After spending the second half as the Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell stepped down from the position last month, citing the need to spend more time with his family and the longer-than-expected hours involved in the job.
Today the Astros announced that Mike Barnett will replace Bagwell as hitting coach, putting him in charge of an offense that ranked dead last or second-worst among NL teams in runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, and homers.
Barnett has spent the past two seasons as the Astros’ minor league hitting coordinator, so he’s worked with most of the young players on the roster already, and before that he had multi-year stints as hitting coach for the Royals and Blue Jays.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.
Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.
Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.