Dodgers Rumors: Contract With Mark Prior To Become Pitching Coach Being Finalized

Although the Los Angeles Dodgers are retaining Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations and manager Dave Roberts, there’s due to be some shuffling that extends beyond possible changes with the roster.

In what was originally speculated about after the 2017 season, Rick Honeycutt will no longer serve as pitching coach as he instead hold a special assistant role in the Dodgers front office. The decision stemmed from Honeycutt undergoing back surgery prior to Spring Training.

With Honeycutt stepping aside, Friedman indicated the Dodgers were likely to promote Mark Prior from bullpen coach to the club’s new pitching coach.

An official announcement has yet to come, but the Dodgers and Prior reportedly are working toward coming to terms, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:

Dodgers are working to try to finalize deal to make Mark Prior pitching coach

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 29, 2019

Prior joined the Dodgers as bullpen coach ahead of the 2018 season. Before that he was with the San Diego Padres for four years, initially as an assistant in their baseball operations department, then three seasons as the organization’s pitching coordinator.

Although Prior has established familiarity with the Dodgers and their pitching staff, it nonetheless represents a significant change. Even as the organization went through managerial changes, Honeycutt held the role of pitching coach for the past 14 seasons.

He’s overseen a staff that often led the Majors in ERA and other categories, and is credited for assisting pitchers in revitalizing their career or reaching new levels of success.

Honeycutt is fully confident in Prior’s ability to succeed him, touting his preparation and ability to communicate with pitchers. As for Honeycutt, he anticipates spending time with Minor League affiliates to assist with hands-on development at those levels.

In addition to needing to finalize a contract with Prior, the Dodgers also must do so for Friedman. The situation is similar to that of Roberts as he managed last season without a new deal in place.

Like Roberts did last year, Friedman downplayed any concern and said it was merely a matter of time before a contract was in place. Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten had previously indicated his full expectation was that Friedman would remain with the organization.