In offseason news that is probably surprising to no one who follows the hitting coach foibles of the San Diego Padres, news leaked via Darren Smith on Twitter and Kevin Acee via the SDUT that hitting coach/former Friar Matt Stairs and infield coach Josh Johnson will not be retained for 2019. The team has not made a formal announcement at the time of this writing.
Though the stats might be the bottom line on the release of Matt Stairs (.297 team on-base percentage worst in the bigs, 1523 team strikeouts second worst next to only
Yoan Moncada the White Sox) there was reason to believe the Padres had finally settled on a hitting coach for the meantime.
Much was made at the time of the former MLB slugger’s work with a young Phillies lineup and how Stairs’ work helped improve Freddy Galvis’ batting (though that was also pedestrian this season). The viral clip above of Stairs showing off some old form in Spring Training and the improvements shown with Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe later in the season makes the release of Matt puzzling to some fans and frustrating to those who are looking for stability in a staff that will see an influx of minor league players come up in the next few seasons.
Josh Johnson is much less a household name than Stairs though is a former big leaguer in his own right, playing with the Royals and Nationals before getting into the coaching circuit in 2016. The infield coach was most notable this season for being featured in workouts at 3rd base teaching the position to Wil Myers.
Internal candidates such as Johnny Washington (the current assistant
to the hitting coach) and Triple A hitting coach Morgan Burkhart were mentioned by Acee as being next in line for coaching considerations.