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Derek Shelton expects Pirates to bring back Andy Haines, Oscar Marin next season

Shelton said on 93.7 The Fan that Andy Haines and Oscar Marin are likely to return next season.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Two members of the current Pittsburgh Pirates’ coaching staff will likely return for the 2024 season, according to manager Derek Shelton.

In an interview with 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Shelton confirmed that hitting coach Andy Haines will return to the team for a third season, and he expects pitching coach Oscar Marin to come back as well.

This was not the news Pirates fans had hoped for... at least regarding the Haines part.

Since taking over in November 2021, the Pirates have been one of MLB’s worst offensive teams, finishing 29th in cumulative batting average in 2022 (.222) and coming in tied for 25th this year (.236) as of Sept. 5.

The Pirates also tallied the second-most strikeouts last year (1,497), falling one shy of tying the Atlanta Braves for most in the National League. Meanwhile, they sit 10th across all MLB and 5th in the NL with 1,216.

Keep in mind, though, he hasn’t been given much talent to work with aside from a few players this season.

Shelton said during his interview that there are some things the team is getting better at offensively, which is a main reason for his return, even citing improvements for Ji Hwan Bae, Liover Peguero, Connor Joe, Bryan Reynolds, and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

The funny thing is that Hayes started improving at the plate after consulting Jon Nunnally, hitting coach for the Altoona Curve, Double-A affiliate of the Pirates.

Shelton also sympathized with the amount of criticism a hitting coach receives each game:

I think it’s one of the toughest jobs in the game, I can tell you that from personal experience and its also one of the most critiqued jobs in the game.” — Shelton on The Cook and Joe Show, 93.7 The Fan.

Haines’ return is not surprising but it is disappointing to a degree, especially after Jack Suwinski told Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports that he wants hitters to “black out” at the plate.

A change in philosophy and a fresh slate of major league — not quad-A — hitters could help paint Haines in a better light with fans, but given his history with Milwaukee and Chicago, he has a long way to go.

Meanwhile, Marin would enter his fifth season as the team’s pitching coach, should the Pirates follow through and bring him back.

On paper, the Pirates’ pitching staff saw slight improvements in opponent batting average, strikeouts, and walks between 2022-23, and a more noticeable uptick in ERA, going from 26th in MLB the year before to 20th so far this season.

An area that fans are concerned with, though, is individual development.

Take Mitch Keller, for example. After muddling through a horrendous 2021, Keller took to Tread Athletics get his fastball up to the mid- to upper-90s along with other improvements and he finally started coming around in late 2022.

Yet again, a player turned to outside resources to improve their current abilities.

Another example is Roansy Contreras who went from hero to zero in the course of a few months and is nowhere close to coming back to the majors.

Maybe Marin will change his philosophy over the offseason but only time will tell.

Should the Pirates struggle to tread water in the first few months of the 2024 season, arguments can be made for change on both sides.