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Mark Grace, Next Kane County Manager?

Here's an unexpected baseball note.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs have left Kane County for South Bend as a Midwest League affiliate, but according to this Kane County Chronicle article, a popular former Cub might be a prominent figure for the Cougars in 2015:

With the Cougars and Arizona Diamondbacks announcing Wednesday a two-year player-development contract through 2016, D’backs farm director Mike Bell acknowledged Mark Grace might be ticketed for a Class-A managerial job next season.

Bell also was clear the former longtime Cubs first baseman boasted an enviable ceiling, and may even be targeted by another organization. Grace served as hitting coach for Arizona’s Short-A affiliate Hillsboro (Oregon) Hops in 2014, helping the club win the Northwest League title.

"He can do a lot of different things," Bell said. "We’re talking about a guy that was a very good Major League player. He’s been an outstanding coach for us. He could certainly be in Kane County, he could be at Triple-A, he could be on somebody’s Major League staff."

Grace's legal problems which led to his dismissal from the D'backs broadcast team are well known and don't have to be rehashed here. He was given a second chance with the Arizona organization with that hitting-coach position this season and from all accounts, did a very good job, so much so that he might even be in demand from a big-league team:

"I think there’s going to be Major League teams looking at Mark," Bell said. "He’s committed himself to coaching. He’s done it at the lowest levels. He’s a hard worker. I think when other teams pick up on that – guys willing to go back and work their butt off – those guys don’t usually last long in the minor leagues."

I always thought during Grace's playing career that he might make a good coach or manager someday, but he opted to go into broadcasting instead, where he wasn't very good (and this isn't just my opinion, I know it's shared by many). At age 50, he might still have a big-league coaching or managing career in his future, just as happened with his longtime teammate Ryne Sandberg.

In any case, it would be a shrewd move by the D'backs organization to name him manager at Kane County, because that surely would bring more Cubs fans out to the ballpark in Geneva.