Meet the new Red Sox coaching staff

The Red Sox announced the coaching staff for the 2012 squad on December 23rd.  It was met with little fan fare but some of these guys will be huge parts of the success or failures of the team.  Here is a look at the new guys on the staff and an old guy with a new position:

Bogar will take his helmet off and move to the bench this season

Bench coach Tim Bogar:  Let’s start with the old guy at the new position.  Bogar had been the Red Sox third base coach for the past two seasons after spending his prior two seasons as the Sox first base coach.  Bogar did not exactly endear himself to Red Sox Nation late last season after he was responsible for several guys running into outs on the base paths.  Now I know that a huge part of the job is to send runners home but running into a few outs doesn’t make a guy a bad person, or even a bad coach.  Dale Sveum has been successful in Milwaukee as hitting coach and bench coach since Red Sox Nation was ready to burn him at the stake for running into a few outs near the end of the 2005 season.  Now he is the manager of the Cubs and was nearly manager of the Red Sox.  Bogar is known as a bright baseball mind and he will be able to use his smarts more effectively as the bench coach of the Sox.  He is familiar with Bobby Valentine, having played a half of a season for him in New York, and Valentine should be a good mentor for Bogar, who seems to be a candidate for a future manager’s position.  He will be less scrutinized in his new position which should make him feel more comfortable.  This was a good move for the Red Sox to make for both parties.  If he is the eventual successor to Valentine people won’t remember guys running into outs if the Sox have success during his tenure as bench coach.

Cuban Alex Ochoa is the Sox new 1st base coach

First Base Coach Alex Ochoa:  Ochoa has actually been bouncing around as a coach and instructor in the Sox minor league system for the past three seasons.  The Cuban born former utility infielder played 8 seasons in the majors followed by 5 over in Japan.  The value that Ochoa brings to the coaching staff is his Latin background.  Ben Cherington is looking to get back into the Latin baseball market and having a native Spanish speaker on the staff is always helpful.  Might Ochoa be a sign that the Sox are prepared to make an effort to bring in Cuban defector Yoennis Cespedes?  Maybe, maybe not but Ochoa was known as a high energy, good clubhouse guy when he was a player and is exactly the type of guy that the Red Sox needed to add to the clubhouse this off season.  His responsibilities are not as important as the rest of the guys and he is in a position that is barely scrutinized.  He should be a pretty good addition to the staff.

Jerry Royster returns from Korea to coach 3B for the Sox

Third Base Coach Jerry Royster:  Royster played 16 seasons at third base for 6 different major league teams.  His first job on a major league coaching staff was with the Colorado Rockies as 3rd base coach.  He joined the Milwaukee Brewers staff in 2002 and was named interim manager of the team after manager Davey Lopes was fired 15 games into the season.  He compiled a 53-94 finish that year and was not retained by the Brewers.  He spent some time managing and coaching in the minor leagues for the Dodgers and Padres organizations after he left Milwaukee.  He went on to manage the Lotte Giants of the Korean League from 2008-2010 and returned to the U.S. after they did not renew his three year contract.  This is his first job on a major league staff since he was the interim manager for the Brewers in ’02.  It will be the first time that he serves as a 3rd base coach since he held the job for the expansion Rockies in 1993.  He has done a lot since then though, include managing a major league team for a year and spending a lot of time managing in the minors.  Of course, like Bogar and Sveum before him, people will judge him on how many guys will run into outs on his watch.  It’s hard to quantify how good of a 3rd base coach he’ll be since he hasn’t done the job in nearly 20 years, so we will have to hold off judgment on Royster until we actually see him do the job but he does bring loads of experience.

New pitching coach Bob McClure moves from Kansas City where he spent the last 6 seasons in the same role

Pitching Coach Bob McClure:  This was the most important position to be filled during the off season.  It was an interesting hire since the Red Sox had hired him just to be a roving pitching instructor for the organization a little earlier in the off season and they had interviewed some highly qualified candidates, former Marlins and Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and Tampa Bay’s AAA pitching coach Neil Allen among them.  McClure pitched for 20 seasons in the majors, 10 with the Milwaukee Brewers.  McClure spent six seasons as pitching coach in the Colorado Rockies organization after his playing career ended.  He got his first major league coaching job in 2006 when he was hired by the Kansas City Royals to be their pitching coach.  He held that job for the past six seasons until he was fired by the Royals after the 2011 season.  It’s a hire that’s received mixed reviews.  On one hand he was fired by the Royals but on the other he did spend 6 seasons on the staff, which is good when you’re on a rebuilding staff I suppose but you can’t help but shake the feeling that Allen would have been a better hire.  Again it looked as if the Sox brass were afraid to make the move to a younger guy in fear he would not have the respect in the clubhouse so they opted for the experienced guy.  McClure will have his hands full trying to maneuver a staff that needs improvement as well as a group of aces who are under the microscope.  I am skeptical of this hire but I also thought Curt Young was a good hire, and he wasn’t, so we’ll see what happens.

Boyle spent 9 seasons as strength coach for the Bruins

Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Boyle:  This may well be the best hire of the off season by the Red Sox.  Boyle is renowned for being an expert on strength and conditioning and has been the head strength and conditioning coach for Boston University for the past 15 years.  He also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Bruins from 1991-1999 and also served the 1998 United States women’s hockey team at the Olympics in the same capacity.  A hockey strength coach working with baseball players?  I wouldn’t want to be those guys.  Boyle has run a successful strength and conditioning club in the Boston area since 1996.  (Link to his company’s web site)  It was voted the #1 health club in America by Men’s Health.  The Sox obviously had conditioning issues last year and the brass spared no expense and did not fool around when it came to filling the role of Strength and Conditioning coach.  Boyle might be the best hire by the Sox in a long time.

In addition to the new coaches Hitting Coach Dave Magadan and Bullpen Coach Gary Tuck return in their roles.  Magadan has been the Sox hitting coach for the past five seasons and obviously offense has not been a problem.  The Sox have perennially been one of the top offensive clubs in the league since Magadan has been with the club.  Tuck has also been on the Sox coaching staff for five seasons.  He is a very popular guy in the clubhouse, he’s got an eccentric personality that plays well with the players.  He is also a catching instructor for the organization during spring training.

For better or worse this is the staff that Bobby Valentine will have under him for his first season in Boston.  McClure is the most important hire for the Sox and we will see how that pans out.  I like Bogar’s move to bench coach as I think he is well suited for that job and can work away from the scrutiny that comes with being 3rd base coach.  Boyle is a home run hire and Magadan and Tuck were good retains by Valentine.  This coaching staff will really live and die by the success of Valentine and McClure.  Hopefully things click early for these guys and we can put the sins of Red Sox past behind us quickly.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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