Report: Dodgers After Mark McGwire As Hitting Coach

via Keith Allison

It’s now been nearly a month since Dave Hansen was canned as Dodger hitting coach, and the only movement we’ve had since then is finding out that Mickey Hatcher will not be getting the position. It’s not official yet, but now we know who is close to replacing Hansen… and boy, is it a name:

Mark McGwire, who has served as Cardinals hitting coach for three seasons under two managers, has informed the club that he intends to accept a similar position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources familiar with the situation told the Post-Dispatch this afternoon.

Though a deal between the Dodgers and McGwire is not considered final, McGwire has told the Cardinals that he does not anticipate accepting their offer of a contract extension.

The club last week tendered offers to all coaches except bullpen coach Dyar Miller. The staff’s contracts exprired Oct. 31.

McGwire is leaning toward accepting the position with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly‘s staff because of geography. McGwire and his family live in Orange County and McGwire has long emphasized the role his wife and children play in career decisions.

My first thought? Well, to be honest, it’s exactly the same as that of the esteemed Bob Timmermann: oh holy good lord, the righteous columns this is going to spawn from tools like Bill Plaschke & T.J. Simers. “Teh steroidz! Whut sort uf exzampel iz dis setting fer er kidz?!” And so on.

But forget them – if this happens, would it be a good thing? I think the answer is… we can’t say for sure. I’ve long felt that it’s nearly impossible to measure the impact of hitting coaches. We went over this with Hansen; just a year after being the golden boy after replacing Jeff Pentland, he lost his job because he couldn’t get a team destroyed by injury to hit. For every Dwayne Murphy, who gets credit for fixing Jose Bautista in Toronto, you get dozens of other examples of players who just couldn’t be helped. So right up front, I’ll say that the success of the Dodger offense in 2013 relies far more on the health of Matt Kemp and friends than it does on any hitting coach.

Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw any conclusions. Obviously, McGwire was known as a power hitter over his 16-year career, but he was also a patient one, drawing 80 or more walks nine times. As a coach, he’s helped David Freese, Allen Craig, & Yadier Molina blossom into quality hitters, though he was unable to sort out Colby Rasmus. The season before he became the coach, the Cardinals finished 19th (2009) in wOBA; in his three seasons there, it was 16th (2010), 5th (2011), and 6th (2012) – though I’d caution against reading too much into that because of the changing rosters.

This lengthy USA Today report from last October paints his work in a positive light:

McGwire knows veterans such as Pujols and Holliday have their own routines, and he hasn’t tried to change them. “He gives you as much as you want,” Holliday said. “If you want advice or need him to watch something, he’s really good at that.”

His pet project, he said, is the youngsters.

“The Allen Craigs, the David Freeses, the Jon Jays, the (Daniel) Descalsos. I just enjoy talking to them and working with them every day,” McGwire said.

Freese, in his second full season, has battled injuries both years but is having a breakout postseason, batting .425 with four homers and 14 RBI in 11 games.

“He’s a huge reason why I’ve been able to do what I’m doing,” Freese said. “He keeps it simple. He knows me as a hitter. He can jump on things real quick — mechanically, mentally, confidence-wise.”

Craig, who played particularly well when Holliday was sidelined with a hand injury down the stretch, said he and McGwire worked together in California last offseason.

“When I get a little out of whack, he’s right there to tell me,” said Craig, who is expected to be the Cardinals DH when the series moves to Texas.

Of course, we’re avoiding the elephant in the room, and that’s that McGwire’s career – and potentially his Hall of Fame chances – was tarnished by his use of PEDs, which he finally admitted in early 2010, shortly before beginning his first season as the St. Louis hitting coach. Yeah, it’d make it more difficult for Dodger fans to launch Melky Cabrera taunts at their Giant counterparts, but if you’ve read me for any period of time, you know that I’ve never quite been able to muster up the moral outrage about it all. Either way, it shouldn’t matter here; anyone who makes the “if Dodger hitters do well, it’s because McGwire is slipping them something” joke is just taking the lazy way out.

We’ll still need to wait for this to be official, of course, and I can’t say I really have a horse in this either way. If it ends up happening, as it seems it will? I’m really fine with it… especially if it allows me to keep posting this:

232 comments
Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

where does greinke live in the offseason? i wonder how long it will take ned to get there with the dump truck. 

HarryDoyle
HarryDoyle

Anybody thinking Hamilton to SF?  Anybody scared if that were to happen?

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

So the late show switched from politics and religion to basketball now? #EvenWorse 

DodgerDog22
DodgerDog22

Big game james shields to LA, what's your thoughts guys?

Gilbert_Vengeance
Gilbert_Vengeance

I just had a thought. We are repeating the 2010 pattern. We mentioned it before. Gnats win WS. Opening day is @ Dodger Stadium vs the Gnats lol.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

Just want to say I'm all for bringing Big Mac on board. 

Dang88
Dang88

Haren is 32 he will be signed by the morning

HarryDoyle
HarryDoyle

 @Disgruntled Goat   you've got brass balls, DG.  there is an interesting compatibility there, but throwing large, long cash at FA's is not SF's style zince Zito.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @DodgerDog22 I really like Shields and I would consider trading Lee for him.  But if they want a Gio sized package, then no thanks.

DodgerDog22
DodgerDog22

Apparently he's a big barca fan -__-@DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@The_Real_Paul But who's gonna a be our Whopper, our Double Double, or our overpriced Fathers Office Burger?

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Only smart players can run a smart offense. #haha

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Disgruntled Goat @Mike Petriello One of the cast of thousands..........of Left Fielders last season.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @HarryDoyle zactly. if the market is down to a three year deal, i think they are players. but if he's up for a 5-6 year deal, is very doubtful. 

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Disgruntled Goat @HarryDoyle meh. BFD. Would be like them, if they overpaid. I think he winds up in the AL East.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @HarryDoyle i guess i can elaborate - i think if the market for hamilton is thin due to his ...uh....extracurricular activities..the the gnats may be a player. if he's up for the big contract he no doubt thinks he deserves, i don't see them competing. 

 

and no i'm not worried, when you consider the outsized production they got from some of their players this year, it's not like they're going to be better. 

DodgerDog22
DodgerDog22

Maybe lee or reed but I say pederson off limits, that kid is gonna have pop in the bigs @DBrim

Solis
Solis

@Omer @Gilbert_Vengeance As long as no Gnats fans show up, I'd be even happier.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@plaza234 @Dang88 Can we have Greinke too??? PLZ?

Gilbert_Vengeance
Gilbert_Vengeance

 @plaza234  then quit watching them? Go cheer for the Clips. They obviously better right? they won the first match-up right? Cheer for the Clips. Hop off your bandwagon. Ill stay true to my team. Keep counting summer league and pre-season like a knowledgeable fan. 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

i say hi to your fans that sound like theyre watching but not cheering. #hollywood #lakeshow

HarryDoyle
HarryDoyle

 @IBBFTW  @Disgruntled  @HarryDoyle yah, BoSox are likely. Cherington's ass is already hot.  He needs to put together an 85-90+ win team this year with a future or drunk irish micks will start clamoring.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@DBrim @DodgerDog22 I'd take both, if possible. Only Kersh, Becks are shut down pitchers if Chad has health issues or loses consistency.

DodgerDog22
DodgerDog22

Let's wait and see, tis' the off-season is young @DBrim

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @DodgerDog22  Can't say that with certainty.  Given the Rays' needs, Joc being in a trade package would probably be a prerequisite.

 

Also, if we do end up with Greinke, I don't think Shields is very necessary.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Yes. LOL @HarryDoyle @Disgruntled @The_Real_Paul

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Disgruntled Goat @The_Real_Paul yeah. But for the price, I prefer the Tar Tar they had. Their duck confit is fried duck leg(in its own fat) with a very tasteful salad.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

derp. Does she get a raise then? :/@ThtsaPaddlin

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @VietnamDodger Talking about basketball intelligence, you can't get much smarter than Bryant, Nash, and Howard. Smarts is not what's lacking here. It's experience with the new system and with each other.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

smart offense needs smart players yo

Gilbert_Vengeance
Gilbert_Vengeance

 @IBBFTW  @Gilbert_Vengeance  @VietnamDodger Clips are going to play like this for the rest of the season. They're in midseason form. We're implementing many new players as well as a new offense (that looks horrid). This start was to be expected. I dont think 0-3 was expected, but the slow start was. Brown will get fired.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Im a lover not a fighter.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Gilbert_Vengeance @VietnamDodger Relax, you two. If Brown gets fired midseason, its his own damn fault. The Clips are trendy because of the CP3 trade and Griffin falling in their laps. Dynasties fall hard. Ask the Phillies, Sox, or Yanks

Gilbert_Vengeance
Gilbert_Vengeance

 @VietnamDodger  lol i havnt had a drink in 5 months. Keep that drunk joke in your back pocket huh? Nice to see you update your attempts at insults.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

have another round bro.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@Gilbert_Vengeance @VietnamDodger You sound just like a Yankees fan. FYI.

LakerDodger24 (Kirby Pls)
LakerDodger24 (Kirby Pls)

 @IBBFTW Duhon has what might be the lowest basketball IQ on the Lakers roster. It's the reason why Darius Morris got playtime tonight instead of him. If I were brown, I would start Ebanks, and start MWP only when you're facing a team with a very good small forward. When Nash is in, I would mix up the defense and run the zone every couple of possessions, just to change it up. The rest is up to the team (not turning the ball over, doing their jobs on D)

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

So they are slow, and don't handle the ball well? That's on Coach Brown to get results, even if he has to use kids like Ebanks to get good results. Is Dijon any good?@LakerDodger24 @Gilbert_Vengeance @VietnamDodger

LakerDodger24 (Kirby Pls)
LakerDodger24 (Kirby Pls)

 @Gilbert_Vengeance  @VietnamDodger The system is great for L.A. Both Bigs have good court vision and a willingness to pass the ball, and Kobe is thriving in this offense. He's 35-67 on the season, which comes out to 61%. The whole offense is shooting 50% on the year. What is lacking is turnovers, transition defense and pick and roll defense. Much like the 2010 Heat, these Lakers need some time to build chemistry together, and understand how each other like to play. 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

nice try 0-3. Youre better at being drunk and cursing me out.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@VietnamDodger Hardcore fans can't afford the T.v. seats, or watch on Cable. Be happy you cheer for a team you can actually afford to watch.