Phillies: 2 Finalists Emerge for Hitting Coach Position
Charles Theodore “Chili” Davis, who will turn 60 on January 17, played 19 seasons as an outfielder and designated hitter in the majors from 1981 to 1999: San Francisco Giants (1981-87), California Angels (1988-90, 1993-96), Minnesota Twins (1991-92), Kansas City Royals (1997) and New York Yankees (1988-99).
Davis was one of the three original finalists for the Phillies’ hitting coach position, however, he has since agreed to return to the Mets for a second season, according to SNY’s Andy Martino. He had been the hitting coach for three different Major League clubs over the past three seasons, including the Boston Red Sox (2017), Chicago Cubs (2018).
The switch-hitter’s most successful season at the plate came in 1993, when he slugged 27 home runs and a career-high 112 RBI in his first season with the Angels. When Davis made his major league debut on April 10, 1981, he became the first Jamaican-born player to reach the majors.
Davis’ other playing career accomplishments include winning the World Series in three of his four career postseason appearances (Twins, 1991; Yankees, 1998 and 1999), being named an All-Star three times, as well as compiling a .274 career average with 424 doubles, 30 triples, 350 homers, and 1,372 RBI spanning 2,436 games.
- 2003-04: Hitting coach for the Australian Baseball Academy
- 2010: Part-time instructor in the Dodgers Fall Instructional League
- 2011: Hitting coach for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.
- 2012-14: Oakland A’s hitting coach
- 2015-17: Boston Red Sox hitting coach
- 2018: Chicago Cubs hitting coach
- 2019: New York Mets hitting coach
While coaching the Cubs as hitting coach, replacing eventual Phillies hitting coach (and since-dismissed) John Mallee, the offense produced a National League-best .258 batting average and second-best .333 on-base percentage. Joining the A’s in 2012, the team increased their total number of runs scored (+68) and home runs (+81) from the previous season. And, from 2015 to 2017 with the Red Sox, the team led the majors in runs scored (2,411), tied for best on-base percentage (.334), had the second-best batting average (.268) and third-best OPS (.762).
Davis is still being paid by the Cubs through 2020, yet he has signed a multi-year contract from the Mets, according to Martino. Breen writes that last season, Davis oversaw the unexpected rise of several young Mets hitters, including National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso and fellow All-Star Jeff McNeill, adding:
"The Mets ranked sixth in the NL last season in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Davis stresses a situational-hitting philosophy and took the Mets away from an approach based on launch angles, yet the team still had the fifth-highest home run total in the National League. Davis may not be as analytically inclined as Dillon, but he has still found a way to produce power."
Davis and Girardi had a lot in common, particular in the World Series championship category. Both won the championship three times as players, and were teammates on the Yankees’ 1998 and 1999 World Series-winning teams.
The New York Post wrote that Girardi could have “poach” Davis from the Mets. Such “poaching” will not occur, with Davis returning to the team’s rival.
Breen writes that Girardi is known for his “ability to find a balance between being new age and old school,” and that he is “open to analytics but does not close himself off to traditional baseball methods. Bryan Price, whom Girardi hired last month as pitching coach, has a similar approach. And it would be no surprise if Girardi’s hitting coach thought the same way.”
Now, it appears Girardi will likely choose between either Dillon or Stairs as the next hitting coach.