The Los Angeles Dodgers went on a firing spree.
The NL West leader has fired 10 coaches in its minor league system this past week. The most notable coach to get canned was Damon Berryhill, who was voted Pacific Coast League Manager of the year at the beginning of the month.
There is only one word to describe Berryhill’s firing: ridiculous.
Berryhill led the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers to an impressive 86-58 record and first place in the American Northern Division. His 86 wins were a new franchise record for Oklahoma City, and what’s even more impressive, he won those 86 games with an ever-changing roster. According to Danny Wild of MiLB.com, Oklahoma City’s roster involved 300 transactions from Los Angeles during the 2015 season.
The LA Dodgers orgainization also parted ways with:
- Oklahoma City hitting coach, Franklin Stubbs
- Tulsa Drillers (AA) manager, Razor Shines
- Great Lakes Loons (Low-A) coaches, Glenn Dishman, Angel Sanchez and Jay Gibbons
- Ogden Raptors (Rookie) hitting coach, Darryl Brinkley
- Arizona League Dodgers manager, Jack McDowell
- Minor League instructors Rick Rhoden and Erik Bedard
So what does all these turnover prove? Well, a couple things. It’s no secret that the main focus of the minor league’s is not winning. In fact, the officials of big league clubs often don’t even celebrate when a minor league affiliate wins a championship, in any organization.
So the fact that the Oklahoma City Dodgers won a record high 86 games is meaningless, in a big picture sense. As you can see in this tweet from the Oklahoma City Dodgers, it was a successful season in the organization’s mind because of its 23 sellouts.
Thank you, OKC Dodgers fans, for an amazing 2015 season! We look forward to seeing you back at the ballpark in 2016! pic.twitter.com/ehaAG2xbQ4
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) September 17, 2015
Former World Series Champion and current director of player development for the LA Dodgers, Gabe Kapler, had the following comment:
“All our Minor League staff put forth a tremendous effort in 2015, and we appreciate all their work and dedication,” Kapler said. “At this moment in time, we wanted to bring in some new voices in some key areas. Our changes should not be viewed as a reflection on any performance; they simply reflect that we are heading in a different direction.”
This illustrates the point exactly that, “our changes should not be viewed as a reflection on any performance,” aka we don’t focus on minor league wins and losses. The point of a MLB farm system is to develop players that will, one day, contribute on the MLB roster. And clearly in the LA Dodgers eyes, this wasn’t happening.
Of all the players on the LA Dodgers current 40-man roster, only 15 players were drafted and developed in the team’s organization — most noteable Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig.
If you’re a Dodgers fan, you have to hope and trust that General Manager Farhan Zaidi knows exactly what he is doing. After all, firing 10 employees in one week sends quite the message, no matter the nature of the business model.