Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers will receive this well: batting coach Mark McGwire might be on his way to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a similar role.
As the season went along, the Dodgers’ hitters struggled mightily with consistency and especially into the playoffs. This is where much of the “Dodgers are better against lesser opponents” narrative comes from.
This, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
Mark McGwire could be next to join #Dbacks staff with Turner Ward quitting as assistant hitting coach. Matt Williams is new 1B coach.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 11, 2015
Hitting coaches in the MLB are one of the most thankless jobs in all of sports. You hardly notice them as the team succeeds, but when the bats cool, guess who gets the lion share of the blame? Yeah. I’ll pass on that job.
Now, this isn’t to say McGwire did anything particularly special that makes him absolutely irreplaceable. He worked with Joc Pederson as best he could given the cliff Pederson fell heading into the All Star Break and for much of the second half of the season.
The issue the Dodgers are staring at if McGwire leaves is his replacement will have to develop the youth. We know about Pederson and Corey Seager, but Yasiel Puig needs to bounce back and there are several other prospects who could come up at some point over the next few years.
While fans might celebrate his departure, McGwire’s talents as a hitter were prodigal. Had he been able to impart some of that wisdom on the hitters, his value would be tough to replace. Now, whether he stressed the home run swing given what he was best at and the Dodgers want to focus more on contact hitting, the move makes sense.