Andy Haines out as Brewers’ hitting coach after NLDS loss

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE- Andy Haines is out as the Milwaukee Brewers’ hitting coach after they scored a total of six runs in their four-game National League Division Series loss to the Atlanta Braves.

The Brewers announced Wednesday they wouldn’t be renewing Haines’ contract. Assistant hitting coach Jacob Cruz also has been told he is free to explore other options while the Brewers search for a replacement for Haines, who had been the hitting coach for the last three seasons.

Milwaukee earned a fourth straight playoff appearance this year but ranked just 27th out of 30 major league teams in batting average and 20th in OPS. The Brewers still manufactured runs well enough to rank 12th in scoring.

But the postseason magnified the shortcomings of Milwaukee’s offense: The Brewers went scoreless in 33 of 36 innings and were shut out in Games 2 and 3.

The biggest challenge facing Milwaukee’s next hitting coach will be helping 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich regain his All-Star form. After leading the NL in batting average and OPS in 2018 and 2019, Yelich has tailed off dramatically the last two seasons.

Haines has a long history with Yelich from their years in the Miami Marlins organization. Haines coached and managed in Miami’s farm system from 2008 to 2015. Yelich was selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2010 draft and remained with them until the Brewers acquired him in January 2018.

Yelich went .248 with nine homers and 51 RBIs in 117 games this year and struck out looking with the tying run on first to end the Brewers’ NLDS loss to the Atlanta Braves. He will make $26 million each of the next seven seasons, though $4 million of that will be deferred each year.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.