Now that Dale Sveum is officially the manager of the Chicago Cubs, who do you think should be on his coaching staff for 2012? Here is my list:
Bench coach: Lloyd McClendon. I think that having a bench coach with previous MLB managerial experience is a plus. McClendon was a coach for Jim Leyland's Pirates when Sveum played on the team in 1997 and 1999. He also managed the Pirates from 2001-2005. His managerial record is 336-448 which is not very good, but he was not given much to work with in Pittsburgh. I always liked and respected McClendon as a player and remember him being very good off the bench and in a utility role for the 1989 Cubs.
Hitting coach: Ron Jackson. Jackson was recently the Boston Red Sox hitting coach from 2003-2006. In his first two seasons as Boston's hitting coach, the Red Sox led the majors in runs, batting average, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging average. I'd like to see him have the chance to duplicate that success with the Cubs players.
Pitching coach: Darren Balsley. Balsley has been pitching coach for the San Diego Padres from 2003-present. Since he became pitching coach in 2003 the team's ERA has went from 4.87 to a Major-League best 3.70 in 2007 and a Major-League best 3.07 in 2010. Also, pitchers like Heath Bell, Jake Peavy, Cla Meredith, Chris Young, Akinori Otsuka and Kevin Cameron have had some of their best seasons under Balsley. Jed Hoyer, former Padres GM, has emphasized pitching and strong defense for the Cubs. I'd like to see him pursue his former team's pitching coach and bring him to Chicago.
First base coach: Pat Listach. I would keep Listach and move him from bench coach to first base/baserunning coach.
Third base coach: DeMarlo Hale. Hale would probably be a good choice for bench coach as well, but I'd like to see him coach third base and be the infield instructor. I don't know if he'll stay with the Red Sox once they hire a new manager and if he becomes available, I'd like to see the Cubs take him. This move would also reunite three former Red Sox coaches from the 2004 team in Sveum, Jackson and Hale.
Bullpen coach: Lester Strode. I would keep Lester as bullpen coach.