Well, well, well … it looks like the Milwaukee Brewers have decided to partake in a little hitting coach thievery. Indeed, it looks like they’re stealing away Andy Haines, who’s been a part of the Cubs organization since 2016, and making him their full-time, big league hitting coach:
Andy Haines was hired by brewers as hitting coach
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 3, 2018
Haines, 41, was a Minor League manager for several years, before the Cubs hired him on to be their Minor League hitting instructor back in 2016. Two years later, the Cubs promoted him to their Major League staff as the assistant hitting coach (behind both John Mallee (2017) and Chili Davis (2018)), but now he’s off to Milwaukee for a promotion.
Obviously, the Cubs have had a ton of turnover in the coaching department the last few years and while some of it was for the better, you do start to wonder if the revolving door of voices will eventually turn into a problem. I mean, just consider this from a hitting-coach-only perspective for a moment …
Cubs news today: Hearing asst. hitting coach Andy Haines is taking a job as the No.1 guy for another team. Could mean 6 diff hitting coaches in 3 years for the Cubs, unless they bring back Eric Hinske. He was here during the John Mallee years and when they won the World Series.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) November 3, 2018
… And then realize that the Cubs also got rid of their pitching coach, Chris Bosio, while their bench coach, Dave Martinez, left for a managerial gig in Washington. And that’s not all! Bench coach Brandon Hyde interviewed for FOUR different managerial jobs this fall and Manager Joe Maddon has just one year remaining on his deal. That is a lot of turnover to deal with, when there’s already probably more to come.
You also don’t love the fact that someone like Haines, who saw many of these Cubs hitters in the Minors and again in the big leagues over the past three seasons, is going directly to a divisional rival, where he might just be able to share various weaknesses with the pitching coach and staff. Shrug. It happens. And it was probably part of the calculus for Milwaukee.
But that’s not the only thing after which the Brewers were angling:
As @acjp2024 pointed out, new Brewers hitting coach (per @JonHeyman) Andy Haines has a long history with Christian Yelich. Haines managed Yelich at Class A Greensboro and advanced Class A Jupiter early in Yelich's pro career.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 3, 2018
Yes, yes, Andy. Go in there and change Yelich’s swing. You can make him better. I dare you. Try it.
In any case, the Brewers taking on Haines is only half of the story. Now, the Cubs need someone to backup new hitting coach Anthony Iapoce. And while a change of place from last season is nice, I can’t say it’s definitely a good thing that neither of the big league hitting coaches (depending on who the new guy is) will have any experience with the Cubs hitters, at all. They’ll be starting from scratch. But again … maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world? What a strangely busy start to the offseason it’s been.
P.S. Here’s a video of Andy Haines getting ejected for throwing what looks like a cup of spent seeds at an umpire after Kris Bryant took a pitch to the helmet. There’s nothing to take out of this other than I found it an interesting memory: