This is a rough time to be a hitting coach.
Philadelphia fired Greg Gross yesterday, Kansas City fired Kevin Seitzer this morning, and now Seattle announced that Chris Chambliss was let go after the Mariners ranked dead last among AL teams in scoring during each of his two seasons on the job.
It’s tough to argue with a hitting coach being fired after back-to-back seasons ranking dead last in hitting, but Safeco Field being so pitcher-friendly that the Mariners are moving the fences in obviously explains a lot of the team’s ugly numbers offensively. Seattle ranked fifth in road scoring this season, although they were also dead last in road scoring last year.
And now the Mariners’ next hitting coach gets to benefit from the automatic jump in raw offensive numbers that will come as a result of the fences coming in.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.