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Former hitting coach Turner Ward left to take the hitting coach job with the Cincinnati Reds. He stated that he wanted to be closer to his family. Dodger right fielder Yasiel Puig will likely miss him the most since he’ll have to kiss someone else every time he hits a home run. So who’s the best candidate to replace Ward?
I think that would be former Dodger Nomar Garciaparra. The current SportsNetLA analyst and broadcaster was a 14-year major leaguer. Garciaparra played with the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Oakland A’s. He spent only three seasons (2006-2008) with the Dodgers and was a 6-time all-star. He won rookie of the year in 1997 after slashing .306/.342/.534 with 209 hits and 30 home runs. He’s a two-time batting champion (1999-2000) when he hit .357 and .372 with Boston respectively. He tallied more than 190 hits in six seasons and slugged 229 career home runs. Needless to say his resume speaks for itself as Garciaparra was one of the most feared hitters in MLB.
What Garciaparra would bring to the job is a contact oriented approach. He was a notorious first pitch swinger and his aggressive hitting approach would be a welcome change to the Dodger’s swing and miss philosophies. As a matter of fact, Garciaparra never struck out more than 100 times in a season and only notched more than 63 whiffs only once early in his career.
We don’t know who the Dodgers have in mind yet for the job, and we don’t know if Garciaparra would be interested in leaving the broadcast booth. But if he were, I think it would be a great fit in the Dodger’s clubhouse. Not only would his hitting strategies work well with the Dodgers, but his experience and hard nosed style is something the Dodgers could use. I think he would work well with the younger Dodger players and be a mentor like presence in the clubhouse. After all Nomar has been there and done that before. He’s certainly no stranger to clutch hitting performances in the late innings of games.