16h13 : The Diamondbacks announced this afternoon that they have parted ways with hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske. To replace them, the club promoted Rick Short, who had coached their Triple-A branch in Reno, and led production coordinator Drew Hedman. Short and Hedman will be the batting co-coaches.
Coles and Hinske were both hired in the 2018-19 offseason. In each of the two and more seasons since, the D-Backs have recorded one below average offense. Obviously, it’s hard to say how much of the blame for this should fall on the coaching staff versus the players, but the organization obviously decided it was time to bring in a pair of new voices.
Given how disastrous this season has been, it’s not hard to see why the club is shaking things up. The Diamondbacks have the league’s worst record at 20-43, and they’re currently in the middle of a nineteen-game losing streak on the road, a mark three games short of an all-time record. The makeup isn’t the only reason for this level of futility, but it hasn’t been a strength either. Diamondbacks hitters have a cumulative slash line of .238 / .312 / .394, excluding pitchers. The resulting 94 wRC + places them in twenty-second place among the league’s thirty clubs in park-adjusted attack.
Short, who appeared in eleven MLB games as a player with the 2005 Nationals, has spent the last decade in the Arizona organization as a minor league scout and coach. Hedman, who previously coached at the amateur level, was hired by the D-Backs as a scout in 2018. He was promoted to production coordinator the following year. David Laurila of FanGraphs examined Hedman’s rapid rise last April.
The sacking of Coles and Hinske will only intensify speculation about manager Torey Lovullo’s future. The fifth-year skipper is in the final year of his current contract, and the team’s appalling performances over the past two seasons have led some fans to suggest Lovullo’s job could be in jeopardy. The front office continued to back him, with CEO Derrick Hall telling reporters last month that Lovullo was “not the problem” with the organization (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic). The team’s free fall has only intensified since then, however.