Royals Report reporter Bob Dutton tweeted out that former Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer is close to signing on with the Blue Jays to be John Gibbons's new hitting coach, a name that Bob Elliott had suggested several days ago.
Hearing word that former #Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer is close to taking that job on John Gibbons' staff in Toronto.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) October 16, 2013
What about former KC Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer as the new Blue Jays hitting coach? John Gibbons and he were on same KC staff #jays— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) October 12, 2013
Seitzer was briefly a hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 but was fired by mid-July after the club struggled to hit. He resurfaced in the majors as the Royals' hitting coach, enjoying a four-year tenure there from 2009-2012, having guided the likes of Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, and Mike Moustakas into the big leagues. His time with the Royals overlapped with John Gibbons's, who was their bench coach from 2009-2011.
The 51-year old Illinois native was a pretty good righty bat for the Royals back in the 1980s and led the league in hits (207) in 1987, hitting .323/.399/.470. I remember him mostly as a Brewer in the mid-1990s, where he hit .300/.376/.422. His career really dwindled after his age 34-year, being a corner infielder with not much pop in that era. Overall, his career numbers come in at .295/.375/.404 over 1439 games in 12 seasons, earning 28.7 WAR and two trips to the all-star game.
I do not personally know anything about his hitting philosophy, but Jeremy Flanagan of Fox Sports Kansas City mentioned that he and Royals manager Ned Yost had a disagreement over it. Yost thought Seitzer focused on telling his hitters to "concentrate on hitting up the middle and to the opposite field," which led to him getting fired because the Royals had problems hitting for power. In his own words, Seitzer claimed that he would only go the opposite-field approach down in the count.
He dislikes the "pull-the-ball" philosophy to increase power hitting (he's the "anti-Cito", Tom says), saying that it causes hitters to commit too early. I wonder how that would work for dead-pull hitters like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion--the smart advice for Seitzer there is to not fix what ain't broke. He also might change his tune coming into a home run friendly home park like Rogers Centre.
One thing to think about, especially after the John Farrell incident, is that Seitzer lives in Kansas City and even after his firing, he said that "the Royals are my team" and that "nothing will change that." His "dream job" might not be with the Blue Jays. He also seems to be quite outspoken with his opinions, publicly criticizing Royals coaches after his dismissal, and publicly asking for his job back after Kansas City demoted their hitting coach mid-season.
UPDATE: Small addition is this piece from the wonderfully talented Rany Jazayerli, which shows how the Royals' offense had changed (for the worse) after Seitzer's departure, trading doubles for homers. Jazayerli references a Russel Carleton piece which claimed that Seitzer was worth about 58 runs over the average hitting coach, and through some mathematics and words that I have not read, Carleton concluded that Seitzer was worth 4.5 wins above a replacement-level coach. Basically, as Jazayerli said in his article, Seitzer had been one of the best hitting coaches in the last two decades.
Now, as I mentioned above, I would hope that Seitzer won't attempt to change Bautista and Encarnacion's approach, but how about players that are broke like J.P. Arencibia? Would Seitzer be able to tweak Arencibia's grip-it-and-rip-it hitting style?
Their old hitting approach may be responsible for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. But it's definitely responsible for J.P. Arencibia.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) October 16, 2013