The Giants will officially have a new hitting coach next season, and they cut their third base coach loose to make room. Phil Nevin was let go, and he’ll be replaced by Ron Wotus, who is returning to his original major league job at third base. Hensley Meulens will move into the bench coach role, which means there’s a hitting coach vacancy.
The offseason hasn’t technically started yet, and the Giants are already wild people.
Bob Nightengale reported the news during Game 1 of the Cubs/Astros game (shut up, it’s easier this way), and when I retweeted it, I got a lot of variations of this response:
Who cares? It’s the players who sucked.
This is a valid point in a lot of ways. Yes, the players were the ones who lost 98 games by being horrible at baseball. In theory, though, the Giants should be able to pat their head and rub their stomach at the same time. They can get better players and change how their on-field operations are run. It shouldn’t be an either-or proposition, and the Giants are being very aggressive with what they can fix right now.
I agree with Nightengale’s assertion that the Giants are grooming Meulens for Bruce Bochy’s job. This was something that I had heard from different people, and when I asked, “What about Wotus?”, I got some variation of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ both times. The answer is that while he doesn’t have to be okay with being passed over, he apparently isn’t spitting mad. Not enough to leave the organization, anyway. He’ll return to coaching third base, which is where he spent the 1998 season, his first in the majors with the Giants.
It says a lot about third base coaches that I have absolutely zero memory of Wotus in that role. He can’t have been too bad?
The Meulens move will resonate the loudest in a couple years, but for now the most important part of these changes is that the Giants are officially looking for a new hitting coach. The team was horrible last year, and if you had to nail down their biggest problems, it was that they were bad at scoring and preventing runs. They will have a new hitting and pitching coach, and it’s hard not to be surprised.
If you think the dismal 98-loss season ticked us off, check out what the team is already doing. They’ve removed two long-time coaches and shuffled another one around with them. I’ll reserve the excitement for when the replacements are announced, but this is stil a lot more than I thought they’d do.