This is becoming a Friar tradition. For the third time in as many years, the Padres will have to look for a new hitting coach. Last year, Wally Joyner stepped in to replace the fired Merv Rettenmund. Rettenmund replaced Dave Magadan as the Padres hitting coach in 2006. Magadan, as some of you may know, is enjoying his new digs in Fenway.
When Joyner was hired last season, the Padres had the worst batting average in baseball, were next to last in the NL in on-base percentage, and had the 4th fewest runs scored. As he leaves, the Padres are last in the NL in on-base percentage and last in MLB in runs scored.
Here’s an interesting quote from Joyner:
“It bothers me a lot that I have come to the point where it is clear that I need to move on,” Joyner said. “I came to the job hoping to put my experience and ideas to good use in teaching and coaching the Padres’ hitters, but it has become obvious to me in the past few months that the organization’s approach is different from mine.”
“My experience in playing baseball at the major league level is that you cannot afford to not be ready for any pitch that you see. It might be the best pitch you see that night. I know how valuable that preparation was for me in my career. I wanted our hitters to be ready from pitch No. 1, and I think that was the difference.”
Translation: Wally favors the hitters swinging at the first good pitch they see. The front office, led by “Moneyball” disciple Sandy Alderson, favored a more patient, high on-base percentage, work the count type hitting style.
Joyner said he really enjoyed working with the hitters, and mentioned the success of Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jody Gerut. “They all had very good years,” he said. “I will miss being able to work with them more.”
Some hitters, though, fell well short of the front office’s expectations, among them Khalil Greene, Josh Bard, Michael Barrett, Tadahito Iguchi and Jim Edmonds, who were guaranteed a total of about $20 million from the Padres this season.
Interesting, especially considering that of this group of hitters, Brian Giles is the only one who fits the organization’s approach to hitting. He is the closest to the ideal “Moneyball” type player. He is the only Padre who shows any type of patience at the plate. The irony is he may be gone after next season because of his contract.
Bud Black may want to watch his back. The Padres front office is looking at “aligning” the on-field philosophy with the front office’s.