Theo Epstein and the Cubs had no real intention of replacing John Mallee as their hitting coach after last season. But when Chili Davis was let go by the Boston Red Sox, Epstein pounced on the veteran hitting guru, envisioning him as just the right mentor to unlock the potential in Jason Heyward’s swing.
Red Sox owner John Henry, on the other hand, is glad to have moved on from Davis.
Though he didn’t mention him by name, Henry took several shots at Davis during a recent interview, blaming him for the Red Sox’s hitting woes last season.
Henry addressed a question as to why the Red Sox made no player changes from outside their roster in the offseason.
“From my perspective, people have talked about [how with the roster] we haven’t made a lot of changes in the last year,” Henry told Boston beat writers. “In my mind, we’ve made significant changes to address some of the things that were brought up. I do think we had issues last year that … and we’ve addressed those changes.
“We’ve made a lot of changes other than just the managers. You haven’t noticed? I think, who did we bring back? Dana [LeVangie], I think. Anyone else? I’m just saying, from my perspective at least, we’ve made a lot of changes. I think our approach last year was lacking offensively and we had issues that the players have already talked about. I don’t really need to talk about it, but I agree with what’s been said. But I don’t agree that we haven’t really made much in the way of changes. I think these were significant changes.”
Under Davis’ tutelage in 2016, the Red Sox had the best offense in baseball, hitting .282 with a slash line of .348/.461/.810.
Last season, Boston dropped to 10th with a .258 batting average and a .329/.407/.736 slash. Their 168 home runs were last in the AL.
Noticeably absent from Henry’s offensive assessment, though, was any mention of the retirement after 2016 of David Ortiz and his 48 home runs to go with .401/.620/1.021 slash line.
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