The #Pirates announce former Bucco infielder Jay Bell as new Pirates Hitting Coach— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) October 31, 2012
A few weeks ago, Deadspin ran an excellent piece on Jay Bell, where Bell looked back on his career and told stories about his time in Pittsburgh and Kansas City and Arizona and New York (I can't link to it now because the hurrican took out Gawker's servers). While reading it, I thought to myself, "Man, it seems like Jay Bell would make an excellent coach or manager." In particular, there was a story about a conversation that Bell had with Chili Davis early in his career about how Davis lost most of his tools and changed his swing to hit for more power later in his career, and how Bell applied that to himself as he got older. I have no idea if Bell will be a good hitting coach or not, but then I have no idea if anyone is really a good hitting coach or not and having read that story about Bell, I'm happy to know that he'll be in the Pirates' dugout.
The Bucs also announced that Dave Jauss, who was hired as a Major League scout last year, will be in the dugout in 2013 and that Rick Sofield will replace Luis Silverio as first base coach, while Silverio moves into a role with the Latin American scouting crew. Jauss has worked as first base coach and bench coach with a few teams, most notably Grady Little's Red Sox, so this move isn't a huge surprise. Sofield managed the West Virginia Power last year and according to Wikipedia, has been friends with Clint Hurdle since 1975.
If you recall, when Hurdle was hired, much of his coaching staff was comprised of people that already worked for the Pirates. Seems to me that what's happening here is he's being allowed to bring a few more of his guys on board, at least in terms of Jauss and Sofield.
Maybe now when Hurdle calls for another maddening bunt, Bell can teach these guys how to actually get it down. As for the move, I guess I like it, but maybe more for the "Bell Factor" than anything else. Pat's right, it's hard to tell if anyone is a good hitting coach. I hope it works out.
I would just like to note for the record that Jay Bell led the National League in Sacrifice Hits in 1990 and 1991 with 39 and 30, respectively. Just sayin'.