IronPigs To Have MLB-quality Third Base Coach
(Allentown, Pa.) – Gary Jones, a four-time minor league Manager of the Year and a 2016 World Series Champion, has been named manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the 2018 season, as announced by Philadelphia Phillies’ General Manager Matt Klentak. Jones spent the previous four seasons as the third-base coach for the Chicago Cubs. He replaces Dusty Wathan, who was named third-base coach for the Phillies after guided the IronPigs to an 80-62 record an into the 2017 International League playoffs in his lone season as skipper.
Jones, 57, brings 27 years of managerial and coaching experience from four organizations to the Phillies developmental staff. Fifteen of these seasons have been spent as a minor league manager, during which time he’s posted an impressive 1,039-972 (.517) record and won four league championships. The native of Henderson, Texas, also served as the Oakland A’s first-base coach (1988), the Boston Red Sox minor league field coordinator (2002) and the San Diego Padres minor league roving field coordinator (2007-13) prior to joining the Cubs.
No stranger to the IL, Jones piloted Pawtucket for three seasons from 1999-01 – guiding the Paw Sox to a combined 218-211 (.508) mark and a then franchise-record 82 wins in 2000. He also spent three Triple-A seasons with Edmonton (1995-97) of the Pacific Coast League, where he led the A’s top affiliate to a combined 232-198 (.540) record as well as to back-to-back, first-place finishes and PCL Titles in 1996 and 1997. He was honored as PCL Manager of the Year following each of his final two seasons with the Trappers.
In all, he sports a 450-409 (.524) record in six seasons at the Triple-A level.
Jones started his coaching career as manager of the AZL Athletics (R) at the age of 29 in 1990 – the first season following retirement from his eight-year playing career. In just his second year, he guided Madison (A) to a first-place finish at 77-61 and earned Midwest League Manager of the Year honors. Jones went on to win his first league championship and second Manager of the Year award while at the helm of the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League (AA) in 1994. He later served his final four seasons as a manager in the San Diego system with Single-A Fort Wayne (2003) and Double-A Mobile (AA).
Jones’ professional playing career launched after he signed by the Cubs as a minor league free agent out of University of Arkansas in 1982. Primarily a second baseman, Jones spent his first four seasons in the Chicago system and his final four as an Oakland farmhand – advancing up to Triple-A with Tacoma (1987-89). He finished with a .283 average, 23 home runs, 291 RBI and 225 stolen bases in 899 games. Notably, he recorded more walks (783) than strikeouts (542) and ended his career with a remarkable .437 on-base percentage.
Jones was previously named to the Cubs major league staff for the 2014 season by then-manager Rick Renteria. He was then retained by current skipper Joe Maddon for the past three years, which included the memorable 2016 season in which the Cubs won their first World Series Championship since 1908.
Jones becomes the fifth manager all-time for the IronPigs, following Dave Huppert (2008-10), Ryne Sandberg (2011-12), Dave Brundage (2013-16) and Wathan (2017).
IronPigs Coaching Staff and the Other Affiliates
(Allentown, Pa.) – Former Phillies infielder Wes Helms will join the IronPigs as a bench coach, as the team’s 2018 coaching staff was announced by the Phillies today. First-year manager Gary Jones will work alongside four returning members in pitching coach Dave Lundquist, hitting coach Sal Rende, athletic trainer Jon May and strength and conditioning coach Dong Lien.
Wes Helms, 41, returns to professional baseball after a seven-year hiatus to make his coaching debut. A member of the Phillies National League East Championship team in 2007, the Gastonia, N.C., native enjoyed a 13-year major league playing career that ended following the 2011 season. He was originally drafted by Atlanta in the 10th round of the 1994 Draft out of Ashbrook (N.C.) High School before making his big league debut with the Braves in 1998. Helms went on to appear in 1,212 games and finished with a career .256 average, 75 home runs and 374 RBI between Atlanta (1998; 2000-02), Milwaukee (2003-05), Florida (2006; 2008-11) and Philadelphia (2007).
Helms was the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman during a 2007 season in which Philadelphia became the first team in MLB history to overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 left to play, overtaking the Mets for the National League East championship on the final day of the season. He hit .246 with five home runs and 39 RBI in 112 contests (65 starts) before being traded to Florida prior to the start of the 2008 campaign.
Helms is also a familiar name in International League circles, having spent parts of six seasons between Richmond (1997-98; 2000), Indianapolis (2003-04) and Gwinnett (2011). He twice earned the Tommie Aaron Memorial Award — which honors the Richmond Braves MVP – in 1998 (.275-13-75 in 125 games) and in 2000 (.288-20-88 in 136 games), when he also was selected as the Hank Aaron Award winner as the top performer in the entire Atlanta system.
Helms, who replaces another former Phillies infielder Charlie Hayes on the IronPigs staff, appeared with Philadelphia as a special guest Spring Training instructor in 2017.
Dave Lundquist, 44, returns for his third season as IronPigs pitching coach. In 2017, he guided a staff that posted the third-highest shutout total in the league (15) while converting the highest number of saves (44). He also oversaw the rapid development of several young prospects – including the IL’s starting pitcher in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game, Tom Eshelman. In 2016, the native of Beverly, Mass., orchestrated a pitching staff that shattered franchise records for wins (85; previously 80 in 2011), ERA (3.12; previously 3.68 in 2011) and shutouts (18; previously 12 in 2011-13). Lundquist enters his 11th season in the Philadelphia organization and his 14th overall as a pitching coach.
Now entering his eighth season with the IronPigs, hitting coach Sal Rende boasted an offense that annihilated the franchise single-season record with 152 home runs last year (previously 122 in 2016). The 62-year-old also played a significant role in the growth of IL Most Valuable Player Rhys Hoskins and several other prospects that continued to perform well after promotion – most notably Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams. In 2016, the native of Blue Island, Ill., guided a Lehigh Valley offense that set a then club-record for home runs (122) while finishing second in the IL in average with a franchise-best .284 average with runners in scoring position. Rende embarks on his 15th season in the Phillies organization and 12th as an affiliate hitting coach.
Jon May, 38, will return for his fourth season as IronPigs athletic trainer and 12th as a member of the Phillies organization. In addition, Dong Lien, 38, is back for fifth season as the IronPigs strength and conditioning coordinator and his 12th in the Philadelphia system.
The coaching staffs for all Phillies affiliates are listed below:
Lehigh Valley (AAA)
Gary Jones (manager)
Dave Lundquist (pitching coach)
Sal Rende (hitting coach)
Wes Helms (coach)
Jon May (athletic trainer)
Dong Lien (strength & conditioning)
Greg Legg (manager)
Steve Schrenk (pitching coach)
Kevin Riggs (hitting coach)
Rico Brogna (coach)
Mickey Kozack (athletic trainer)
Mike Lidge (strength & conditioning coach)
Shawn Williams (manager)
Aaron Fultz (pitching coach)
John Mizerock (hitting coach)
Rubén Gotay (coach)
Michael Hefta (athletic trainer)
Kenny Matanane (strength & conditioning coach)
Marty Malloy (manager)
Brad Bergesen (pitching coach)
Tyler Henson (hitting coach)
Milver Reyes (coach)
Kris Terrian (athletic trainer)
Henry Aleck (strength & conditioning coach)
Pat Borders (manager)
Héctor Berrios (pitching coach)
Christian Marrero (hitting coach)
Greg Brodzinski (coach)
Steve Torregrossa (athletic trainer)
Bruce Peditto (strength & conditioning coach)
Gulf Coast League Phillies East (R)
Roly DeArmas (manager)
Héctor Mercado (pitching coach)
Rafael DeLima (hitting coach)
Charlie Hayes (coach)
Troy Hoffert (athletic trainer)
José Salas (strength & conditioning coach)
Gulf Coast League Phillies West (R)
Nelson Prada (manager)
Matt Hockenberry (pitching coach)
Chris Heintz (hitting coach)
Andrew Dodgson (athletic trainer)
Orlando Crance (strength & conditioning coach)