Tot's Thoughts - 10-29-10

Matt Herges ... home again

General manager Ned Colletti said that the Dodgers' 2011 payroll will increase from the 2010 payroll, but would not give a figure. Last year's drop in payroll coincided with uncertainty in ownership resulting from the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. Making his life easier is the removal of some $15 million in payroll for players who saw little or no action on the field in 2010.

The list of players who were on the payroll, if not on the field in a Dodgers uniform, in 2010 include Juan Pierre, Andrew Jones, Manny Ramirez, Jason Schmidt, Orlando Hudson, Nomar Garciaparra, Ramon Ortiz, Will Ohman and Jason Repko.

Forward contract for Schmidt ($2.5 million), Hudson ($1.4), Garciaparra ($1.25), Ortiz ($1), Ohman ($200,000) and Repko ($125,000) all were paid off by the end of the season. Jones is owed four more payments of $3.2 million through 2014, Ramirez two of $3.3 million in 2011 and 2012 and Pierre one in $3.5 for 2011.

As the man said when he saw two trains racing toward each other on the same track, "That's a strange way to run a business."

The Dodgers had an $83 million payroll in 2010, down from $105 million the previous year. By the end of the 2010 season -- after accounting for the addition of Ted Lilly ($33 million over three years) and subtractions for other salary the Dodgers spent around $93 million.

The Dodgers have eight players who are eligible for free agency -- Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Rod Barajas, Jay Gibbons, Reed Johnson, Scott Podsednik, Jeff Weaver and Brad Ausmus, who announced his retirement at the end of the year. The Dodgers retain exclusive negotiating rights with those players until five days after the end of the World Series.

Colletti said he had interest in bringing back all three starters -- Lilly, Kuroda and Padilla. Kuroda is coming off a $15 million salary and Padilla a $5.025 million salary. Colletti said he also wants to add a reliever and "a position player or two."

Like the politicians on both sides promising to cut taxes and cut the deficit too, it's going to take some kind of balancing act to re-sign the players he wants and add also add "a player or two."

White Out of Running for Mets GM Job
You could hear Dodgers aficionados' cheering in homes across America when it was announced that assistant general manager Logan White is out of the running for general manager of the Mets and will remain with the Dodgers.

White, who is responsible for a number of Dodger players on the roster and many more in the minor leagues, was one of five who were in the running for the Mets' vacancy.

Special assistant to the general manager Mark Wiedemaier, who recently resigned from the Dodgers, was hired Friday as an advance scout by the Diamondbacks. Wiedemaier, who worked 12 seasons for the Dodgers, left the club a week ago, as did White's assistant, scouting director Tim Hallgren, who is reportedly in line for a crosschecker job with Detroit. Although Hallgren was technically the scouting director, White has overseen the Dodgers' Drafts since 2002.

Coaching Staff Nearly Complete
Tim Wallach was been told by Milwaukee that he as no longer a candidate for their managerial vacancy, a development that all but assures Wallach will be the third-base coach for the Dodgers in 2011. Wallach will be returning to the Dodgers' big league staff for the first time since serving as the team's hitting coach under former manager Jim Tracy in 2004-05. Wallach left the organization after that season, but returned in 2009 as manager of the Dodgers' Albuquerque affiliate, a job he held for the past two seasons.

Wallach signed a contract earlier this month to be either the Dodgers' third-base coach or their bench coach, but former Kansas City manager Trey Hillman seems to be the frontrunner for the bench job.

The 47-year-old Hillman managed the Royals from 2008 until he was replaced by Ned Yost on May 13, 2010. Hillman also managed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan League to a championship in 2006, leading to his hiring by the Royals, where he was popular with his players though the club went 152-207.

Hillman managed 12 seasons in the Yankees Minor League system from 1990-2001. He spent three years playing in the Cleveland Minor League system before moving into scouting.

Wallach's replacement as manager at Albuquerque has been tentatively set. Lorenzo Bundy, who preceded Wallach in that job, also will apparently succeed him with the Isotopes. That may change if Bundy lands a major league coaching position.

Bundy left the Dodgers organization after the 2008 season to join the Diamondbacks as first-base coach. However, Melvin was fired 29 games into the 2009 season, and Bundy and third-base coach Chip Hale, a former Dodgers player, were let go after the season. Bundy returned to the Dodgers for 2010, serving as manager of their short-season Rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League.

While an official announcement has not been made, the staff looks like this: Hillman, bench coach; Rick Honeycutt, pitching coach; Jeff Pentland, Chili Davis, Manny Mota, hitting coaches; Tim Wallach, third-base coach; Ken Howell, bullpen coach.

Honeycutt is the longest tenured Dodger coach in uniform, as he will enter his sixth season as Dodger pitching coach. He joined the Dodger organization as a minor league pitching consultant in 2001, and was minor league pitching coordinator from 2002 to 2005 before becoming pitching coach in 2006. Honeycutt pitched for the Dodgers from 1983 to 1987, going 33-45 with a 3.58 ERA.

A new name on the list is three-time All-Star Chili Davis who is serving as a hitting instructor at the Dodgers' Arizona instructional league. Davis, who ranks fourth on the all-time list for home runs by a switch-hitter with 350, has been out of organized baseball since his 1999 retirement from the Yankees, where he won two World Series playing for Joe Torre.

He was hitting coach for the Australian national team for three years, he has interviewed for several other coaching positions and he's currently listed as a recently hired coach at the instructional league, being held at the organization's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex.

"I wanted to get back in the game," the 50-year-old Davis said. "Now I've got one foot in the door." The Jamaican-born Davis grew up in Los Angeles and was drafted by the Giants. He played 19 seasons in the Majors: seven seasons in San Francisco, followed by seven seasons with the Angels sandwiched around two years in Minnesota where he won his first World Series. After the second tour with the Angels, he played one year in Kansas City before joining Torre on the Yankees' World Series title teams of 1998 and 1999.

Davis was known to be a professional hitter, durable player and solid clubhouse influence, especially as a mentor to younger players. He had career highs of 30 home runs in 1997 and 112 RBIs in 1993, but his best season probably was strike-shortened 1994, when he hit .311 with 26 homers and 84 RBIs in only 108 games.

Larry Bowa appears to be out of the coaching picture completely and Mariano Duncan, who has had the first base coaching slot since 2006, was told he could seek a Major League job elsewhere but, if he didn't find one, would have a role in the organization, but not likely on the Major League staff.

A familiar face at instructional league is Matt Herges, hired by the Dodgers as a Minor League pitching instructor. The 40-year-old Herges came up through the Dodgers organization and won 19 games in relief in 2001 and 2002 and then pitched seven other Major League clubs. He spent 2010 at Triple-A for Kansas City.

Dodgers sign Alberta pitcher
Two years ago Alberta's Brant Stickel was pitching for the University of Calgary Dinos baseball club. Last year, the Veteran native was making a name for himself with the Calgary Vipers.

Now, Stickel is a member of the Dodgers organization after he was given a chance to throw a bullpen session for a Dodgers scout in Phoenix, Stickel signed a contract with the National League club and left for winter ball in Venezuela. When he returns this winter from South America, he'll head to spring training with the Dodgers in hopes of one day fulfilling his big-league dreams. Stickel, 23, who was 3-4 with 30 saves and a 3.07 ERA with the Vipers this past summer, said "It's been quite a ride. It's definitely the long way around, but I guess being from Canada, basically you get your chance out of the Independent leagues."

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