The Giants held their end-of-the-year press conference on Thursday, and they announced that third-base coach Roberto Kelly and first-base coach Bill Hayes will be either reassigned from their current positions or let go from the organization.
This was the second season for Kelly as the Giants’ third-base coach, and he was often criticized for holding runners too often. He replaced Tim Flannery, one of the few third-base coaches in baseball that fans generally agreed on, after the 2014 season, so it was always going to be an uphill battle.
Still, Kelly graded out well according to the numbers. The Giants didn’t have a lot of runners thrown out at home this year, while ranking near the top of the league with runners that a) scored from second on a single and b) scored from first on a double for the second straight year. Part of that has to do with the Giants being allergic to home runs, but it’s still interesting.
Of course, the Giants have their own way of evaluating their coaches, and it’s probably more involved than an afternoon on Baseball-Reference. This would have been the 10th season with the Giants’ coaching staff, so it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks around.
Hayes has been with the Giants for 17 years, including 13 years as their bullpen catcher, so it will also be interesting to see if he remains with the organization. The first-base coach is considered something of a "running-game coordinator", who works with runners to break down the pitcher’s tendencies and moves. This article on Baseball Prospectus gives a pretty good breakdown of what the first-base coach does.) The Giants had a below-average stolen base success rate of 69 percent, and you would expect it to be even nicer considering the above-average overall team speed, so it’s possible that factored into their decision.
While I’m not surprised about the decisions, I will say that we should all be careful what we wish for. Kelly’s tentativeness drove me nuts at time, too, but I’ve also watched worse third-base coaches. Far worse third-base coaches. Far, far, far worse. As a generally passive fraidy-cat, I’m eternally more scared of the devil I don’t know.
The offseason is here, and it turns out the Giants will be looking for coaches on the open market as well as free agents. Happy hunting.