Is former Greensboro Grasshoppers manager Andy Haines on the Hot Seat as the Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach???

Hate to be hearing and seeing all this talk about former Greensboro Grasshoppers field manager Andy Haines…Andy led the Hoppers to their only South Atlantic League Title ever, back in 2011, with Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, JT Realmuto, Mark Canha, and many other outstanding Hopper hitters…Now Andy Haines is on the REAL Hot Seat, as the Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach, and how long Andy Haines can hang on to the job remains to be seen…We are pulling for Andy, because he sure helped all of us around here, back in the day, and hope the Pirates can turn it all around, and that Andy Haines does not become the scapegoat for the Pittsburgh Pirates lack of success, in 2024…

Here is just some of the talk going around Pittsburgh PA these days, here in 2024…Lots on the line, with the Pirates lurking down near the bottom of the line in the NL Central division…..

Welcome to Joe Starkey’s mailbag, where the Post-Gazette columnist and 93.7 The Fan radio host answers your questions about sports, life, Lonnie Chisenhall and everything in between. If you want to ask Joe a question, tweet him at @JoeStarkey1 or email him at On to the questions …

Bob Nutting’s Thoughts, @nuttingthoughts: My question is regarding (Pirates hitting coach) Andy Haines. Is terminating his contract something MLB teams do in-season, or is it viewed as something that only occurs in the offseason? This guy couldn’t train Lassie to bark if he had an endless supply of milk bones.

Starkey: It is absolutely something that is done in-season (you’ll remember Sean Casey taking over as Yankees hitting coach late last season) and something that should be done immediately, Dr. Thoughts. I don’t say that cavalierly, either, but the Pirates offense finally hit bottom Monday night in Oakland, much as the Steelers offense finally hit bottom in Cleveland last season — and as with the Steelers, this should precipitate immediate change, even if takes the team owner to force that change.

Our reporting pointed to Art Rooney II as the man behind the Steelers’ change at offensive coordinator, pushing out Matt Canada, just as Rooney orchestrated the switch from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley years ago. Bob Nutting should follow suit. It’s time Nutting actually did something other than count his pennies. He should force a change at hitting coach, if that isn’t already in the works.

This is getting ridiculous. It is Haines’ third year. His teams have been bottom-five in runs scored since he got there. The infuriating lack of aggression at the plate has manifested in an extraordinary number of strikeouts looking. Most (maybe all) of the Pirates’ younger hitters appear to be regressing. So do most of the older ones. The offense is abysmal. I’m not sure how much of that is Haines’ fault and how much is GM Ben Cherington failing at his job — and let’s not forget that manager Derek Shelton is a de facto (and former) hitting coach, too. But enough is enough.

One could view Haines as a scapegoat. Some viewed Canada that way. But at some point, a person is responsible to his job mission. Haines is a hitting coach, and the Pirates have not hit since he got here in 2022.

Ke’Bryan Hayes is one young hitter that took off late last season, and part of that was because he went to his old minor league hitting coach, Jon Nunnally, who was working for the Pirates’ Double-A team in Altoona. Pirates management seemed not to like that the story got out, and in a completely embarrassing move, Cherington fired Nunnally after the season.

At the moment, the Pirates, in a 5-14 free fall, are second in the National League in strikeouts, which would be one thing if they made it up for it by hitting for power. They don’t hit for power. They really don’t hit at all. They’re 12th out of 15 NL teams in home runs and 13th in slugging percentage. They had a season-low two hits Monday night and only scored because of a wild pitch. They must lead the majors in bases-loaded opportunities squandered.

The Pirates fan blog Rum Bunter (@rumbunter) made this post on “X” as the Pirates were flailing away against the A’s and pitcher Joe Boyle, who came in with an ERA of 7.06:

“Andy Haines’ first job as a ML hitting coach was in 2019 with the Brewers. Here’s where his teams (have) ranked in strikeouts looking:

2019: 5th

2020*: 5th

2021: 8th

2022 (Pirates) : 2nd

2023 (Pirates): 3rd

2024 (Pirates): 1st

Do something, Mr. Nutting (the owner, not the man who asked this question).