Hackers to make changes to coaching staff
NOVEMBER 24: Pittsburgh promotes field coordinator Mike Rabelo to third base coach, Mackey reports (on Twitter). Rabelo also spent the 2020 season on staff as the Bucs’ assistant hitting coach. Former third baseman Joey Cora was sacked at the end of the season.
NOVEMBER 23: Pirates hire Andy Haines to be their next batting coach, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh fired former hitting instructor Rick Eckstein in August.
Haines, 44, has spent the last three seasons as the Brewers’ hitting coach and has already been on the Cubs staff for a year as an assistant hitting coach. Milwaukee’s offensive was slightly below average during Haines’ tenure on the staff. Going back to early 2019, the Brewers hitters (excluding pitchers) have a cumulative line of .243 / .328 / .425. According to the wRC + measure, this is two percentage points below the league average, ranking 18th out of 30 teams in the league. Milwaukee placed 19th in this category in 2021 alone.
The front office and Bucs manager Derek Shelton take the Brewers’ results much more into account when deciding to add staff, of course. Haines will be tasked with guiding a team of Pirates who will likely have their fair share of growing pains in the coming seasons. Pittsburgh’s .243 / .317 / .376 line last season was 12 points below the league average according to wRC +, the third-worst score in the league. Young players highly regarded as Ke’Bryan Hayes and Oneil-Cruz are expected to play key roles in the 2022 club, and their respective developments could go a long way in determining how quickly the Bucs can return to competitiveness.