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Dodgers longtime pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to become a front office special assistant

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Rick Honeycutt has been the Dodgers pitching coach under four different Dodgers managers but now, after 14 seasons in the role, he’s hanging up his cleats for, um, whatever shoes a front office special assistant wears. Dodgers president Andrew Friedman told reporters today that Honeycutt is stepping down as pitching coach and that bullpen coach Mark Prior will take over as the club’s pitching coach.

Honeycutt took over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2006 after spending time as the team’s minor league pitching coordinator. He became famous, of course, during his 21-year big league career which saw him reach the postseason in seven different seasons with three different teams. He took home a World Series ring in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics.

Prior, who you’ll remember as a Cubs phenom-turned-cautionary tale about young pitchers’ health, has spent the past several years immersing himself in baseball operations, first for the Padres and then with the Dodgers. He was San Diego’s minor league pitching coordinator for three seasons and then he was hired by the Dodgers as their bullpen coach prior to the 2018 season.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).