The Brewers won’t renew the contract of hitting coach Andy Haines for the 2022 season, according to multiple reporters (including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy). Assistant hitting coach Jacob Cruz may also be on the way out, as the Brewers have informed him that he is free to look into other job opportunities.
Haines was initially hired in November 2018, while Cruz joined the Brew Crew following the 2019 campaign. While Milwaukee has reached the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, the Brew Crew has often relied on pitching, defense, and a deep bullpen to bail out a lackluster offense. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Brewers rank 18th of 30 teams in runs, 21st in wRC+ (93), 28th in batting average (.238), 13th in on-base percentage (.322), and 20th in slugging percentage (.413). Milwaukee’s 24.7% strikeout rate is also the fifth-worst of any team over that three-year period.
Things seemed to come to a head in the Brewers’ NLDS loss to the Braves this October, as Milwaukee managed only 24 hits and six runs over the four-game series, with four of those runs coming in Game 4. The Brewers also scored two runs in their two-game loss to the Dodgers in the 2020 Wild Card series, so all told, the Brewers have been shut out in three of their last six postseason games.
Haines and Cruz aren’t solely responsible for this lack of production, of course, as downturns from the Brewers’ two highest-paid players (Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain) have hampered the team’s ability to generate offense. As well, Willy Adames exploded at the plate after being dealt to the Brewers in May, Luis Urias enjoyed some measure of a breakout season, and Avisail Garcia hit well this season after struggling in 2020. However, the overall lack of consistency throughout the lineup didn’t leave much margin for error in putting runs on the board.
Prior to his three seasons in Milwaukee, Haines was the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach in 2017-18 and Chicago’s minor league hitting instructor in 2016. Haines also has eight years of experience as a hitting coach and manager in the Marlins’ farm system, giving him a longstanding relationship with Yelich dating back to the former NL MVP’s prospect days.