Back in November, hitting coach Tim Hyers left his post with the Red Sox to join the Texas Rangers in the same capacity. Considering the amount of success the Boston lineup enjoyed under Hyers the previous four seasons, it was deemed a surprising move.
With the Red Sox set to open a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday, Hyers will have the chance to reconnect with former colleagues on Alex Cora’s coaching staff who he still keeps in touch with now.
On Thursday, Hyers spoke with MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith from Globe Life Field about what specifically led him to leave the Red Sox for the Rangers. He emphasized that it was his decision alone and was not financially-motivated.
“It was a new challenge for me,” Hyers said. “Maybe they needed a new voice. Maybe. Maybe I needed a new scenery, a new environment to keep moving. I had all the confidence in the world with Pete [Fatse]. They’re going to be in great hands. So if there was a time for me to walk away, it was the time. And it was probably a little bit better for my family. My wife’s job moving back and forth here in Texas. So it’s probably a little easier on the family.”
Hyers’ wife, Kristin, works at at Georgia Transmission Corporation in Tucker, Ga., which is obviously closer to Arlington than it is Boston.
The Red Sox, Hyers explained “did everything” to bring him back and “were very generous in doing so.
“It was very open,” he said. “It was my call. And I’m the one who walked away.”
Before officially joining the Rangers’ coaching staff under Chris Woodward, Hyers interviewed with the Yankees, who also had an opening at hitting coach. He said that while he was flattered by having the opportunity to speak with the Yankees, he believed the Rangers were the better fit and opted to sign on there.
In Hyers’ final season as hitting coach in Boston in 2021, the Red Sox batted .261/.328/.449 (107 wRC+) as a team while averaging more than 5.1 runs per game. 2021 was also the second year in which Hyers had assistant hitting coach Pete Fatse working under him. The two had a strong relationship which led Hyers to believe Fatse was ready to take over for him beginning in 2022.
“If there was a time for a new voice and kind of moving forward, Pete was the guy,” said Hyers. “He had been there for two years. He had heard my language. He had heard if things were flowing. So if it was best for me and my family to walk and to do something else, they were in great hands.”
The Red Sox, as noted by Smith, hired Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal to serve as assistant hitting coaches under Fatse.
“When Pete came around, it was like, man, I kind of found my brother in this game,” Hyers said. “We saw the swing and we saw a lot of how the offense should work, we saw it very similar. And obviously I’ve got a few more years ahead of him. I’m older. But that’s the way I felt. So when I say maybe a new voice, maybe that’s the time when, ‘Hey, he’s really good and maybe it’s best for me to go do something else.’”
Under Fatse, who is now a first-year hitting coach, the Red Sox offense has struggled mightily. They come into play Friday having scored 107 runs, the third-worst mark in the majors, while hitting a meager .229/.285/.345 (83 wRC+) as a team so far this season.
Despite those struggles, Hyers still feels as though the Sox are in good hands with Fatse as their hitting coach, noting that offense as a whole is down around the league this year.
“Pete is really smart,” Hyers said. “He’s a great hitting coach. I have all the confidence in the world in Pete. He made me a better hitting coach being a partner with him and co-worker. He’s really, really good. I’m sure him being the head guy, there’s things he’s going to have to learn and things you don’t see until you walk in those shoes. Adjustments to make. To me, it’s brand new every year. You have to maneuver how you want to help each hitter and how you want to help this team. And what’s the makeup of your team? When they go through slumps, how do you help them? Is it push or back off? What do you do?”
Hyers also cited the shortened spring training that came as a result of the lockout having an impact on new hitting coaches such as Fatse and even himself.
“It’s kind of like me here,” Hyers said. “You’re getting to know your players. You’re getting to know how they react to things.”
“Overall, hitting is down this year,” he added. “There’s a few clubs tearing it up. But for the most part, there’s a lot of clubs that are trying to find their footing here early in the season. I think pitching has put it to us offensively. No excuses, but I do feel that kind of the late start, maybe some of the hitters didn’t get their footing, their timing like they are usually accustomed to. And that could play a part in it.”
(Picture of Tim Hyers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)