If you secretly dream of one day being a major league coach, here’s some absolutely free advice: Best that you don’t want to be a hitting coach.
They have precariously short life spans.
When the offense struggles, calls go out for their heads. And too often, they are left a scapegoat for the failures of an underwhelming or underperforming cast.
And so it continues to go, or at least it appears to, with the announcement by the Dodgers Friday that their entire coaching staff will return next season – save for hitting coach Dave Hansen.
Hansen, you may recall, was promoted from hitting instructor to coach when the Dodgers dumped hitting coach Jeff Pentland in the middle of last season. I’m telling you, a rodeo clown has greater job security.
The Dodgers said Hansen, 43, has been offered another position in the organization.
The other five coaches – third base coach Tim Wallach, first base coach Davey Lopes, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bench coach Trey Hillman and bullpen coach Kenny Howell – will all return, although Wallach is scheduled to interview with the Red Sox for their manager opening.
Maybe Don Mattingly, who was the team’s hitting coach for 2½ years prior to being named the Dodgers’ manager, is just tougher on his hitting coaches. Not that the Dodgers did not struggle offensively most of the year.
Last season the Dodgers finished 16th in batting average, 26th in runs and on-base percentage, 28th in slugging percentage and 29th in home runs. Particularly disappointing was how the team responded offensively once they had acquired Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Adrian Gonzalez.
Something had to change, so it fell on Hansen, who a year ago they were all excited about because of the team’s second-half turnaround. Maybe he’ll get something with more job security, like alligator wrestler.
Meawhile, the Dodgers are looking for another daredevil to be their hitting coach.