quote on the Martin/Mauer chat elsewhere:

BH, Los Angeles: Tim, from where you sit, should Russell take on more of leadership role on the club and in the clubhouse since he has played with most of the younger players in the minors and as an All-Star, should have enough cred with the vets?

Tim Kurkjian: (1:22 PM ET ) I think he’s shown some leadership skills already, but you’re right, he’ll need to show even more. Even though he’s a young guy, there are certainly younger and less experienced guys on his team that he can help. There is a pretty good gap between some of the veterans on that team and some of the young guys as far as age and experience. It’s always helpful when a younger guy who has been around for a few years steps forward. Martin is the logical guy to do that.

A lot of singles to left will become doubles with Pierre there.

enchantedsunset – the intrasquad comment is brilliant!

I think FLA needs Hendrickson as a pen lefty more. They started 11 different guys last year. Three are gone (Willis, BH Kim, Obermuller), Mitre is 26, the rest are 25 or less. They also have a couple of other young arms ready to surface. FLA will want to see how their young hurlers fare, I think, but I could, of course, be waaaaay off.

Is pierre really “polarizing?” Is there anyone really arguing on his behalf? If anything he’s united Dodger fans who may disagree about other things.

Detroit of course! Thanks old_fogey.

jspelk – JP has a bi-polarizing effect on our pitchers…

Let’s not forget about all of the SB that JP gets after he forces the lead runner at 2B or 3B with one of his patented ground outs.

jspelk – you know more casual fans occasionally stop by here and attempt to defend JP – you know the spiel, .290 hitter, 200 or so hits, 50-60 SB, speedy, healthy, etc. – until they realize that their argument holds no water. Really, you’d think there would be a permanent JP FAQ page – Why Juan Pierre is not an asset to team – somewhere by now that could simply be linked to when that situation arises.

scott – now THAT would be a stat I’d really like to see – how many SB’s did JP get after making a forceout as opposed to when he got on by hit/walk/HBP.

When you think about it, any SB’s he got after a forceout were equivalent to a sacrafice.

Great idea old fogey.

Just need someone to put it together!

Thank the wonders of baseball-reference.com.

In 2007, Juan Pierre:

Hit into 28 forceouts. (Point of comparison, Furcal hit into 14.)

7 were with two outs, so no steal opportunity (StOpp) could follow.

2 others were forces at home, leaving (almost) no StOpp.

2 others were forces at 3rd, leaving an unlikely StOpp.

For the other 17:

Stole 3 bases, caught 1 time, scored 1 time.

No SB attempt 13 times, scored five times.

Additionally:

8 were on the first pitch.

4 were on a 1-0 count.

5 were on an 0-1 count.

None of this means much, except that JP makes an awful lot of outs.

ewk216, unfortunately that’s insiders only. If you got a question answered, would you mind copying and pasting your question and the response here? TIA.

I thought i could link it directly there…. I was just doing it for all of you… It really was not that of an interesting chat anyways to be honest…

In the future– if anyone wants an insider thing poster, i now have access… I suppose i can always cut and paste…

Thanks old fogey – you rock!… think you hit the nail on the head too with your conclusion!!

How come everyone is throwing out the idea that Mattingly will be the future coach? It doesn’t say he is leaving the organization, just as hitting coach or am I blind?

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