Pirates to hire Haines as hitting coach
The MLB off-season continues to throw up surprises, with the latest being the Pittsburgh Pirates adding hitting coach Andy Haines to their staff.
Haines, 44, spent three years with previous side the Brewers, with the Pirates pouncing after firing Rick Eckstein in August.
He also spent one year as the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach, with Milwaukee witnessing a significant impact over the course of that season.
Considerable task ahead for Haines
The Pirates’ new hitting coach will need to hit the ground running in Pittsburgh, with the side in possession of a core number of highly talented youngsters.
It will be hoped that Haines’ experience can see the Pirates’ fledglings turned into big hitters over the course of the next few seasons as they seek to make their mark.
The likes of Ke’Bryan Hayes and Oneil Cruz are both expected to have fundamental roles to play and their continued development will be a priority, especially in the short term.
Returning to a point where they can be competitive is a priority for the Pirates and keeping hold of their highly-touted crop of players can assist in this.
Haines will no doubt want to make sure that their improvement is progressive – keeping them free from injury will also no doubt play on his mind.
Haines’ history to play to Pirates’ strengths?
While Haines played college baseball, he chose not to pursue this as a player, instead opting to become a coach.
His rise to the big leagues has been long and arduous, having started at the bottom, even going independent for a period.
While Haines’ record doesn’t exactly pull up any trees, it isn’t disastrous either. The fact that he has been around the game for in excess of two decades as a coach could make him a valuable asset for the Pirates.