Programming note: For all the day’s sports news, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
A’s hitting coach Chili Davis is leaving the club to take over the same duties with the Boston Red Sox, Comcast SportsNet New England confirmed Sunday.
Davis also interviewed with the New York Yankees and was linked to the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, and it became increasingly clear that his three-year tenure with Oakland was coming to an end.
His departure leaves the A’s with two important spots to fill on their coaching staff. Bench coach Chip Hale was hired away to be the Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager last Monday.
One report suggested Los Angeles Angels assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen as a potential candidate to be the A’s next hitting coach. But a source with knowledge of the situation expressed doubt to CSN California that Hansen would be heading to Oakland.
Dave Magadan, who spent last season as Texas’ hitting coach and has been linked to the Yankees and Mets’ jobs, figures to be on the A’s radar as they look for a replacement.
As for Davis, he has ties to the Red Sox, having served as the hitting coach for their Triple-A Pawtucket squad in 2011.
A’s catcher Derek Norris said he hasn’t talked to Davis recently, but he wasn’t surprised by the news of Davis leaving for Boston.
“I know that Chili made a name for himself in the New York/Boston area through the years,” Norris said. “I don’t think it’s a spit in the face to any of us. I just think he wanted to move on to the next step in his coaching career.”
Davis spent the final two seasons of his playing career with the Yankees and won two World Series rings in pinstripes, which suggested he might be a fit in New York as well.
He joined the staff of A’s manager Bob Melvin in 2012, his first full-time major league coaching gig, and Oakland as a team showed an 81-homer improvement from the season before, winning the first of back-to-back American League West titles. In 2013, the A’s ranked third in majors with 186 home runs and scored the third-most runs in the A.L.
This past season, the A’s finished fourth in the majors in runs (729) but they struggled mightily at the plate after the All-Star break. Over the second half, they ranked eighth in the A.L. in runs, last in batting average and second-to-last in slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging.
Still, Davis was a hot commodity with several hitting coach vacancies around the majors, and Norris shared why.
“He’s very knowledgeable,” Norris said. “He’s one of those guys that’s had an extremely successful big league (playing) career. I think guys have a deeper respect for guys who have done that in the big leagues.”
WEEI.com was the first to report Davis’ hiring by Boston.