In a move that surprised no one, Bruce Bochy and the Giants released Bill Hayes (first) and Roberto Kelly (third) of their base coaching duties days after the team’s NLDS elimination. Monday afternoon, the Giants named two fresh faces, Jose Alguacil and Phil Nevin, as their replacements.
Miscommunication on the base paths seemed an ever-present issue through the 2016 season, starting with Kelly and Hayes’ frequent mishandling of signs and ending with moments of infuriating indecision and hesitation, especially on Kelly’s end. Runners would often trip up, get caught scrambling around third or take ill-advised trips home.
The Giants were due for a changing of the guard, said GM Bobby Evans in a statement:
“We are very pleased to add both Jose and Phil to the Major League coaching staff. They are well-respected and will serve in key roles for us.They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Bochy’s staff, and we look forward to having them on the Major League club.”
Alguacil and Nevin are relatively new, young faces with a boat-load of minor league coaching experience.
Alguacil, a Venezuela native, was promoted to San Francisco in 2016 after a season at the helm of the Giants Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats. His promotion to first base coach caps Alguacil’s meteoric rise from skipper of the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels just two seasons ago.
Alguacil has worked closely with a number of young Giants — Gorkys Hernandez, Mac Williamson, Kelby Tomlinson, Jarrett Parker, Ty Blach, Steven Okert, to name a few — so a level of comfort and familiarity already exists in the clubhouse.
2017 will mark Alguacil’s 11th year in the Giants organization as a manager and roving instructor; he spent six other years (’93-’98) bouncing around the Giants’ minor league affiliates as an infielder.
Nevin hails from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, squeezed out of the open managerial position by Torey Luvollo and into the hands of an old friend.
Nevin — the former No. 1 pick in the 1992 draft — was an infielder for Bruce Bochy’s San Diego Padres from 1999-2005.
He managed the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces though two winning seasons and a PCL Championship series berth in his three seasons at the helm. He’ll take over as the third base coach for the Giants in 2017.
Hayes and Kelly haven’t found a landing place within the Giants organization yet, it seems, as the primary coaching staff is now settled. Hayes was a bullpen catcher before taking over first base. Kelly, the former first base coach, has been exiled from the boxes all together.
All of Bochy’s other right-hand men — Ron Wotus (bench), Dave Righetti (pitching), Mark Gardner (bullpen), Hensley Meulens (hitting), Steve Decker (assistant hitting) — without ever much doubt, will remain in their old posts.