So, the Cubs have already made one huge move to the coaching staff, firing hitting coach Chili Davis. Assistant hitting coach Andy Haines left to join the Brewers as their hitting coach, so we knew that the Cubs still had to find his replacement. However, that’s not the biggest coaching news coming out of the GM meetings in California for the Cubs.
First, Jed Hoyer gave this quote about the coaching staff for next season.
Cryptic response from #Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on Joe Maddon’s 2019 coaching staff: “We’re still working through a lot of stuff. I won’t comment on anyone in particular, but a number of people are exploring different things and we’re not at a place now where we can announce it.”
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) November 6, 2018
All right, at first that doesn’t seem like a big deal. It could be some of the lower level coaches who may be interviewing for a higher role on a different team. We saw that early in the offseason, as Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde interviewed with four teams for their open manager’s position. Ultimately, Hyde didn’t get one of those jobs and will return to the Cubs in 2019, still as the bench coach.
But then ESPN’s Jesse Rogers brought up pitching coach Jim Hickey and I guess at this point you can’t rule out that there might be a change there too?
Cubs not ready to announce their entire coaching staff. Even admit it's later than usual for that to be up in the air. Still have to hire an asst hitting coach and we don't have complete confirmation that Jim Hickey is back. We'll see.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) November 7, 2018
That’s a bit surprising. There haven’t been any rumblings about Hickey not coming back before this, but it looks like that is seriously being considered?
The pitching staff overall was solid in 2018, as the bullpen had one of the best ERAs in baseball and the starting rotation really came on strong in the second half. Of course, there were the massive struggles of Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood, plus it seemed like overall the walk issues that plagued the pitchers in 2017 didn’t get much better in 2018.
So, who knows?
This could mean nothing, but just like the hitting coach, it would be three pitching coaches in three years for the Cubs if Hickey doesn’t come back.
And this is after Theo Epstein told reporters on Monday that the club will not have contract negotiations with Joe Maddon this offseason, meaning Maddon will enter 2019 as a lame duck manager.
This Cubs offseason is off to a really weird start.