"Cultural assimilation is as important as any element of player development," said Kapler, who drew from communication challenges he faced while playing in Japan in 2005.
"The baseball was nearly the same, but I was out of my element communicating in the clubhouse. I felt very out of my skin and that translates to poor performance on the field. We are very sensitive to putting a system in place that allows guys to assimilate comfortably."
Kapler described other changes to the system's culture that can only be considered player-friendly, particularly requirements of the staff to be "good listeners" so players believe the organization "cares about them."
Kapler said players should possess "open-mindedness and flexibility of thought." He said he wants his staff to develop a trusting relationship so "players know we care about you as a player and person. When you ask them to make adjustments, they have to believe you care about them. That's one of the basic focal points of the program, to let them know how much we genuinely care." He said implementing a new culture requires an "olive branch first" approach. "We are making changes that make sense and asking the question, why?" Kapler said. "It's frustrating to keep doing things because that's the way they've always been done. I love tradition, but you want it to make sense."
The biggest obvious change to the Dodgers' farm system was already known, the shifting of affiliates at Triple-A and Double-A from Albuquerque and Chattanooga to Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Six Minor League managers remain at the helm, with Damon Berryhill at Oklahoma City, Razor Shines at Tulsa, PJ Forbes at Rancho Cucamonga and Bill Haselman at Great Lakes. Jack McDowell and John Shoemaker swap jobs, McDowell now managing at Rookie-level Arizona and Shoemaker switching to Rookie-advanced Ogden.
The club's Dominican staff has not been finalized.
There was a shakeup in pitching coaches. Glenn Dishman moves from Triple-A to Class A Great Lakes; Scott Radinsky moves from Double-A to Triple-A; Matt Herges moves from Class A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Tulsa; Bill Simas from Great Lakes to Rancho Cucamonga; Greg Sabat from Ogden to Arizona; with newcomer Bobby Cuellar at Ogden.
Franklin Stubbs (Oklahoma City), Shawn Wooten (Tulsa) and Mike Eylward (Rancho) return as hitting coaches, with former Dodgers player Jay Gibbons the hitting coach at Great Lakes, Darryl Brinkley at Ogden and Aaron Bates replacing Henry Cruz at Arizona.
Also new to the organization is Clayton McCullough, who replaces Bruce Hines as field coordinator. McCullough arrives following eight seasons coaching in the Toronto organization, most recently as the coordinator of instruction. Damon Mashore moves from outfield and baserunning coordinator to replace Eric Owens as hitting coordinator, with Brady Clark hired to replace Mashore as outfield and baserunning coordinator.
Rick Knapp (pitching), Travis Barbary (catching) and Juan Castro (infield) return in their coordinator roles. The third coaches are Johnny Washington at Oklahoma City, Leo Garcia at Tulsa, Rafael Ozuna at Rancho Cucamonga, Luis Matos at Great Lakes, Fumi Ishibashi at Ogden and Gil Velasquez at Arizona.