The aftermath of the Cubs’ 92-win season, in which they fell short of the World Series, has claimed a number of members of the coaching staff, even after Theo Epstein said last Friday that Joe Maddon would have all the coaches back that he wanted.
The implication, then, after the moves made Thursday, is that Maddon wanted to shake up his staff, and so he has.
Thursday, the Cubs announced that John Mallee was out after three years as hitting coach, and his replacement is former major leaguer Chili Davis. Davis has spent the last six years as a batting coach, 2012-14 with the Athletics and 2015-17 with the Red Sox. As a player, Davis had a 19-year major league career in which he was a three-time All-Star. The switch-hitting outfielder was a career .274 hitter (2,380-for-8,673) with 424 doubles, 350 home runs, 1,372 RBI and 1,240 runs scored in 2,436 games. He drove in 80 or more runs in a season nine times and hit 20 or more home runs 10 times.
Gary Jones, who has been the Cubs’ third-base coach since 2012 and by all accounts did a pretty good job, is also out, replaced by another former Red Sox coach, Brian Butterfield. Butterfield is his 22nd season as a coach at the major league level, including his 18th as a third base coach. He started as first base coach for the Yankees from 1994-95 and served as third base coach for the Diamondbacks from 1998-2000 before joining the Blue Jays for 11 seasons from 2002-12, including nine seasons as third base coach (2002-07, 2010-12) and two as bench coach (2008-09). He has served as third base coach, infield coach and baserunning coach for the Red Sox for the last five seasons starting in 2013.
The Cubs promoted Andy Haines to the position of assistant hitting coach, vacated last week when Eric Hinske was named batting coach for the Angels.
Haines joined the Cubs organization as minor league hitting coordinator prior to the 2016 season after spending the previous seven years in the Marlins organization, most recently as manager of Triple-A New Orleans for two years from 2014-15.
So that’s three new coaches — meaning Joe likely wanted to shake things up, given what Theo said last week.
We still await a new pitching coach. The Cubs press release announcing these hires also noted that Chris Bosio’s contract option for 2018 was not being picked up. It seems logical that Jim Hickey, who coached under Maddon for eight years with the Rays, would be the hire, but there is no news yet. As always, we await developments.