- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Although the immediate future of Los Angeles Dodgers minor league manager Tim Wallach isn't clear, this much is certain: If Wallach isn't hired to manage another big league club, he will be a part of the Dodgers' major league staff in 2011, either as bench coach or third-base coach.
A source with knowledge of the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed on Sunday that Wallach has signed a contract with the Dodgers to fill one of those two positions. He will not be the Dodgers hitting coach, the position he held with the club in 2004-05, despite widespread speculation that he would fill that role.
Reached on his cell phone Sunday, Wallach declined to confirm or deny that he has signed such a contract and declined to comment at all on the matter, referring all questions to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. Colletti, who has been tight-lipped about the process of filling new manager Don Mattingly's first coaching staff, also declined comment.
There still is no guarantee, however, that Wallach will remain with the organization. He has made no secret of his desire to manage in the majors, and at least one team has asked the Dodgers for permission to interview him for its managerial vacancy. Such permission is customarily granted in baseball whenever an individual has a chance to interview for a job that would be viewed as a promotion from his current position.
There presently are eight major league clubs with managerial vacancies. Wallach, who spent much of his playing career with the old Montreal Expos, was thought to be a leading candidate in Toronto, where Cito Gaston is retiring. But the Toronto Sun reported last week that Wallach is no longer under consideration by the Blue Jays.
Wallach's exact position with the Dodgers likely hinges on the club's ability to fill the bench-coach position with someone who has major league managerial experience, something both Colletti and Mattingly have said they prefer because Mattingly has never managed in either the major or minor leagues. But given the present state of dysfunction within the organization and the still-unanswered question of who owns the team -- Jamie McCourt, estranged wife of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, is claiming a legal stake in the club -- the Dodgers might have trouble luring such a person. In that case, the job likely would fall to Wallach, who was rated by Baseball America as the top managerial prospect in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Although the rest of the coaching staff remains up in the air, the Dodgers have made an offer to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, according to multiple sources, but Honeycutt has yet to accept that offer.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.