Brewers hire Johnny Narron to replace Dale Sveum as hitting coach

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Dale Svuem taking over as the Cubs’ manager left the Brewers without a hitting coach and today they filled the position with Johnny Narron, whose brother Jerry is Milwaukee’s bench coach.

Narron has lots of experience coaching and managing in the Brewers’ minor-league system and most recently served as the Rangers’ assistant hitting coach, working specifically with and mentoring Josh Hamilton after the two formed a relationship on the Reds.

Now he takes over an offense that’s likely to lose cleanup hitter Prince Fielder, but the Brewers have the reigning MVP in Ryan Braun and ranked fifth among NL teams in scoring while leading the league in homers.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.