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Rick Honeycutt to return as Dodgers pitching coach in 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers plan to bring back nearly their entire major league coaching staff in 2018, including pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

With the exception of assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers, who left to join the Red Sox as hitting coach last week, the rest of manager Dave Roberts’ coaching staff is expected to return intact, with contracts being finalized this week.

There was speculation during the World Series that Honeycutt, whose contract expired at the end of the season, might not return. When Honeycutt, now 63, returned on a two-year deal following the 2015 season, there was speculation that he might transition into a front office role at the end of the deal. But for now he has no plans to take off the uniform.

Longest-tenured Dodgers pitching coaches

Pitching coach Years
Pitching coach Years
Ron Perranoski 14 (1981-94)
Rick Honeycutt 12 (2006-17)
Red Adams 12 (1969-80)
Joe Becker 11 (1955-65)

“He was really energized going through the year. Talking to him during the World Series, from all of our standpoints we all have some unfinished business,” Friedman said. “Honey’s obviously been a part of our past success, and we look forward to him being a part of our success in 2018.”

Next year will be Honeycutt’s 13th season as Dodgers pitching coach. He’s the third-longest tenured pitching coach in baseball, behind Don Cooper of the White Sox (entering his 17th year) and Darren Balsley with the Padres (16th). The dean of major league pitching coaches was Dave Righetti, but he transitioned to the Giants front office in October after 18 seasons as pitching coach in San Francisco.

In Dodgers history, only Ron Perranoski (1981-94) was pitching coach longer than Honeycutt’s 12 years. Between Joe Becker (1955-65), Red Adams (1969-80), Perranoski and Honeycutt, four pitching coaches accounted for 49 of the last 63 seasons.

Make that 50 out of 64.

Roberts, who won 195 games in his first two seasons with the Dodgers and on Monday was named a finalist for National League Manager of the Year after winning the award in 2016, has one more year remaining on his contract plus an option for 2019. Friedman wouldn’t confirm there are talks of a contract extension for Roberts, though he didn’t sound opposed to the idea.

“The most important thing is that we have a good working relationship, and from our standpoint and I think from his as well we expect to work together for a long time,” Friedman said. “We have a lot of goals we want to accomplish together.

“If and when we have something public to share, we will do so. For the most part it’s not something we would ever broadcast step by step.”

UPDATE: There will be at least one more change on the staff, at bullpen catcher.