Top 5 Candidates to Replace Dale Sveum as Hitting Coach

After weeks worth of speculation, the Chicago Cubs finally found their manager of the future with the hiring of now former Milwaukee Brewers bench and hitting coach Dale Sveum (via Washington Post).

While the move will prove to be brilliant for the north-siders, the same cannot be said for the team relinquishing their former assistant-skipper of the last six seasons.

Aiding in Milwaukee’s first postseason series victory since 1982 and first NLCS appearance, the 47-year-old California native was a valued piece in one of the greatest seasons in the club’s history. He has served as a helping hand to Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and every hitter on Ron Roenicke’s depth chart.

Now that Sveum has moved on to pursue his own managerial career, who will replace him in Milwaukee’s dugout?   Here are five candidates worth mentioning.

John Shelby

During his playing days, the switch-hitting center fielder was a member of two World Series-winning clubs, and maintained a .239 career batting average over 11 career MLB seasons.  Shelby is currently an outfield instructor for the Brewers, but has also served as a coach for the Dodgers, Pirates and Orioles over the past few seasons.  Promoting him to such a prominent position wouldn’t be ideal for the Brewers, but there’s a possibility it could happen.

Paul Molitor

Oh the possibilities.

Arguably the greatest player in Brewers history, Molitor would be an exemplary replacement for Sveum as Milwaukee’s bench and hitting coach in 2012 and beyond.

During his illustrious 21-year career, Molitor batted .306, including a remarkable 1987 campaign where he managed a .353 BA.   I’m not quite sure if anyone is more qualified for this job than Molitor.  Outside of serving as a hitting coach for the Mariners a few years back, Molitor doesn’t have much coaching experience to his name.

Jim Gantner

Another member of the 1982 World Series team, Gantner played 17 career MLB seasons, all coming in a Brewer uniform.  Batting .274 in 1,801 games played, Gantner was the quintessential hitter for the Brewers, particularly in the 1980s.

Now, at 58 years old, Gantner has never been a part of a major league coaching staff.  One of the most beloved players in the organization’s history, hiring Gantner to replace Sveum isn’t likely.   Don’t rule it out just yet, though.

Robin Yount

Considered by many to be one of the greatest pure hitters in MLB history, Yount was rumored to be a possible replacement for Ken Macha before Ron Roenicke was hired last fall.

A career .285 hitter, the now 56-year-old obviously knows the ins and outs of the game of baseball.  His experience and familiarity to hitting would work wonders for the likes of Casey McGehee, Jonathon Lucroy and, most importantly, incoming 26-year-old first baseman Mat Gamel.

Yount served as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2002 to 2004, and briefly served as a bench coach in Milwaukee in 2005 and later in 2008.

Sandy Guerrero

Guerrero, who served as hitting coach of Milwaukee’s triple-A minor league affiliate Nashville Sounds last season, is believed to be the most-likely replacement for Sveum.

As told by Brewers GM Doug Melvin earlier this week via the Milwaukee Brewer’s official website:

Sandy is a very qualified guy. He’s had a big role in our organization with our Minor League guys, too. He’s very familiar with our players.

Most of the Brewers’ top minor-league prospects are very accustomed to Guerrero’s style.  Promoting him to hitting coach seems like the most ideal situation for Milwaukee moving forward.

Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a featured columnist on Bleacher Report.  Follow him on  Twitter.

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