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The Cubs should hire Mike Scioscia as bench coach

No, seriously. Hear me out.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Dave Martinez was Joe Maddon’s bench coach for 10 seasons — seven with the Rays, three with the Cubs — before he departed to become manager of the Nationals in 2018.

That’s a long time for such a partnership, and you’d always see Martinez standing next to Maddon in the dugout. The two seemed very close, and it was clear that Martinez was a great asset to Joe in his managerial career.

What was interesting to me during the 2018 season, watching Maddon in the dugout, is that bench coach Brandon Hyde often wasn’t the guy standing closest to Joe. Instead, that close dugout confidant was usually pitching coach Jim Hickey, who, like Martinez, had a long history with Maddon. Maddon and Hickey have spent 10 years together, nine in Tampa and now one in Chicago.

Brandon Hyde, the current bench coach, was brought in from the Marlins organization, where he had served as bench coach and interim manager, as minor league field coordinator for the Cubs in 2012. Later that year he became director of player development, then returned to the field as bench coach under Rick Renteria in 2014. When Maddon came to the Cubs in 2015, Hyde moved over to become first-base coach, returning to the bench coach role in 2018.

Hyde just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who Maddon likes to have by his side, a trusted confidant of many years.

Mike Scioscia, who stepped down as Angels manager after the 2018 season, would be the perfect person for this role, if he’s willing.

Scioscia managed the Angels for 19 seasons. In that time he posted a W/L record of 1650-1428 (.536) and led the Angels to seven postseasons and one World Series title. The 1650 wins rank 18th in MLB history. Of the 17 men who have more, 12 are in the Hall of Fame and one more (Bruce Bochy) will be.

But beyond his impressive managerial resume, Scioscia and Maddon worked together for many years with the Angels and are close friends. In fact, Maddon was Scioscia’s bench coach when the Angels won the World Series in 2002, and coached under Scioscia from 2000-05. I was at a Cactus League media day news conference a couple of years ago when I saw Maddon walk in and brashly interrupt a Scioscia media session with a joking remark — something you’d only do to someone who was a close friend.

I think it would benefit both Maddon and the Cubs to have Scioscia’s vast experience on the bench beside Joe. Perhaps Scioscia would like a break from managing and would love to work with his old friend.

And believe it or not, Scioscia is the younger of the two — by six years.

Hyde has been a good organizational guy for several years and I’m not advocating firing him, simply reassigning him to another role in the organization.

This topic was first discussed in the comments in this article suggesting Maddon be given a contract extension. I thought it was a good idea. Hope the Cubs consider it.


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