Cubs Hire Bill Mueller, Move Brandon Hyde Into the Dugout

The Cubs named a majority of their 2014 coaching staff on Friday afternoon as well as changes to their minor league system. As expected, the Cubs kept Chris Bosio and Lester Strode to coach the pitching staff under Rick Renteria. Franklin Font was retained as a staff assistant and Mike Borzello was retained but received a new title. Borzello is the Cubs’ catching and strategy coach.

The big news was the additions of Bill Mueller and Brandon Hyde. Mueller left his job as a scout with the Dodgers and took the Cubs’ hitting coach position. The Tigers were also thought to be interested in Mueller for the same position before hiring Wally Joyner.

Brandon Hyde will be in the dugout next season as Rick Renteria’s bench coach. By management moving Hyde from Director of Player Development, or farm director, he should help keep the message consistent from the front office to the field.

The Cubs announced the hiring of all but one coaching position on Friday. The Cubs still need to hire a first base coach.

Chris Bosio reportedly signed a two-year contract but the terms of the other contracts were not released.

With Brandon Hyde on the coaching staff, the Cubs announced on Friday that Jaron Madison would replace Hyde as Director of Player Development. Madison was the director of amateur scouting and that position will now belong to Matt Dorey. Theo Epstein hired Dorey away from the Red Sox and he had been working as a national and regional crosschecker.

When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer decided to make wholesale changes to the big league coaching staff, they said the new staff would be built around the importance of player development and communication.

Bill Mueller

Bill Mueller will put on a uniform this spring for the first time since 2007 when he was the interim hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mueller replaced Eddie Murray at the time and before the end of the season, the Dodgers removed the interim tag from Mueller. Following the 2007 season, Mueller went back to the Dodgers’ front office. Mueller was a scout for the Dodgers last year.

After the announcement was made that he was the Cubs new hitting coach, Mueller said, “It’s something that has always been inside me, to be near the field again and be part of a team and be with a Major League club.”

Bill Mueller is eager to get started as the Cubs’ hitting coach … a hiring that many felt was just as important as finding the right manager.

Mueller will begin studying film of Cubs’ hitters, which is expected to take six weeks, and then start contacting the players. Theo Epstein wants the Cubs to lead the league in on-base percentage, and Mueller’s response was that he’s up to the tough assignment.

According to the Tribune, getting Starlin Castro “back to his old self obviously will be job one” for Bill Mueller.

Brandon Hyde

Brandon Hyde has been with the Cubs for the last two seasons. Hyde took over as the team’s farm director when Oneri Fleita was fired. Hyde was Jack McKeon’s bench coach in Florida for a year and a half. Hyde has 11 years of coaching experience, nine of those in the Marlins’ system.

Gary Jones

Gary Jones makes his way to the Cubs from the San Diego Padres. Jones will be Renteria’s third base and infield coach. Jones has been with the Padres for the last 11 years and was the Padres’ roving minor league instructor last season. The Cubs, and Tigers, will not be allowed to raid the Padres’ coaching staffs any further according to a report from San Diego.

Jose Castro

The Cubs did not give Jose Castro the title, but he will basically be the Cubs defensive coordinator. Castro is officially the Cubs’ Quality Assurance Coach. Castro’s duties will include defensive positioning and conveying scouting reports. Castro has 25 years of experience as either a minor league hitting coordinator or hitting coach in the Royals, Expos, Mariners, Marlins and Padres organizations.

Mike Brumley

It was Bill Mueller’s decision to hire Mike Brumley to be the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach. Brumley will work with Mueller after spending the last four seasons as the Mariners’ first base coach. Brumley has extensive minor league coaching and managing experience on his resume. Brumley’s duties with the Mariners’ included coaching outfielders and baserunning.

First Base and Minor League Coaching Staffs

It is unclear at this point who the frontrunner is to be the Cubs’ new first base coach. Bruce Fields was thought to be the main candidate but he was not part of Friday’s announcement. Alex Cora, Henry Blanco and Mariano Duncan were also thought to be candidates for coaching positions. Blanco would like to play one more year according to a report earlier in the week.

The Cubs should be finalizing their minor league staff assignments and announcing the coaching staffs for the Iowa Cubs, Tennessee Smokies, Daytona Cubs, Kane County Cougars and Boise Hawks, as well as the AZL Cubs and the Dominican and Venezuelan summer teams, in the coming days prior to the Winter Meetings.

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  • Tom U

    Mariano Duncan and Brian Harper are the brightest stars among the Cubs’ minor league coaches.

    Minor league managers Buddy Bailey, Dave Keller, and Mark Johnson are all solid. Boise manager Gary Van Tol did a very good job as a first-time skipper.

    • Steve Baier

      Mariano Duncan seems to have a great rapport with players, and he seems to get positive results. Hope the Cubs can keep him around.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    I’ve read a lot of good things about Duncan.

  • SuzyS

    Is it normal to have both a hitting coach and an assistant hitting coach? Does anyone else (MLB) have 2 hitting coaches?

    • Tony_Hall

      This is from a year ago.

      I don’t remember when it was, but MLB added a 7th coach to be able to be in the dugout during games and many teams made that position a Asst. Hitting coach.

    • Neil

      Suzy, teams have been using assistant hitting coaches for several years, at least the very good teams. The title of assistant hitting coach is relatively new to baseball. With the addition of the seventh uniformed coach that Tony posted a link to, teams were able to put the coach in a uniform and in the dugout.

      Without looking it up, all teams should be employing a second or assistant hitting coach at this point. There is just too much information available to rely on one person to convey the info to all of the players and work with them at the same time.

      Some teams will start using the seventh uniformed coaching position on defensive coordinators. The Nationals and Tigers are two of those teams. The assistant hitting coach will still exist and will be with the team, just not in a uniform or in the dugout.

      • SuzyS

        Neil AND Tony,
        Thanks for the reply. I must have been asleep in regards to the evolution of coaches at the mlb level.

        The link Tony provided was a great read and illustrated the need and usefulness of a second hitting coach.
        Again, Thanks guys!

        • Neil

          As always, you are more than welcome.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Seems like Cubs players never had a hitting coach in the last few years.

  • Tom U

    The Cubs have released OF Dave Sappelt.

    • paulcatanese

      Bout time.

      • Sonate

        Agreed. Although I believe his acquisition was a reasonable risk, the risky investment did not pay off.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      So are you saying BJax has a chance to make this team out of Spring Training?

      • Tom U

        Time will tell

    • cubtex

      Never understood what Theo saw in him to want him included in the Marshall trade.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    ESPN Jim Bowden is saying Orioles are talking a trade that would send Samardzija, Soler and Edwards to the Orioles For Wieters, Bundy & Gausman..

    • Neil
      • RynoTiger

        let me give a Stewie Griffin like response to Mr. Bowden “yes yes such a quality article Mr. Bowden. You’re essentially writing your fantasy baseball trades with no evidence that the trades could or would happen. I can do that too. ESPN, please hire me. I can ramble on about fantasy trades that have no merit and are just random thoughts I was having 10 minutes to my deadline to get an article to the webmaster to post.”

    • daverj

      Did Bowden actually say the “Orioles are talking” to the Cubs about the trade you mention? Or was Bowden merely suggesting a deal like this might make sense?

      This is how incorrect rumors can get started.

      • cubtex

        purely suggestions. he made 5 suggestions with several teams for Wieters. It is all in good fun and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

      • Neil

        Dave, please see the link I posted above. This should answer your questions.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Is there any difference between a correct rumor and incorrect rumor ?…..we can talk about the rumors ( never knew it was true or not) of Bruce Sutter going to Montreal for Gary Carter…..or Bill Madlock going to the Dodgers for a bunch of prospects who later became stars……..or other past Cubs rumors ( and there are some really good stories) I might know about due to my connections.

        • Tony_Hall

          Yes there actually is a difference.

          One is a rumor that teams actually talked, the other is what Bowden did and just made up what he thinks would be fair deals.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Cubs sign Casper Wells.

  • cubtex

    Brandon Hyde as dugout coach and his cousin Dr. Jekyll hired as new medical trainer. Interesting coaching staff.

  • jtrain23

    I know it’s a few days early but I just want to share my thanks for having an open forum where we can have intelligent conversations about sports. Although we might sometimes disagree, all CCO posters are respectful and ultimately use proper perspective.

    After reading the articles over the last 24 hours regarding D Rose, it makes me realize how rare it is to be able to discuss with people that are rational. It makes me sick to read posts by anonymous trolls that take joy and mock the misfortune of others, especially when it regards a man’s health. Sorry for jumping off topic here, I just wanted to share my thoughts.