Astros legend Jeff Bagwell declines to return as hitting coach

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Jeff Bagwell, who left a cushy front-office job to return to the field as the Astros’ hitting coach at the All-Star break, announced Saturday that he wouldn’t return in that role in 2011.

Bagwell was offered a two-year deal to stay on as the hitting coach, but with seven- and nine-year-old daughters at home, he wasn’t willing to make that commitment.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” he said in a press release. “I enjoyed my time as hitting coach a great deal. The players were great and I can’t think of a better coaching staff to work with. They were outstanding.”

Despite trading Lance Berkman to the Yankees at the deadline, the Astros improved considerably on offense in the second half. They went from hitting .238/.296/.347 before the break to .259/.311/.379 afterwards.

Bagwell will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time this winter. He leads a new class of eligibles that also includes Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Larry Walker and John Olerud.

The Giants are looking at Jarrod Dyson for center field

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The Giants, you have have heard, picked up Andrew McCutchen yesterday. As things currently stand, McCutchen is first on the depth chart at center field. That’s probably a placeholder situation, though, because (a) McCutchen really shouldn’t be playing center field anymore; and (b) the Giants know he shouldn’t be playing center field anymore. I mean, if an evil genie appeared and told Bruce Bochy he’d be granted any wish he wanted, but the price of it would be that McCutchen HAS to be his center fielder, I’m sure everyone would make do, but it’s not an ideal situation.

To that end, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that the Giants have free agent Jarrod Dyson in their sights. Jon Jay and Cameron Maybin are considered some backup options.

Dyson is obviously a superior defender, and he has some wheels too. The bat is no great shakes — he’s never been even a league average hitter in terms of OPS+ — but you can put up with the .251/.324/.350 with five homers and 30 RBI he posted in 2017 if you’re getting good leather in the spacious AT&T Park outfield. He’ll steal you some bases too, having swiped 28 in 111 games for the Mariners last season.

The big splash move would be to go get Lorenzo Cain, but that’ll cost the Giants, who are already near the luxury tax threshold, some more money. Dyson may be a better fit in light of that.