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Angry About Firing Chambliss
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 10/12/2006 3:33:00 PM
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The Reds fired Chris Chambliss as the hitting coach on Wednesday, a decision that seems just ludicrous. They make a horrific trade, giving away both Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez, with foreseeable consequences. From the Enquirer:

Before the trade: ninth in average in the NL at .263, third in runs, third in on-base percentage (.342), second in slugging (.451).

After the trade: 16th in average in the NL at .251, 15th in runs, 10th in on-base percentage (.328), 14th in slugging (.409).

This raises the question - how much does a hitting coach actually contribute anyhow? The Reds' offense was just fine before the trade (not to mention injuries to Ken Griffey Jr. and Ryan Freel in September) - how was it that Chambliss' coaching methods that caused the offensive slide?


Jeff's question is certainly something to ponder. Joe Vavra, here in Minnesota, worked religiously with Justin Morneau, and Nick Punto, and their averages raised about 50-60 points respectively this year. Of course, we also have Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Tom Kelly, and Rod Carew who work with the players during spring training. I think Vavra deserves the majority of the credit here, though. Torii Hunter also came on late in the 2nd half after he reportedly worked more and more with Vavra. The players work ethics' I'm sure had a lot to do with that also.

The Astros fired Gary Gaetti this year also. I never really paid much attention to how they did after letting him go, but, I'm guessing it's more their lineup than it's Gaetti's teaching abilities/techniques. Obviously, the higher heads in Houston feel differently. I'd be interested in seeing a story on this with input from the players. Though, I guess you could pose the same question with pitching coaches. From what I know, Rick Anderson(Twins) is highly regarded there also, but, would the Twins staff suffer or do any better with someone else? It's hard to answer, but, obviously, some front offices think that way. As far as what the Reds are doing, I don't even think they know.
Posted by schwang2u at 10/12/2006 8:57:00 PM
Most fans end up questioning the acumen and brain power of their team's hitting coach at one point or another. Post-2002, Micky Hatcher was a genius. Now after the Angels lackluster 2006, he's a bum who needs to go. Nevermind that Bill Stoneman did nothing to add a sorely-needed bat.

There have been obviously-poor hitting coaches over the years (Jack Clark anyone), but all in all, I think that while some guys may connect with their coach and improve, it's nearly impossible to say with much precision what the statistical impact of hitting coaches really is. Should Don Mattingly get credit for the Yankees finishing 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in runs scored in his tenure as hitting coach? Does it have more to do with George's wallet? I'd lean towards the latter, but maybe Donnie Baseball really did have a big impact on Giambi's resurrection and Cano nearly winning a battin title.

As for Chambliss, it was, from the outside looking in, a classic case of needing a scapegoat. It can't be Krivsky's fault that Chris Denorfia didn't put up Kearns-like numbers or that Royce Clayton wasn't a young Barry Larkin for the Reds? Can it?
Posted by vtadave at 10/12/2006 10:03:00 PM
I don't know anything specific, but I've always assumed that there must be something about Chambliss' personality that rubs some people the wrong way. He seems to be one of those guys who keeps bouncing from job to job, even though (from the outside looking in) he seems to be doing good work.
Posted by czegers at 10/13/2006 1:08:00 PM
Given Krivsky's comments expect the Reds to go from promising to hapless as they cut down on K's and on runs scored. It's insane not to emphasize power in that park.
Posted by bret59 at 10/15/2006 5:29:00 PM
Agreed - I wasn't a happy camper reading Krivsky's comments today.
Posted by Erickson at 10/15/2006 6:23:00 PM
I'd hate to be a Reds fan right about now. Hopefully Ned Colletti has given Wayne a call re: Dunn. Elmer Dessens might be able to be had by the Reds in a Dunn deal.
Posted by vtadave at 10/16/2006 8:53:00 AM
The Metrodome is known as a hitters park also and the Twins never emphasized power and they're an American League team. I think they've done just fine with 2 World Series titles the past 20 years. I don't necessarily agree with a few of the moves, but that doesn't mean the Reds can't be successful. It's not like they were winning too much the way it was.
Posted by schwang2u at 10/18/2006 11:13:00 PM
The Metrodome is most certainly *not* a hitter's park, especially with the introduction of all the recent new parks. Check the numbers.
Posted by Erickson at 10/22/2006 3:52:00 PM

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