Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis was fired Thursday, less than a week after I suggested they do just that. (Not taking credit here, just noting that I certainly wasn’t the only one who noticed he wasn’t getting the job done.)
There hasn’t been any great groundswell for replacing the rest of the Cubs coaching staff, but there is a tantalizing hint here:
#Cubs will make an announcement re the rest of the coaching staff at a later date— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) October 11, 2018
You’d think that if the Cubs were going to retain all, or most, of the rest of the coaches, they would have made such an announcement right away. This suggests some other coaches might be let go.
It should be noted that after the 2017 NLCS exit, there were several coaching changes, including Davis replacing John Mallee, Jim Hickey replacing Chris Bosio, Eric Hinske departing to become Angels hitting coach, Brian Butterfield replacing Gary Jones as third-base coach and Dave Martinez leaving to manage the Nationals, replaced by Brandon Hyde.
Almost all of the coaches who left after 2017 had been holdovers from before Joe Maddon was hired as manager, except for Martinez, who Joe brought over from the Rays to serve in the same role he had in Tampa. It appears that Maddon might have been given some input to bring in the coaches he wanted on the staff after three years without most of “his guys.”
Is this a message that Joe’s hires (if they are that) aren’t working out and that the front office is going to put in the guys they want?
One more of the current coaches could be gone soon, and not because he’s being let go:
Rangers have interviewed Jayce Tingler, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Astros bench coach Joe Espada to this point— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) October 12, 2018
The Cubs certainly wouldn’t stand in Brandon Hyde’s way if the Rangers offered him their managerial job. Then the Cubs would need a bench coach, too. I made a suggestion about that earlier this week, though they might want to go in a different direction. It has, of course, been suggested often here that David Ross should be brought in as bench coach, with the idea that somewhere down the road, he would succeed Maddon as manager. This is an idea that might work. Ross, though, might get that managerial spot somewhere else:
Twins want to interview David Ross and Mark DeRosa about becoming their manager. Not the first time we’ve heard these names connected to that position with a team.https://t.co/VWRrfKV2Mi— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) October 10, 2018
So far, there are only reports that the Twins want to interview Ross, not that they have done so or have gone so far as to make him an offer. Besides Ross’ work at ESPN, he’s presumably still a “special assistant” in the Cubs front office. They wouldn’t stand in his way if he were offered a managing job, though. Incidentally, James Rowson, who is mentioned in the above tweet, was the Cubs hitting coach from the second half of 2012 through the 2013 season.
Regarding the only current Cubs coaching opening, hitting coach, there are two hitting coaches who were employed in 2018 who are now looking for work:
The Padres will have a fifth hitting coach in six years. Matt Stairs will not be brought back next season. The remainder of the coaching staff is still being sorted out.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) October 9, 2018
Matt Stairs spent a year as hitting coach for the Phillies and was fired after 2017 and replaced by... John Mallee. He was let go after one year in San Diego, a season when the Padres finished 28th in MLB in runs, SLG and OPS (granted, a lot of that is the personnel, not the coaching staff). He’s a popular former player, but maybe he doesn’t have what it takes to be a big-league hitting coach.
Here’s another idea:
Hitting coach Dave Magadan the fall guy for #Dbacks struggles down the stretch, and is fired.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 1, 2018
This is a road Theo & Co. might take. Magadan served as Red Sox hitting coach from 2007-12, and was thus hired during the Theo era in Boston. The Red Sox won the World Series the first year Magadan was hitting coach (note: not suggesting cause-and-effect) and made the playoffs two other times in his six years there. Note that he was let go in Boston a year after Theo came to the Cubs. It would not surprise me if Magadan were hired by Theo. According to this article, his departure from Arizona was a “mutual” decision. Magadan was also the hitting coach for the Padres (2003-06) and Rangers (2013-15).
The Cubs won 95 games in 2018, but there appears to be widespread dissatisfaction with some, or most, of the coaching staff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more coaching changes this offseason.