Bring Back Dave Wallace

It's against baseball etiquette to talk about anything else but the playoffs, especially when you are in them, but the Dodgers would be wise to immediately consider bringing Dave Wallace into the fold. Wallace was let go this week as Red Sox pitching coach.

Wallace was, as Dodgers fans know, the longtime minor league pitching coordinator for the Dodgers, kept in the minors because Ron Perranoski was the longtime pitching coach for manager Tommy Lasorda.

Wallace was, as we were to find out, the personal pitching coach for Orel Hershiser during Orel's great years. The cerebral Hershiser somehow managed to have videotapes of his pitching efforts overnighted to Wallace to comment on and for them (Orel and Dave) to quiety discuss. The system, or non system, worked to everyone's advantage.

Has anyone noticed the absolutely superior job Orel has done in the ESPN broadcasting booth? He attracted great interest in a Dodgers position last fall, but fell by he wayside 'cuz as somebody said, he hadn't done those jobs before.

Well, he'd never been a regular broadcaster before either, and he's already as smooth, as informative, as prepared and as entertaining as anybody this side of Vin Scully.

A note to the wise.

Wallace finally got his shot with the Dodgers big club and before you know it, he was acting general manager.

He could have had the job if he had wanted it, but with the O'Malley family gone, Wallace could see there would be some growing pains around the Dodgers. He beat it, first to the Mets and then the Red Sox.

Now, a look at the Dodgers pitching in the past decade shows that they haven't been at or near the top of the heap since Wallace left. They are not now pitching heavy, in talent, in the minors, in the majors, in instructors, in program, in coaching, in ANY dimension. When Wallace was there, they were. When he was not, they were not.

An accident? Nope!

We are a firm believer that had the observant and brainy Dave Wallace been around, Eric Gagne would have avoided at least one major injury, would not have missed most of the past two seasons, and would still be in play as the key to the Dodgers pitching staff.

Wallace also had a team of pitching savvy guys around him whilst he was with the Dodgers. One was Guy Conti, the current Mets bullpen coach. There were others.

Now Wallace is no stranger to Ned Colletti. And he certainly is no stranger to manager Grady Little as they were a pair in Boston.

In exiting Boston - or more properly being exited - Wallace said the one thing that perplexed him in his four Boston years was that he was never once asked for his opinion about a player transaction being contemplated in all that time. If that be true, it surely is one of the reasons the Red Sox didn't do better this year.

If, as our colleague Billy Shelley hints, minor league field coordinator Terry Collins is considering taking his class act back to the managing bench in Japan, the Dodgers should lock up Dave Wallace into that job yesterday.

That is unless he wants to be in the big leagues, in which case, he should be offered his choice of big league pitching coach or assistant GM - also yesterday.

Just making the playoffs assures continued employement for Grady Little, especially since he has a two year contract, and even more especially since he was the Dodgers owners personal choice for the job (both Colletti and Tommy Lasorda wanted fellow paison Jim Fregosi for the job).

But the Florida Marlins have just made one of the biggest managerial boners of all time in dismissing first year manager Joe Girardi.

The Marlins have a young George Steinbrenner type as owner, except that the Marlins owners doesn't have any of Steinbrenner's upside, i.e., real experience, real money, real background in baseball, etc.

The Marlins guy is well, just a young airhead. No wonder Girardi, a baseball purist, clashed with this jerk. Now somebody else will get a shot at Girardi, right on the heels of his smash first year audition. They love Girardi in Wrigley Field, and he's likely to end up there before the World Series begin.

This could, for the Dodgers, be page two in the Scioscia syndrome, i.e., the Dodgers could have and should have had Mike Scioscia as manager. They could have a shot at Girardi if they go after him now, which they will not, and which they may pay the price for later.

Players are getting cut loose fast and furiously. The Washington Nats just cut loose two ex Dodgers pitchers, starter Pedro Julio Astacio and reliever Felix Rodriguez. Either might have some baseball left. Either might be a nice sign for Las Vegas, the Dodgers Triple A club.

Who is Tommy Lasorda gonna talk to? Septuaginarians Frank Robinson and Felipe Alou have been jettisoned, as has Dusty Baker, no spring chicken either.

Now Charley Manuel may get a year's reprieve, and Little looks like he'll be back, but neither of them speak a language that is anything like what Lasorda can understand. (Manuel and Little speaking an obscure dialect of the 'ole southern mumbling art-form of 'speaking').

Besides at 79 now, Lasorda ain't got the time to wait for the slow talking Manuel and Little to get a sentence out.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories