The Rays have decided to let go hitting coach Steve Henderson and will keep pitching coach Jim Hickey. In addition, the Rays eliminated Todd Greene’s position as quality assurance coach.
Many are wondering why the Rays would drop Hendu when the offense set a franchise record for runs scored and the pitching staff consistently underperformed all season. The hardest people to evaluate on a baseball staff are the coaches. They have such little in-game responsibility that 99% of their jobs are performed when the fans are not watching.
We can however evaluate what their subjects did on the field.
Steve Henderson: While the Rays did hit very well overall this season, we feel the Rays situational hitting which is still lacking. Sure strikeouts are not that bad in the grand scheme of things, but there are certain situations where strikeouts suck, and only one AL team (Rangers) struck out more than the Rays this season. Where that hurts the most is runners in scoring position with less than two outs. Strikeouts are rally killers. They don’t give the runners any chance to advance. Watch the veteran hitters on the Red Sox and Yankees enough and you will see the difference between productive outs and those that are not so much.
Jim Hickey: We find it difficult to lay too much blame at the feet of Hickey. Much of the problems with the pitching staff can be traced back to the 2008 season. Too many innings, too many months, and a very short off-season. There just weren’t any dominating performances from guys like James Shields and Matt Garza like we would have expected. We are not sure what Hickey, or any other pitching coach, could have done differently.
Todd Greene: The Rays thought they had come up with a super-duper idea to assign one coach the job of scouting the Rays all season. Have one guy find the flaws that other teams will look to exploit. The problem the Rays didn’t foresee was the Red Sox then hiring that coach last year (Tim Bogar) and having him then take all that knowledge with him to Boston. Maybe it turned out that there were too many of the family secrets being held by one person so low on the totem pole.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- There are a lot of former (Devil) Rays in the playoffs this year. [Bugs and Cranks]
- In addition to the 16th pick in the draft, Keith Law has now confirmed that the Rays will also have pick 30B (#32 overall) as compensation for failing to sign LeVon Washington, and pick 78B (overall selection to be determined) for failing to sign Kenny Diekroger. [ESPN]
- An Open Letter to the Rays, to which we would like to add “Ditto.” [Sixty Feet, Six Inches]
- The Rays failed to reach the playoffs, but their 2-year run is still pretty impressive. [The Rays Party]
- The home run hit by Juan Miranda (first of his career) on Friday night off of Dale Thayer was the longest hit at The Trop this season, travelling 469 feet. That eclipsed the 466-foot home run hit by Carlos Pena on June 13th off of Jordan Zimmerman. [MLB Video] Here is Pena’s home run. [MLB Video]