Craig Driver is a baseball name you are not likely familiar with, but according to this report, you will be soon:
Some Cubs news this morning, according to a source, they’re hiring Craig Driver to be first base/catching coach. Was with Phillies last two years. Worked wonders w Realmuto who won a Gold Glove in ‘19. Just two years in pro ball but great rep coaching catchers.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) December 1, 2019
Driver never played professional baseball, but according to his bio on the Phillies website, played three years of college ball at the University of Puget Sound. Later he was the catching coach at Yale and since 2018 he has been the bullpen catcher and “receiving coach” with the Phillies. Here is his Twitter account, and here’s a bit more about him in a bio on Yale’s website.
This hire completes the Cubs’ coaching staff for 2020. Nothing has been announced by the team yet, but since Will Venable is being retained, I would presume that Venable will shift over and become third base coach. Mike Borzello, who has had the title of catching coach since 2012, added responsibilities as associate pitching coach/strategy coach in 2019, and presumably he’ll continue in that role as well as help out the catchers.
If Driver “worked wonders” with J.T. Realmuto, helping him become a Gold Glove catcher, this is great news for Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini, as well as for the development of Miguel Amaya, who was just added to the 40-man roster.
One more note about the Cubs’ coaching staff. Driver graduated from college in 2011, so that would make him about 30 years old (I can’t locate any online records confirming his age). That means that the entire Cubs coaching staff, including manager David Ross, is under age 50. Borzello will turn 50 next August; all the rest of the coaches are in their 30s and 40s. This is a major shift to a younger view of the game and I applaud Theo & Co. and Ross for making these coaching moves.