The Dodgers have announced that all members of the 2012 coaching staff will return in 2013 with the lone exception being hitting coach Dave Hansen, whom the club has parted ways with after he spent just over a season in the position. While it’s true that this squad was fairly terrible offensively for most of the season, I can’t and won’t pin the blame on Hansen. Primarily because I don’t believe a hitting coach has that much of an effect on the hitting performance of a team as a whole.
Teams that can hit end up doing so because they have talented offensive players, which the club lacked for much of the year. As they later showed, the early offensive outburst was a mirage, and the reinforcements arrived too late to make an adequate judgement on how a hitting coach may have affected their performance.
Factor in the multiple injuries suffered by Matt Kemp, the late arrivals of upgrades Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, and the light-hitting/atrocious players Ned Colletti chose to have on the team to begin with – Dee Gordon, James Loney, Juan Rivera, to name a few – and the poor offensive showing was really to be expected.
Hansen is an easy scapegoat for the team’s struggles, but the concern should be fielding a team of talented offensive players who walk, hit for power, and run the bases effectively, and hopefully those players manage to stay healthy over the course of the season. The blame for the struggles of the Dodgers goes a lot deeper than the hitting coach, and it’s always rather pathetic when they get the ax for the failings of others.