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 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 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 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.
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.
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.