Former Chicago Cubs third baseman Bill Mueller is a candidate to become the team’s new hitting coach, a major league source confirmed Tuesday. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday at the general managers meetings that the team hopes to soon name all of their new coaches under new manager Rick Renteria. He said he expects the hitting coach that will replace James Rowson to come from outside of the organization. The source also confirmed that minor league instructors Gary Jones of the San Diego Padres and Bruce Fields of the Detroit Tigers are candidates to become base coaches.
Renteria, clearly, has a connection with Jones, as they both have worked for the Padres. Fields has been a coach and manager in the Indians and Tigers organizations for the last decade. What's his connection with Renteria? Only thing I could find: the two were teammates on the 1988 Mariners. Fields also served as a hitting coach for the Tigers in 2002 and 2003 and for the Indians in 2011 and 2012.
Mueller was a popular Cub in 2001, though he had a promising season ruined when he ran into a wall chasing a foul ball in St. Louis and suffered a knee injury, forcing him to miss three months. The next year he was traded back to his original team, the Giants, for no one you've ever heard of.
Since Mueller has never been a hitting coach before, there's no way to know how he'll do, but he was a patient hitter as a player, and might have better luck imparting that than Rob Deer did as assistant hitting coach. His latest employer has been the Dodgers, for whom he's worked as a "special assistant" as well as a scout.
If he's hired, it'll take you a short time to remember that Mueller pronounces his last name "Miller."
Sounds like we'll have a coaching staff named fairly soon.