Maddon doesn't expect changes to coaching staff

Manager defends performance of hitting coach Shelton, others

Maddon doesn't expect changes to coaching staff

CLEVELAND -- Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked Saturday if he expected any changes to his coaching staff prior to the 2015 season.

"I do not," Maddon replied.

Maddon noted that he felt like his staff "did a great job this year."

"Really good job," Maddon said. "That's the thing, man. I know that Shelty [hitting coach Derek Shelton] takes a lot of heat, but again, this guy works within the framework of the organization extremely well."

According to Maddon, Shelton is "one of the best workers" he's been around, he's diligent about "everything he does" and has a good rapport with the players.

"So again, what else can you ask for?" Maddon said.

Maddon allowed that he understands fans wanting to blame a coach after looking at the number of times the Rays have been shut out this season, along with some of the other negative offensive numbers accrued.

"But I'm here to tell you he does a great job," Maddon said. "And at the end of the day it's about the players. It's about players and players playing well because our coaching staff does a great job of preparation."

Maddon said it is a misconception to think that another coach would make a big difference because a new coach would still be working within the organization's framework.

"Shelty works within our framework really well," Maddon said. "... At the end of the day, all of the work that he does really reflects the organizational philosophy and what we believe in."

Maddon was a Minor League hitting coach at one time, which taught him about the physical and mental grind that comes with the position.

"[Shelton] does it really, really well," Maddon said. "... From the actual results, the players will tell you, I think up to the man, that it's up to them to provide better results. When it comes to the information side or the physical working side, I'm not going to get an any more attentive or better hitting coach."

When asked to identify what the organization's hitting philosophy is all about, Maddon replied: "It's always about getting the pitch you like and hitting it hard and keeping it fair. It's about not expanding your strike zone. It's about organizing your strike zone. It's about being willing to accept your walks."

Maddon went on to note that much of the difficulty of getting hitters to improve is trying to change the nature of the beast. Simplified, it's not easy to get an aggressive hitter to be more patient or a patient hitter to be more aggressive.

"To try and teach those things on the Major League level is very difficult, almost impossible," Maddon said. "Because the glare of the spotlight is on you here to really readjust what you've been doing for the past five, 10 or 15 years is difficult.

"So coming into it, we look for guys that fit that mold. For the guys who are here, we can attempt to refine that a bit. But it's difficult."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.