Sources: Dodgers, Honeycutt in contract talks
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are in talks to retain pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and also are interested in former Angels All-Star Darin Erstad for their manager job, according to baseball sources.
The Dodgers did not comment on either Honeycutt or Erstad.
The 61-year-old Honeycutt and the club are working on a multiyear contract despite last week's departure of manager Don Mattingly, who is about to be named manager of the Miami Marlins. Honeycutt apparently could join Mattingly in Miami.
But Honeycutt has been the Dodgers' pitching coach for 10 years, spanning the managerial tenures of Grady Little, Joe Torre and Mattingly. His return would assure a degree of continuity for the next manager, whether it's one of the internal candidates -- Gabe Kapler, Ron Roenicke and Tim Wallach -- or an outsider. That rumored list includes varied candidates such as Erstad, Jason Varitek, Dave Roberts, Ron Gardenhire, Ron Washington, Dave Martinez and Rocco Baldelli.
In Honeycutt's time as Dodgers pitching coach, the staff has led the league in most critical pitching categories and he has overseen the progression of ace Clayton Kershaw, who has won three Cy Young Awards and an MVP. Honeycutt could have a fourth Cy Young win if Zack Greinke beats out Jake Arrieta of the Cubs next month.
Erstad, 41, is currently the head coach at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, where he has gone 139-91 in four seasons. He has one year remaining on his contract at a salary of $163,200, plus bonuses, and a friend said it would take "an earth-shaking offer" to sign him.
Erstad would be an out-of-the-box managerial candidate, having never coached or managed in professional baseball. He would be a more logical candidate to succeed Kapler as the Dodgers' farm director, if Kapler were to be hired as manager.
The first overall pick in the 1995 Draft, Erstad played the first 11 of 14 Major League seasons with the Angels, including their World Series champion team of 2002.
He was a two-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner at three positions and won a Silver Slugger in his best season of 2000, hitting .355 with career-highs 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. He played one season with the White Sox and two with the Astros before retiring after the 2009 season. He was a volunteer coach at Nebraska in 2011 before being hired as head coach the following year.
Erstad does not have any obvious links to the Dodgers' front office, but the coaching staff for most of his time in Anaheim included Joe Maddon, who was hired to manage Tampa Bay by current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
A two-time academic all-conference selection, Erstad was also the starting punter for the Huskers' 1994 national championship football team, helping Nebraska to a 13-0 record. He was the Angels' recipient of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award for his efforts in the Southern California community.