Rays Retain Jim Hickey; Hitting Coach Steve Henderson Let Loose

In case you haven't already heard, the Rays have met with all there coaches and there is a few surprises for next year's staff. Most of Joe Maddon's staff will remain intact including Jim Hickey, who will remain as the Rays pitching coach. The Rays hitting coach, Steve Henderson, however, will not be retained. Also the quality of the Rays will not be assured next season as Todd Greene and his quality assurance coach position has been eliminated.

We've had numerous debates about Hickey on this site and each time we've had these arguments we usually end up at the same conclusion; it's hard to quantify a coach's impact on a team with just raw statistics. Nonetheless, here are the numbers during the Hickey Era.

Team Hickey

ERA

FIP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

2007

5.53

4.7

7.52

3.58

1.25

2008

3.82

4.22

7.06

3.25

1.02

2009

4.36

4.37

7.09

3.25

1.15

Nothing that we don't already know. The staff was awful in 2007. They went out and had a great year in 2008 before falling to average in 2009. The FIP fall wasn't as steep as the ERA fall thanks to near static K and BB/9 averages. Regardless on which side of the Hickey impact fence you fall on, when a pitching regresses as a whole while some of the pieces that were cast aside improved, the blame usually falls on the shoulders of the pitching coach.

While Hickey's retention was a little bit of a surprise, the decision to let Steve Henderson comes as a complete shock to me. Henderson is highly regarded amongst his players and the Rays set several franchise records including runs, home runs, walks and on-base percentage this year. It's kind of hard to put any blame for the subpar season on Henderson when the offense puts up the most runs in the teams history.

There's a theory floating around that Joe Maddon wants the team improve its situational hitting and have more productive outs. So if you are keeping score at home, Henderson's offense scored the most runs in Rays history, but their outs weren't good enough. Color me suspicious if I don't believe that's the real issue. Apparently, Keith Law isn't buying that theory either as he calls the move "Operation Fix B.J. Upton."

Either way, The Rays team wOBA improved each season under Hendu as well as their BB%.

Team Hendu

Runs

K%

BB%

wOBA

2006

689

20.2

7.5

0.317

2007

782

23.7

8.9

0.335

2008

774

22.1

10.2

0.336

2009

803

22.5

10.5

0.343

The Rays don't have any plans to name a successor in the near future, but that doesn't stop of from speculating. The short list of names we've come up with: Rudy Jamarillo, Wade Boggs (again), Fred McGriff, and DRB favorite Cliff Floyd. I know Floyd is an active player, but admit it...you want him back too.

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