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January 10, 2024 53 mins

The Book of Joe Podcast with hosts Tom Verducci and Joe Maddon begins with another Dodgers big money signing.  What will Teoscar Hernandez bring to the roster?  Tom looks at offseason moves with coaches that's blending experience with analytics.  Joe points out coaching that can help or hinder winning.  We explore what bench coaches add and how that experiences can help build a great manager. 

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
Hey there you found us. It's the Book of Joe.

Speaker 1 (00:16):
It's me Tom Berducci with of course Joe Madden and Joe.

Speaker 2 (00:20):
Last episode, we were talking about the.

Speaker 1 (00:22):
Los Angeles Dodgers and apparently they weren't done because they
went out and they signed Tioscar Hernandez, adding a right
handed bat to the outfield mix.

Speaker 2 (00:33):
I mean I was a little bit surprised.

Speaker 1 (00:35):
I mean, they did get many margo in that trade
with Tampa Bay, but they wanted a power, right handed bat.
And I'll tell you what, Joe, I mean, they are
a premier destination right now because Taoscar Hernandez signed a
one year deal twenty three point five million dollars. But
he went this show hey route and deferred a large

chunk of that salary fifteen million deferred. So here's the
guy really in the prime of his career. I know
he didn't have a great twenty twenty, but he goes
to the LA Dodgers for a one year contract with
loads of deferred money. I think that just shows Joe
that people want to jump aboard this Dodgers bandwagon.

Speaker 3 (01:15):
Why not? Right?

Speaker 4 (01:16):
And when I was here with the Rays we first began.
Andrew always talked about making Tampa Bay a destination spot,
and just that you just talked about the Dodgers now
was a little bit more far fetched here than it
is out there. But I know that's always been part
of his philosophy to set up.

Speaker 3 (01:34):
A situation that people want to come to. Why not
for him?

Speaker 4 (01:39):
He has the acumen Andrew does regarding he's a really
good scout. I used to sit with him in my
office at the Tropic Canada Field and we would talk
about things, and I used to say to them, man,
you're a good scout.

Speaker 3 (01:50):
He was.

Speaker 4 (01:51):
He was, really, He's always had I thought, great scouting acumen.
Went to Tulane, played some college ball, but we would
talk and breakdown players, and he was always very good
at it. So when you get guys like Hernandez or whomever,
he's got a definite reason why. And I'm not saying
it's all him. He's got a wonderful group of lieutenants

there too, but really a wonderful ability to break it down.
And again, if if they do that, they have specific
ideas in mind how to make this fellow better. Even
to the I love Margo Man. I really like this
guy as a winning baseball player. And who knows that
they're going to, you know, a ladder part of the game,
take Hernandez out, whatever, how are they going to utilize him?

But there's there's already some kind of a plot or
plan that's been made up. It's it's very well thought
out in advance always so Yes, nice piece, wonderful piece.
But I'm here to tell you Andrew is really good.
He's a very good scout.

Speaker 2 (02:50):
That's a great point.

Speaker 1 (02:51):
I think we look at the Dodgers right now, and
that probably was there's some sort of hole there that
they wanted to fill, and they got the guy again
on a one year deal. As the saying in baseball,
there's no such thing as a bad one year contract. Now,
Hernandez does come with a ton of strikeouts, poor defender.

Speaker 2 (03:09):
That surprises me a little bit.

Speaker 1 (03:11):
Joe, as you mentioned, you got sho Hey in the
d H spot, so you're gonna have to play him
in the field. And I know a lot of people
looked at him last year and Seattle and said the
ballpark hurt his offensive numbers. But when you break it down,
there was a lot of Chase in his game, you know,
chase and swing and miss. I'm not sure that has
anything to do with the ballpark when it comes to

power numbers. So they've got Chris Taylor, they've got many Margo,
and now they have Tascar Hernandez. Now listen, you've got
a guy who's potentially you know, he in the past
has been a Silver slugger and All Star thirty home
run guy. He can hit in the bottom third of
your order, changed the game with one swing. Again, it
seems like a niche buy for the Dodgers to just fill,

you know, a right handed power hitter, which probably is
not Margo's profile, but man, he's more of the defender
and slasher at bet.

Speaker 4 (04:02):
Yeah, what does his splits look like on Hernandez? Because
I'm sure they're willing to spend that much money, especially
if it's deferred to get a left a specialist to
hit lift tenant pitching. Also, there's again it's part of
this ying and yang that they're going to create there
if they the chase. It's hard to get a guy
to stop chasing. I mean, especially at the age that

he is. If it's been something he's been doing his
entire life career. I mean, for me, my biggest thing
was to try to get guys to not strike out
more than to attempt to walk. Maybe it's a better
two strike approach. Maybe they feel like they got some
kind of secret sauce or they saw something that is
going to help him not chase nearly as much. But

more than that, I think they already know this is
that they bought the player that they bought as a
guy that they're going to see and get and perform.
So maybe it's just against a certain type of pitcher
and having the I don't know, Jason Heyward still coming back, correct.

Speaker 2 (05:01):
That's right. He had a very good year for them
last year.

Speaker 4 (05:04):
Right, So you got Jay Ward and this guy that
might be like a nice little sandwicher out there in
right field whatever left field however they.

Speaker 3 (05:12):
Want to utilize it. But they again, they have this
all settled.

Speaker 4 (05:15):
But I'd be curious what he has done against left
handed pitching specifically, because that might be the reason he's there.

Speaker 1 (05:21):
Well, I know this, and I know this happens with
our pitchers too. The Dodgers have just such good infrastructure there,
including their major league coaching staff. They repeatedly have gotten
the best of out of players. And you mentioned Jason
Hayward what they did with him last year a good
example of that really good bounce back season. And that
leads me to the topic I wanted to dive into today, Joe,

and I couldn't wait to talk to you about that,
and that is coaching staffs. I look at the Los
Angeles Dodgers. Since we're talking about the Dodgers, they have
six at least six coaches and their manager who have
all been there at least six years. There's some nice
stability there with the LA Dodgers. And I also looked
around the game and I it's been an interesting offseason.

I mean, listen, coaching staffs turnover quicker than they ever have.
We all know that, but this time around, it seemed
like some of the teams, maybe not a majority, but
some of the teams now are starting to circle back
to adding experience to their coaching staff.

Speaker 2 (06:20):
And I saw what is it.

Speaker 1 (06:22):
I think I counted seven former managers who were hired
as coaches this offseason, John Gibbons, Brad Ausmas, Jerry Narron,
bo Porter, Brian Price, Matt Williams. My list goes on,
and I think I'm not saying that everybody's buying into this, Joe,
but I'm what I'm starting to see is there's starting

to be a better blend of experience, and some of
the new age thinkers.

Speaker 4 (06:50):
Oh, that's just I would like to believe that's just
common sense. I think that's what you're always looking for,
balance and blend, however you want to describe it. All
those guys you mentioned there, I know them all. They're
all outstanding what they do. And again, if you get
a guy with that kind of experience as a major
league manager willing to take a step back in a
sense and be there more as an advisor and be
there to lend his expertise in his years, it can

only benefit the group. And all those guys have really
wonderful personalities and are very easy to get along with
it and are going to assimilate very well. And I
think it's I think it's great you talk about coaching
staff stability.

Speaker 3 (07:26):
When I was with the Rais, we had it.

Speaker 4 (07:27):
Also, there wasn't a whole lot of turnover, and to that,
I really believe that you have to consider the acquisitional
process in a situation like that. In other words, the
players that we got here. Again, going back to the
scouting ability of Andrew, the guys they worked out. The
guys that we got they worked out, They did what
they were supposed to do. There's not a lot of

blame putting on coaches when players don't necessarily fulfill potentials
because the player brought in pretty much lived up to
what you thought he was going to do. So we
never had We had very little instability. We have much
stability with the coaching staff, and I agree.

Speaker 3 (08:07):
I love that.

Speaker 4 (08:07):
I don't know how many times I talked about when
you go to spring training as a manager and you
have the same guys surrounding you. Quite frankly, spring trainings
a breeze. I mean, you walk in there, you have
to worry about the language. Everybody knows each other's language,
you know, the nuance of what you're trying to accomplish,
or you know how you want to have drills, run
the game itself, the little things that I might want
to do with a third base coach during the course

of the game. I had Tom Foley forever down here,
Full and I were definitely on the same page. You know,
you had Zim of course helping us work with the
safety squeezes hick with the pitching staff for so many
years and just all of the language was the same.
That cannot be discounted how important that is. So I agree,
and I think pretty much they've they've shown that now

the race have a lot of stability with the names
and their coaching staff. They may lose a guy once
in a while to get moved up or whatever, and
that's great, but for the most and then they'll bring
somebody up from the minor leagues primarily way. It's a
great method and a coaching staff. Just I'll finish with this.
When I was with the Angels in two thousand and two,

that coaching staff I thought had played such a great part.

Speaker 3 (09:16):
In the winning of the World Series.

Speaker 4 (09:18):
By the two thousand and two Angels have also been
on staffs where coaching staff can play a great part
in the non success of a particular team. So when
you get a group together like that that works that
well together, it matters so much from the manager to
the players, to everybody in that room.

Speaker 3 (09:36):
It matters a lot.

Speaker 1 (09:37):
Yeah, that two thousand and two Angels coaching staff, I mean,
that's a gold standard when you think about under Mike's
Soosha with you and Buddy Black and Ron Renickey, all
future managers, Alfredo Griffin, Mickey Hatcher. I mean just just
the baseball acumen, the intellect, and the fact that you
guys got along so well. That was sort of a

special sauce. We talk about chemistry and teams. That was chemistry.
The coaching staff that you know. I'm not sure, maybe
I'm missing somebody, but that staff to me really stood
out in terms of just the brain power and the chemistry.

Speaker 4 (10:13):
I'll tell you A part of that that goes under
the radar also is the fact that Sosh got to
choose all those coaches. I mean, Sosia knew all those
guys prior to getting together. He didn't know me at all.
I lost out to Sosh for the job itself prior
to two thousand and two in the off season that's

when I was interviewing for the job, and then the
eve of Thanksgiving nineteen ninety nine, going into two thousand,
he calls me. Sosh calls me and offers me the
job as the bench coach with him only because he
had gotten good recommendations from other people. And part of
it was the fact that I knew the American League
so well, and these guys really weren't American leaguers and

they wanted me to be there to be of assistance
with that. And that's how I really got that job
with Sosh, and it was wonderful the fact that Mike
and I got to be very close working with him.

Speaker 3 (11:04):
I've talked about it before.

Speaker 4 (11:06):
He has a quality that I don't think that's spoken
about enough, and so shed a fearlessness about what he
did always, whether he's as a player or as a manager,
and as a coach because he loved the coach too.
There's a fearlessness about him and that's what I took
away from watching him as a young bench coach. I'd
been there with Marcel Latchman, I'd been there with Terry Collins,

briefly with John McNamara before he got ill, but Sosh
really demonstrated that to me. He was the one manager
that really showed that to me. And the coach that
I loved being around with David Parker. David was another
guy that I had bo I have all these wonderful
coaches that I worked with there, but Parker had his

fearlessness and his calmness about being on a major League
Baseball field.

Speaker 3 (11:51):
That really stood out to me.

Speaker 4 (11:53):
And from the dugout perspective, social is the same way,
and that was a big part of the success of
that group at that time, and I was very fortunate
to be part of that group.

Speaker 1 (12:02):
Joe, you brought up an Andrew thing point I want
to follow up on, and that is that Mike Sooshi
hired his coaches that staff we just talked about and
how good it was.

Speaker 2 (12:11):
And I'm wondering, and if you haven't read.

Speaker 1 (12:15):
The Book of Joe yet, what are you guys waiting for,
Because we talk a lot about how the powered nexus
and baseball really changed from the dugout to the front office.
And part of that we've seen is putting together a
staff of coaches. In a lot of times it is
the front office that hands the manager his coaches. Joe,

what's it been like for you in the arc of
your career when it comes to having your own coaches
or having input from the front office.

Speaker 4 (12:43):
Yeah, as when I started with the Rays two thousand
and six, I had a lot of flexibility.

Speaker 3 (12:48):
I think I was.

Speaker 4 (12:49):
I was able to hire three guys there, and we
kept three back from the previous regime, which I also
thought was wise based on what I just talked about.
When I was rehired by the Angels, when Sos took
over the fact that he wanted some stability some of
the guys that knew the people that had been there previously.
So I got three and there was there was three
that were held onto and it worked out really well. Obviously,

So for the most part when I was with the
Rays really had a lot of say so regarding that
coaching staff, again, we kept them for a long time.
It wasn't it wasn't bouncing all over the place. I
think we might have had one hitting coach change. Hick
was there the whole time, Folly was at third base
the whole time that Davy was with me at the
We were really together for a long period of time.

Speaker 3 (13:33):
It was wonderful.

Speaker 4 (13:35):
So I had all that when I got to the Cubs.
It wasn't so much at that point that there was more, uh,
you know, wanting to choose different guys or I don't
want to say forced upon me, but the conversation always
led to, you know, kind of like this highly recommended
or they tried to convince you through conversation why this
guy would be good for the staff. And then again

there was some commonalities there too, like when Chiley came
on board. Absolutely again, I got Davey Martinez up there.
When I went up there, Davy was the I think
the only coach that I really brought with me at
that time was Davey Martinez. So the time up there
was more that staff was more chosen by the front office,
whereas the coaching staff that I had with the Rays

is more chosen by myself along with Andrew. Then with
the Angels again very you know, I got Butter in there,
a couple of other guys, was able to bring different
guys Heater Hindes, so it was a little bit more
open when I got back to the Angels. But it's
an organizational gig. Depends on the front office and what
they're trying to achieve, and I think the more analytically

driven the front office is, the more they're going to
want to become part of the hiring method of the
coaching staff, because they want guys that align closely to
what they're trying to get regarding numbers and the ability
to take that information and bring it to a clubhouse
or maybe some old school coaches don't necessarily have that

ability to read these sheets or buying his as much
as some of these younger guys are. Quite frankly, if
you're a young coach that's getting an opportunity to coach
in the big leagues, yeah, you're going to do exactly
what they want you to do.

Speaker 1 (15:13):
You mentioned analytically driven in front offices, and I have
a really good example for you of one team that
shows it's possible that these teams can pivot and reconsider
their positions on coaches. We'll talk about that team when
we get back right after this. Welcome back to the

Book of Joe podcasts.

Speaker 2 (15:42):
Well Joe. The San Francisco Giants.

Speaker 1 (15:44):
Hired Bob Melvin as their manager, longtime manager, great track
record in the game, replacing Gabe Kapler, and what stands
out to me is how they're coaching staff, which some
thought was going to be a model around the game,
has really taken on a different look with Melvin as
the manager.

Speaker 2 (16:02):
Gabe Kapler had a very very deep roster of coaches.

Speaker 1 (16:05):
It was almost like the NFL model where you have
positional coaches for every position on.

Speaker 2 (16:10):
The field, a lot of guys there.

Speaker 1 (16:13):
And when he first took over, he had thirteen coaches,
only four who had major league experience, and only a
total of seven and a half years of major league
coaching experience combined. And now we have Bob Melvin taking
the job as the Giants manager. He hires Pat Burrell

as his hitting coach. Pat was in their system as
a roving instructor. He brings Brian Price out of retirement.
Brian Price, the pitching coach, has followed Bob Melvin in
Arizona and Seattle, so obviously they know one another very well.
And he hires Matt Williams as this third base coach
we had in San Diego. That's a completely different look.

You're talking about a lot of major league experience there
with a previous staff basically had none. So give far
Hans Aidi, the president of the Giants, credit for hiring
someone like Melbourne and allowing him to shape his coaching staff,
not entirely, but enough that he's comfortable with the people
around him. I thought that was fascinating that the Giants

made really one hundred and eighty degree turn when it
comes to the character or makeup of their coaching staff.

Speaker 4 (17:22):
I think it's brilliant First of all, Pat to Bat.
I didn't know Pat de Bat was back. Yeah, I
didn't know that. I missed that one.

Speaker 3 (17:30):

Speaker 4 (17:31):
He's a good fellow man and we had a great
time together down here.

Speaker 1 (17:34):
Apparently you know, they've raved about him and the job
that he's done. That not only knows the x's and o's,
but it's really good at connecting with players. And Pat's
the kind of guy. And I remember talking to Mark
Maguire about this one. I thought Mark was a really
good hitting coach, and he said, listen, I've hit more
than seventy home runs in a season. I've also hit
about two ten in a season. I can relate to
just about anybody. And Pat had that kind of a career,

you know, draft out of Miami, number one pick, and
it was down on his luck for a while, almost
forgot had a hit and bounce back with a nice
come back with the Giants and one of the World
Series runs. So yeah, he's got the background where he
can relate to a lot of different people.

Speaker 4 (18:10):
Yes, one hundred percent. And he's a lot of fun too.
Pat's a lot of fun. He's conversant. He's going to
get into those conversations with these guys. My time with him,
he was I thought he was a good listener too.
We had a lot of good conversations. So I'm very
happy about that and which you've done that you've created balance.
Now you take guys like that, and we've talked about this.

For me, the next step is to hire that really
wonderful analytical group that you see, a bunch of stars,
superstars analytically speaking, who then feed information to these guys.
And I would bet every one of them, whether it
was BP, Brian Price, the former picture of mine in
the minor leagues, and Maddie no more intense than Matt Williams,
and of course Pat. I mean, they're going to want

this information. They're going to ask for this information, I
promise you. And that's what the disconnect is or the
not understanding completely.

Speaker 3 (19:03):
Those that have been in the game.

Speaker 4 (19:05):
We all want information, man, I promise, every guy that's
worked for the last thirty forty fifty years you want info,
you want intel. That's not the point. But then it
needs to be up to you to present it to
your guys. So you need to be able to have
the information accumulated because you know Pat's not going to
spend that much time or VP mine a little bit.

Brian Price might do a little bit of that. But
you want there's so much stuff out there. You need
somebody to accumulate this for you and give it to
you in a manner that makes sense to you.

Speaker 3 (19:37):
As a coach.

Speaker 4 (19:38):
It has to be presented on a page or pages.
I usually get PDF files that were catered to the
way I saw things, and you take that and then
I would take that information and we'll be able to
then put it on my card and then anything I
had to bring or do to the coaching staff for players.
It was easy because I kind of like was photographic.
If I looked at my sheet of paper with all

my stuff on it, it was weird, how like, during
the course of the game, I could actually see or
read that stuff my mind's eye because I was used
to seeing it presented to me that way.

Speaker 3 (20:08):
And that's what I'd like to believe they're doing. Right there.

Speaker 4 (20:11):
You get together this really well trained, well versed, experienced
group of coaches who know how to make adjustments on
the fly too. During the course of the game. There's
going to be the conversations during the game cannot be
analytical conversation. The conversation's got to be something that Pat
might see or say to a hitter before he goes
up to the plate. The little thing that BP's going

to say as he walks out to the mound, whatever,
that's so vital, and that doesn't get that doesn't get
sold enough, that doesn't get spoken about enough. That's what
really makes difference for players. In the heat of the moment,
you're not going to look at a piece of paper
to try to get you right. One word, one phrase,
one thought, whatever jogging my memory about something we talked

about a week ago, two days ago, before the game today.
That's what's vital, and guys like this can give it
to the players based, like you said, on their experience.

Speaker 1 (21:04):
Yeah. I think in the military, the analogy is actionable intelligence, right.
I mean, the general has to sift through all the
data that comes in everything the boots on the ground.
You better give them just nuggets that they know is
vital to the mission that they're on. And that's why
that's how I look at coaches, Joe, their teachers.

Speaker 2 (21:25):
First of all, you better be a teacher. If you're
a coach and you're a.

Speaker 1 (21:29):
Distiller of information and I think about I spend a
lot of time with the Rangers in their postseason run,
and I think about their coaching staff and very smart guys.
But when you talk to the players about what makes
that coaching staff so good, they all talk about and
you kind of reference this, Joe, the little bits and

pieces simplifying kind of you know, difficult or a lot
of information to process and they simplify it so it's
usable on a player level, especially in game speed. And
you look at their staff. Actually, look at the World
Series last year in the coaching staff Texas with Mike Maddox,
you know, with Chris Young, the former pitcher, bring him

in there.

Speaker 2 (22:12):
I'm what a great hire that was. Bobby Wilson, the
catching instructor.

Speaker 1 (22:15):
He's as good as there is, Will Venable, Tony Beasley,
Tim Hires, Donnie ecker Ton, ton of experience there. And
you look across on the other side, young team, but
experienced coaching staff for Toy Levello, Jeff Banister, another former
manager who's the bench coach for for Tory LEVELO, Damian Easley,
Joe Mayther, Brent Strom of course, been around forever, Dave McKay,

been around forever, Tony Perischica, Mike Fetter is one of
your guys. I mean, that's a lot of experience. Those
are the two teams that got to the World Series.
I don't think it's an accident. So I think when
you put his staff together again, use that word blend, Joe.

Speaker 2 (22:56):
It's so important.

Speaker 1 (22:57):
But I know in those big moments in real time,
when you can't go to the iPad or the computer,
you better have someone who can use actionable intelligence and
use it.

Speaker 2 (23:07):

Speaker 4 (23:08):
Yeah, you got to have your eyes on the field.
You can't have them on an iPad all the time.
And if you could break it down, like all those
guys you've spoken about, they're all analytical. What do you
think we've been doing for the last forty years when
we've been teaching in the minor leagues, whether it's in
a minor league situation or in a major league situation.

Speaker 3 (23:25):
You're analyzing constantly.

Speaker 4 (23:27):
And all these guys have their own methods. I know
Dave McKay's got his own method at first base as
an example, Mike Vetter's in the bullpen.

Speaker 3 (23:34):
He'll set it up a certain way based on his
years of experience too.

Speaker 4 (23:38):
The analytical it's not analytics driven through a boxer computer.
It's analytics driven through years of note taking, years of
mental note taking. So when it comes to a particular moment,
it's the blink thing. You could draw on all of
this stuff into cauldron of your brain that has been
stirring it up there for years based on experience, and

you're able to draw on that and that thought in
a moment. I mean, could talk about like so many
differ we have you and I have about different things
in my past that it is an analytical moment, not
based on something that's been handed to me via a spreadsheet,
but that I've that I've lived or been through, whether
it was in Midland, Texas, or Peoria, Illinois, or wherever

it might have been. And in the moment that's necessary, boom,
it jumps to the front of your mind. And again
I could start blurting out different examples right now, but
I'm not going to go there. But that's it. I mean,
analytics is a word. It's a word, and sometimes the
word is very controversial, quite frankly, and I think that's

part of the problem. Everybody, here's the word analytics, and whoa.
It goes up the force field of defense shields, stay
away from me. I don't want any of that. That's
it's almost like it's almost like COVID in a sense.
That's not what it's about. Analytics is really solid, good information,
but I think it's given too much credit for success.

And quite frankly, it's it's necessary because you want to
stay up with the other group, and you want to
look for the little hidden factoids in there that's gonna
you might bring to like a picture that's struggling, or
a hitter that's struggling, even a defender that's struggling, And
it might be a thought or two, but at the
end of the day, it's just a nugget out of

this vast reams of information. And then it takes the
analytical genius of the coach who has actually done this
for so many years, and you cambine that that that
analytical nugget that maybe this coach cannot have ascertained on
his own, he gets it, and then he combines.

Speaker 3 (25:46):
That with what he knows, and.

Speaker 4 (25:48):
Now you got yourself a pretty darn good coach. So
it's the word analytics more than anything that creates this disparity, discrepancy,
This this controversy, and it's we need to get away
from that. Information is good, then you need to get
combined it with the blend of those that accumulate this information,

with those that actually know how to teach and not
necessarily just be a presenter.

Speaker 1 (26:14):
Yeah, maybe that's where the advantages lie now, those of
the present. But as long as we're talking about coaches, Joe,
can you explain to me why coaches aren't paid more money?
I mean, it is unbelievable when you think about we
just talked about tai Oscar Hernandez, right, I mean, listen,
I know he's been a Silver Slugger and All Star,
but this guy who strikes out a third of the time,

doesn't hit for average, didn't hit for power last year,
and he's making twenty three and a half million dollars.
And yet the inflation or evaluation of players and the
way that that's increased has not really reached the coaching
level at all. I mean, it's amazing, and you think
about more and more as being asked of these coaches.

Speaker 2 (26:56):
I had a coach last.

Speaker 1 (26:57):
Year tell me a team one of them near twelve
thirty in the afternoon for seven o'clock games, It's just
amazing the amount of work that they have to put in.
If you're a heading coach, these guys want to hit constantly, constantly,
and the pay hasn't really changed. I remember your guy
Chili Dave is telling me years ago that if you're

a coach and you're working, especially in a major market,
you're lucky if you actually net money over the course
of the season, because you have to get a rental
somewhere at a major city, and a lot of times
you can't get a six month rental in a decent place.
It's got to be a twelve month rental. Even if
you're lucky enough to get a six month rental, there's
the cost of that in a major market not cheap.

And the fact that teams want you there early means
a lot of times, especially on the road, you have
to find your own transportation to the ballpark, getting back
and forth. You know, these things start to add up.
And we haven't even talked about the amount of man
hours these jobs require. So we talk a lot about
and we've done it here the importance of having a
good coaching staff and the difference they can make, and

yet the valuation in terms of what these guys are paid.
Really hasn't changed much over the years, Joe, Can you
explain what's going on here other than they take advantage
of the fact that there's only so many of these jobs,
and these guys are baseball lifers who want those jobs.

Speaker 4 (28:19):
Yeah, first of all, maybe they should get paid by
the hour, right, If they walked in there and asked
to be paid by the hour as opposed to a salary,
they did, they would the ownership, the front officers would
run away from that. These guys do spend that much
time in a clubhouse.

Speaker 3 (28:35):
They do. And it's not only that. It's like I've
had hitting coaches.

Speaker 4 (28:39):
Like John Mayley, for instance, in Chicago. Johnny would go
over from where he lived near Wrigley. He'd go to
the clubhouse in the morning to get ready for the
game that night. And there's not you can't. You can't
convince me yet all that time was necessary. You cannot
convince me of that. It's not true. There's gonna be
diminishing returns of staring at a screen. There's I mean,

you really can't focus that law that hard every day.
And I used to tell them, Johnny Police, they don't
go there that early. I want you to stay away,
get a little bit rest, come in there fresh. Those
are the kind of thoughts I had. It's really, i
want to say, devolved into it. I mean, there's only
so much work you need to get done in a day,

and all this early stuff, a lot of the early
reporting for years is just about drinking coffee and watching
TV or playing cards. That was a big part of
coming to the park early. Now they get there early
and they sit and they look at laptops, computers, whatever,
or sheets, and they somehow believe that by looking at
all this stuff it's going to make them better. If

it was that easy, who would ever lose? I mean,
it's always going to be about having better players. If
you have better players, then the amount of time necessary
to pour over this stuff might become minimized or obviously
less important. But anyway, it's overblown.

Speaker 3 (30:00):
Quite frankly, it is.

Speaker 4 (30:01):
I prefer a well rested mind and body getting just
the requisite amount of work on a daily boat a
basis as opposed to the eyewash guys. I'm telling you
they're out there. It's too much. You don't need all
that stuffy they swing themselves out of into slumps. And anyway,
that's that's a pet peeve of mine. Obviously, why don't
they get paid more because the front office wise, they

really feel that they're they're they're discardible. I mean, we
could get another one, we could get another one of
these coaches. We're gonna use this guy, use this guy,
and if the player doesn't match up to what the
the perceived number should be in regards to hitting, whatever
it might be pitching, then the coach is going to
be the guy to take the hit. And thus, if
I don't have a lot of money invested in this guy,

then it's easier to get rid of them. Quite frankly,
you're talking about coaching staff's the ability. Really, that's the
way to do it.

Speaker 3 (30:52):

Speaker 4 (30:52):
You get you find the best, you believe to be
the best in the industry. You hire these guys and
you pay them and you keep them. That's I don't
even know how many wins that's gonna be worth on
an annual basis if you're smart and to do something
like that, because it's going to be worth wins annually,
it's going to be that. That's stability manager of the
coaching staff of the players. Every time you report the

spring training gets an easier walk in the front door.

Speaker 3 (31:18):
Too many times these guys.

Speaker 4 (31:20):
Are blamed for when a player goes poorly, and sometimes
they're given too much credit when they go well. It's
it's about hiring better players. If you want a better team,
spend a more a couple more bucks, get better players,
improve your scouting a development department, and then everybody else
is going to start looking better. But it's the fact
that they're they're fine, They're they're almost disposable in a

lot of people's minds coaches, and because of that, the
salaries are going to remain low. But I'm here to
tell you, like I just said, I would hire if
I had the opportunity, whom I perceived to be the best,
and would pay them, and I would want to keep them.

Speaker 1 (31:55):
I'm glad you brought up stability because obviously you knew
that with the Angels when you were part of that staff.
Your staff with Tampa Bay a lot of stability. I
mentioned the Dodgers, the stability that they have over the
last six seven, eight years under Dave Roberts. To me,
that's so important, Joe. If you notice a lot of
these coaches, they just get hired somewhere else. So I

almost feel like front offices feel like they have to
do something, you know, if the performance isn't what they
think it should be or what their charts suggested it
should be, they have to make a change. Usually a
pitching coach, hitting coach, sometimes the base coaches changed for
the sake of change. I can't stand that, and I
think there's so there's so much to be gained by stability.

I remember talking to Chad Mattola, the hitting coach with
the Rays and the Rays that pretty good stability there
with Kevin Cash, and he talked about having even having
the same players as well.

Speaker 2 (32:48):
Stability is so big.

Speaker 1 (32:49):
You can just build on the foundation that you've built,
rather than, as he said, every year, trying to build
a foundation with a new group of guys. And I
remember Mike, you've seen it when he came to the
Yankees as a free agent. I don't know how many
pitching coaches he had in Baltimore in his six years.

Speaker 2 (33:03):
There was something like four or five or six.

Speaker 1 (33:06):
Like every year the pitching coach would change and someone
would come in with new ideas, and you have to
reinvent yourself. You never get to that four hundred level
class with your teacher. When the coaching staff flips over
so many times, so listen, sometimes you do need to
make a change. I get it, But change for the
sake of change is not worth risking. I think the

bonus that you get from stability, I'll.

Speaker 4 (33:28):
Tell you, quite frankly, before you go on. I think
the whole time I was doing that, from the Rays
through the Cubs to the Angels, there might have been
two coaches that I would have let go from the
original group that I got. Maybe three, that's it. I
maybe one in Tampa, maybe one in Chicago. One with

the Angels.

Speaker 3 (33:50):
That's it.

Speaker 4 (33:51):
Otherwise for me, if it was up to me to retain,
quite frankly, I would not. And furthermore, I've always thought
this too, and this goes back to my instructionally training
when I as a running the minor league system. If
I had to let a coach go or a manager
go the next year, if we did, I felt it
was my fault. I felt two things. I failed on

the hiring process. I did not hire properly, and then
b I did not train properly. I was not there
for this person properly. So that's part of it that
nobody ever considers. When you have to let people go constantly,
Come on, that's a bad process regarding how you're hiring
these people in the first place. When I took a
player to Instructional League and then we had to release

the next spring training.

Speaker 3 (34:37):
I wanted a job. I wanted to kill myself.

Speaker 4 (34:39):
I mean, that was like the worst thing I could
possibly do as a field coordinator is to push for
somebody to come to instructional League and by next spring
training you got to let this guy go. That's poor
decision making on my part. And those are the kind
of thoughts or items that nobody considers, I don't think enough.
So when you're constantly making change, that means your hiring

process is pretty flawed.

Speaker 2 (35:01):
Bench coaches, what do they do? How important are they?
We need to dive into that and we'll do that
next Welcome back to the Book of Joe.

Speaker 1 (35:20):
Whenever I see new managers hired, I'm always curious who's
going to be their right hand man, who's going to
be their Don Zimmer, who's going to be their bench coach?
Right I think it says a lot about the manager,
his comfort level. I think it's super important for a
front office to allow manager to hire his own bench coach.
You really have to work hand in glove with your

be coach. So you want a relationship that's already been established,
rather than hoping you've found the right one. So let
me go through some of the bench coaches that were
hired along with the new managers this year. I mentioned
the Giants and Bob Melbyn. He brought back Ryan Christiansen
with him. They were great in San Diego. Brings him
over there again. Another guy with a lot of experience,

a very experienced Giants coaching staff, Pat Murphy in Milwaukee
gets Ricky Weeks Junior. I good to see Ricky getting
an opportunity now at the big league level. So I
guess Murph, being a bench coach himself, all his experience,
he can quote unquote break in a new guy, no
problem there. Steven Voight with Cleveland brings in Craig almanas

they know each other from coaching and playing with the Giants,
so both on the younger side. But again there's a
chemistry already established. Ron Washington with the Angels keeps Ray
Montgomery there. Carlos Mendoza, new manager New York Mets hires
John Gibbons.

Speaker 2 (36:43):
I love that hire. I think that's really good. Gibbey,
going back to his playing days, started in the Mets system.

Speaker 1 (36:50):
By the way, he was my manager with the Blue
Jays when I spent spring training with the Blue Jays.
Great dude, I can see why players love playing for him.
Good to see him back in the game. I thought
that was a great hire.

Speaker 2 (37:01):

Speaker 1 (37:01):
Spata rather Joe Espata with the Astros brings actually promotes
Omar Lopez was the first base coach in the Cubs.
Craig Counsel has Ryan Flaherty came over from the Padres
where you a lot of sway with Bob Melvin staff there.

Speaker 2 (37:18):
This is interesting.

Speaker 1 (37:19):
Mike Schilt gets the job in San Diego and did
not designate a bench coach. I mean, he's got a
lot of people sharing different responsibilities, but nobody with that hire. So, Joe,
what stands out for you when you think about bench
coaches in this round of hires of new managers.

Speaker 4 (37:36):
First off, I love Gibbee too. I thought John Gibbons
was a very good game manager in Toronto.

Speaker 2 (37:41):
And excellent, by the way, especially with Bullpens.

Speaker 4 (37:45):
I thought it was really good. You had to be
on your toes with Johnny. I used to love my
conversations with them too. Okay for the bench coach, stop
thinking about strategy. I mean, I think to a certain extent,
probably Zim and Tory discussed strategy as much as anybody.
But I'm here to tell you as a as a manager,
did not need my bench coach to provide a lot

of strategy for me, because, Wow, I get locked in
during the game.

Speaker 3 (38:09):
And it's not an egotistical thing by any means.

Speaker 4 (38:12):
My thoughts race pretty pretty quickly, and you when people
start talking to you too much during a game, it
could only interfere with that process. If I needed something,
I would ask for it. And then, like for instance,
when Davey Martinez was around, if you're with the guy
for a while, just like you're talking about with these fellows,
an easier interjection somebody that you've been around and he

knows how you're thinking, and maybe you just missed something
and he realizes you talked about it before and he'll
jump right in there.

Speaker 3 (38:41):
So love that.

Speaker 4 (38:42):
But it was not a strategical position by any means.
I don't think, especially for an experienced manager. You've talked
about I'll be with voter Albi was. They were both
together with the race. That's where it started. Albi's got
one of the best throwing strokes I've ever seen in
my life.

Speaker 3 (38:56):
He's gonna throw great VP people.

Speaker 4 (38:58):
The other thing is having a good bench bench coach.
What he's there to do is to permit the manager
to intellectualize the day. He does all the minutia. He
does all the other work, whether it's the putting together
the lineup stuff on paper, bringing information together, disseminating information,
and also there might be a couple of tough conversations

that need to be had that the manager does not
need to know about. A good bench coach will clear
that up before it ever gets to you. He really
permits you to walk in the door and do what
you got to do, which is manage the game. It's
a lot of it's talking to the press, maybe some
of it is talking to a couple of different players,
whatever it might be. But there's a lot of conversations

going on here, and it just really absorbs a lot
of your day. There might be a couple guys that
you want to talk to, a couple of things that
you want to touch on that day too when you
walk in the door. So for me, the bench coach,
get away from the strategical thing. It's not about strategy.

Speaker 1 (39:57):
It's interesting because you do think about Zim and Toy
and strategy was definitely part of their relationship. And it
goes back to your line that from Don Zimmer to you,
you know, if it comes to your mind, go ahead
and do it. And you know Joe Tory from the beginning,
and they actually didn't know each other that well when
they were put together in ninety six with the Yankees,
but Zimmer was great at bringing up just ideas, Hey Joe,

how about starting the runner here?

Speaker 2 (40:25):
Or Hey, who's got next inning?

Speaker 1 (40:27):
If we take the lead here, And yeah, it didn't
mean that Joe Tory listened to Don Zimmer every time,
but that was a voice in his ear that made Joe.
I think it made Joe a little more aggressive and
putting things on And sometimes you have to say, that's
a great idea, Zim, but thanks, no thanks. But they
had that relationship where they could Zim could bounce an

idea off Joe and if he didn't use it, it
certainly wasn't personally taken personally by Don Zimmer. So that
to me is sort of I mean, to me, Zimmer
kind of defined that position, Joe. It really wasn't a
designated position until on Zimmer put a name in a
face and an idea to it. So that's our idea
now of what a bench coach is like. This guy

is sort of the eyes and ears for a manager
and can can help with strategy. But you're telling me
that maybe it's not all that much of a strategic position.

Speaker 4 (41:20):
Well, when I took the job over as a bench
coach in ninety six, right, yeah, yeah, ninety six, nobody
there was no There was no template for that, and
I thought I had to define what a bench coach
does exactly we're talking about right now, And for me,
that's everything I talked about intellectualizing. The day I created
all these charts. You talk about charts, I used to

wallpaper the wall of the dugout every day with different charts,
whether the council, the team's going to run on, break down,
a splits right versus right versus left, the way I
would set up different colors right left and switch hitters.
I would do all this stuff all day long in
order to have this stuff on the wall from my
manager that night. Quite frankly, I did a lot of

the stuff that's being done now began when I started
doing this in the mid nineties, because I even in Arizona,
a lot of the coaches out there would ask me.

Speaker 3 (42:16):
About my stuff and I would give them.

Speaker 4 (42:19):
I would print some stuff out for them, give it
to them so that they could take and run with
it themselves. So a lot of this for me was
again to supplement my manager.

Speaker 3 (42:28):
If you to Thom's my manager.

Speaker 4 (42:31):
And you asked me for something during the game that
now you asked me a question and I didn't have
that answer, and I did not have it on the board,
It's there the next night, and it's there every night
after that. So it's kind of a living document for
me regarding how it would feed my manager on a
nightly basis. It was a lot of it was based
on things that I had done in the past, and

because a lot of these managers, whether it was Marsol
or TC or whatever, they had never really done this
either themselves, so it was new to them. So they're
watching it, they're seeing it, and they're bringing their little
suggestions to me, and just keep feeding this document keep
feeding this document, and it would take me from about
twelve thirty every day till like about five o'clock in

the afternoon during VP to get all my stuff done
and then ready to be posted on the wall and
presented to the team.

Speaker 3 (43:20):
So that's that's what I did as a bench coach.
I was there to make it easier for my manager.

Speaker 4 (43:28):
I was there to again, during the game, think about
this strategically speaking, anything I might say to my manager.
If in fact my conversation or my thoughts weren't necessarily
good ones, this guy's gonna have to answer for it
after the game. And that's what I used to think
to myself. So if I wanted to present to my
manager at all, I could not take it lightly. It

had to be something I was really convicted about, really
convicted to, And that's the only time I would present
a thought to him.

Speaker 3 (43:58):
Because I'm telling you, man, I.

Speaker 4 (44:00):
Managed so many years in the minor leagues and I
was around that So in my mind during any game,
I don't like it to be interrupted. I like that
train of thought, that stream of consciousness, it's really what
it is. When it gets interrupted, sometimes well it just
I never get angry, but it takes me off my
game a little bit, quite frankly.

Speaker 3 (44:18):
So that's my definition of a bench coach.

Speaker 4 (44:21):
That's what I did as a bench coach, and that
was my interpretation mid nineties that I built upon until
I stopped doing it in two thousand and six. And
quite frankly, a lot of other dudes that became bench
coaches would ask me about the stuff I was doing
that they would present the same thing on the walls
to their manager.

Speaker 1 (44:41):
Well, let me give you two examples where I think,
you know, having a bench coach who can present ideas
to a manager, you know, to me, again, you don't
want to do it, you know, every single pitch, but
it can be a benefit. I think about Game seven
of the two thousand and one World Series and Zim
and Tory are sitting next to each other as they

always did, and funds of Sorianna was at the plate
against Kurt Shilling, and the game is tied at that point,
and Zim needs to ask Joe, well, who do you
want to pitch the next inning? You know, and Soriano
pops one out of the ballpark and now they have
a lead, and they laugh because now it was obvious
that Mariano Rivera was coming into the game, but just

asking that question at that particular time, and it didn't
mean that Joe Tory hadn't thought about it, but you're
thinking out loud, for lack of a better phrase. And
the other example to me, I was at a game
in the postseason this year where I saw the bench
coach go up to the manager and say, hey, we
really should run for our guy at second base right here.

Speaker 2 (45:43):
It was a close game.

Speaker 1 (45:44):
The guy at second base didn't have a lot of speed,
one of the better hitters, but at that point in
scoring position, it would not have happened unless the bench
coach went up to the manager and said, hey, we
probably should get a runner in at second base. So
I guess what I'm saying, Joe, there must be times
where you want to empower your bench coach to get
involved with strategy because the manager doesn't know everything. He's

you know, he's not all knowing, and just having someone
who again like Zimmer, to present information where you don't
feel threatened or challenged, that's the ideal situation for me.

Speaker 4 (46:19):
No, those are great examples though that You're absolutely right,
I misrepresented. That's those are little moments like that, And
that's what I'm saying, like Davey would know, because what
you want to do in moments like that before the
inning begins, you set that stuff up before the inning begins.
You you look at your lineup, you're trying to figure out,
you know, what may happen, talk to the pitching coach

and if it works out this way, I want this
guy ready. If things change, We're going to get this
spella ready. And that that's a conversation before anything begins.
And regarding your your pinch hitting and your pinch running
during the course of the eating again, that's something.

Speaker 3 (46:54):
Yes, you do discuss that with.

Speaker 4 (46:55):
Your bench coach before the inning begins because you want
him on that same sheet of music. And again you
want everything happening a little bit in advance and not
waiting to the last moment. There are times, Yeah, you're
gonna get caught with your pants down once in a while,
there's no question.

Speaker 3 (47:09):
And it does happen.

Speaker 4 (47:10):
And yes, a really good bench coach I have a
good report with is gonna remind you. And quite frankly,
the National League game was more set up for that
for the bench coach. The National League game as it
was Wow, there's some crazy stuff going on in a game,
and that's where people kind of pupoo that or you know,

didn't really understand and realize how complicated that.

Speaker 3 (47:34):
Can get and how fast it can get.

Speaker 4 (47:36):
Yes, a really good bench coach, and that's what I
was saying with Davy. He was really because that was
my time with the Cubs. He was there with me
pretty much the whole time. And then I had Hider
Brandon Hyde, and I also had Mark Loretta for a
bit there too, but Davy and then Hyder was really
good too. But no, you're right, I misrepresented what you
were talking about.

Speaker 3 (47:56):
I was thinking in different situations, different ways. But yeah,
you set it up before the enning begins.

Speaker 4 (48:01):
You talk to your guy and he has all these
things laid out so that when the when, the when
the moment is necessary, he has people ready.

Speaker 3 (48:09):

Speaker 1 (48:10):
All right, now, I have to put you on the spot, Joe,
since we're talking about bench coaches, and I mentioned six
or seven former managers have come back and been hired
as bench coaches, and even one of your great mentors,
Gene Mack, late in his career, actually late in his life,
he came back to be a bench coach with Kansas
City for Bob Boone, is that anything like that interests

you in terms of coming back to the game as
a bench coach. I know, in the right situation, you
still got managing in your blood, there's no question about that.
Does the same apply to being somebody's bench coach.

Speaker 4 (48:44):
It'd have to again, be the right guy, like you're
just talking about. Yeah, my ego doesn't get away in
the way of that whatsoever. It'd have to be an
interesting spot with the right kind of fellow, with the
right Again, it's always about the conversation. Somebody would have
to approach and tell me exactly what they're thinking and why,
And there'd have to be an absolute philosophical fit to

do something like that. But yeah, that's not I'm not
a post of that whatsoever. You know, things like that
are very interesting to me. It's all about defining exactly
what the expectations are in advance and making sure that
I'm able to fulfill those expectations. But yeah, that'd be
that'd be kind of fun too, to be with the
right group, the right guy, the right situation, the right city,

everything all about that.

Speaker 3 (49:31):
It would be rather interesting, Yes.

Speaker 1 (49:33):
And for someone who has not managed before. Do you
believe that the bench coach position is a good training
ground to be a manager? Like, if I'm a general
manager and I'm looking to hire someone, the fact that
someone's been a bench coach and maybe has or has
not minor league experience managing, but being a major league
bench coach, does that prepare you well for the job

of managing.

Speaker 3 (49:57):
I think it does.

Speaker 4 (49:57):
I think there's a lot to be said for that
if the manager gives you a lot of responsibilities, like
I said, with Marcel and Terry and so they gave
me like god out of wide berth there, man, I
was able to do a lot of different things. And again,
when you're talking about this, you know it's confusing the
word strategy. A lot of it to me is about

preparation and then it's being like right there at the
guy's side during the course of the game to take
whatever he might say to you and and make sure
that it gets enacted.

Speaker 3 (50:29):
But yeah, all that.

Speaker 4 (50:30):
Stuff is extremely interesting, and so yes, all of that
stuff is definitely would be on the table for me
to get Like with the right situation, the right people,
the right guy, it could be it could be kind
of fun.

Speaker 1 (50:45):
Actually, well this has been fun, Joe, because it's it's
kind of sort of an interest of mine, and I
think you touched on this.

Speaker 2 (50:53):
Coaches tend to get too much blame.

Speaker 1 (50:55):
Sometimes or a lot of times, and in some cases
too much credit when things go right. But I don't
think a lot of fans realize what Ben coaches and
coaches in general do and and the amount of time
they put in. So thanks for adding your experience and
expertise to this because I think it is illuminating for
a lot of fans.

Speaker 3 (51:15):
Well yeah, and.

Speaker 4 (51:15):
Again, I just want to cover that one more time
because it sounded wrong. I think when I said I
was not looking for strategy, it's just a different version
of it. It's kind of like a sounding board. It's
like a backboard. He's going to bounce things back at you.
And again, it's a good conversation with the right guy.
With the right bench coach, it's a constant conversation during

the game. Same thing with your pitching coach. There's a
constant conversation going.

Speaker 3 (51:41):
On during the game.

Speaker 4 (51:42):
And when I had Mike Borsella with the Cubs, it's
a constant conversation going on about pitching during the game
and catching, so there's always a conversation going on. And
the big thing is to have somebody that you really
trust and you feel strongly and good about.

Speaker 3 (51:56):
And then you get this.

Speaker 4 (51:57):
Actually it's teamwork, and it's a great little team you
got going on. And a big part about that is
that you're not going to miss anything.

Speaker 1 (52:03):
Well, Joe, always have some appropriate words of wisdom to
take us out, and knowing you, you probably have something
from a coach or especially a teacher to take us
out this time because you seem to anticipate topics I did.

Speaker 4 (52:19):
It's so interesting. I got like two of them written
down Victor Hugo. It was about change, and he talked
about change your opinions, but keep to your principles, change
your leaves, but keep your roots intact. It's so like
on the money. Then I had Oscar Wild be yourself

because everyone else has already taken. I mean, that's that's
what you want with all these positions. You want you
want that person to show up. You want to be
able to be part of a group see see and
understand other people's opinions and thoughts, but you always have
to hold to your principles. Change your leaves, the color
of your leaves, your leaves fall every fall. But you've

got to keep the roots intact and in order to
really be beneficial to a group. I mean, if you're
constantly changing to the point where you're getting uprooted all
the time and you have nothing really substantial to add
to a conversation, that's not good either. So I really
liked this today and everything you're talking about with the
bench coach, I think.

Speaker 1 (53:22):
It applies so well said you came through again. I'm
not surprised. This has been fun. Joe, appreciate it.

Speaker 3 (53:29):
Thanks Tommy, good job, Buddy. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (53:39):
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