The Cubs announced the organization’s Major League training staff and minor league managers/coaching staffs and coordinators for the 2018 season on Thursday. The Cubs have added this season a second Arizona Rookie League team in Mesa, giving the Cubs seven minor league clubs domestically and two in the Dominican Republic.
P.J. Mainville begins his sixth season as the Cubs major league athletic trainer, and his 23rd year as an athletic trainer in professional baseball. Nick Frangella, in his 15th year with the organization, joins the major league staff as assistant athletic trainer following four seasons as head minor league athletic training and performance coordinator. Matt Johnson begins his 17th season in the organization and his seventh on the big league staff as assistant athletic trainer. Tim Buss begins his 18th season as the major league strength and conditioning coordinator since joining the major league staff in 2001. Ed Halbur, an assistant athletic trainer at the big league level since 2005, this year will return to his hometown in Des Moines to serve on the Iowa Cubs staff, where he previously was as an athletic trainer in 2003 and 2004.
Minor league Managers/staff returning to the organization but assigned to new positions next year are listed below in bold, while managers/staff new to the organization are listed in bold italics.
Marty Pevey begins his sixth season as Triple-A Iowa’s manager after serving as Chicago’s catching coordinator for three seasons from 2010-12. Pevey served as the Single-A Peoria manager in 2009, his first season with the organization. Pevey has over 30 years of professional experience, beginning with 13 years as a player, and was named the 2009 Midwest League co-Manager of the Year. Joining Pevey at Iowa will be Rod Nichols, who begins his third season as the team’s pitching coach after three years (2013-15) as the Philadelphia Phillies major league bullpen coach. Originally selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 1985 draft, he appeared in seven big league seasons, going 11-31 with a 4.43 ERA (203 ER/412.2 IP) in 100 games (48 starts). Desi Wilson and Chris Valaika will handle hitting coach duties for Iowa. Wilson begins his second season with Iowa and is in his 11th season with the organization. Valaika begins his first season with Iowa after beginning his coaching career last season with rookie league Mesa. He had a 10-year pro career, including time with the Cubs in 2014. Ed Halbur returns to Iowa as an athletic trainer after 13 seasons with the major league club. He will be joined by Mike McNulty, who begins his fifth year in the organization and first with Iowa. Ryan Clausen returns for his fifth season as the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Mark Johnson begins his third season as Tennessee’s manager, and his eighth in the Cubs organization. Johnson’s teams have reached the postseason in four of his first seven minor league managerial seasons, including a Midwest League title with Single-A Kane County in 2014 and a Mills Cup Championship with Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2015. Terry Clark begins his third season as Tennessee’s pitching coach after spending the 2014-15 seasons as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Seattle Mariners. Clark appeared in parts of six big league seasons, going 10-23 with one save and a 5.54 ERA (143 ER/232.2 IP) in 91 games. Jesus Feliciano joins the staff as a hitting coach after managing Single-A Eugene the past two seasons. He earned Northwest League Manager of the Year honors in 2016 and is entering his fifth season in the organization. Ben Carhart also joins the staff after beginning his coaching career as a rehab coach with Mesa last season. He had a five-year playing career in the Cubs minor league system. Toby Williams enters his fifth year as a trainer in the Cubs organization and first with Double-A Tennessee, while Jason Morriss takes over the role as strength coach. Morriss spent the last three seasons with Myrtle Beach and is in his sixth season with the Cubs.
Buddy Bailey begins his third season as manager of Myrtle Beach and his 30th year as a minor league manager. In 2017, he became the 11th minor league manager ever to reach 2,000 wins. Prior to Myrtle Beach, he guided Single-A Daytona (2006, 2009-11), Iowa (2007) and Tennessee (2008, 2012-15). Anderson Tavarez will handle the team’s pitching coach duties for the third-straight season. He served as Single-A Eugene’s pitching coach in 2015 after two seasons with Rookie League Mesa. Tavarez played in the Cubs system from 2000-05 and worked as a pitching coach with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team from 2007-12. Ty Wright begins his first season as hitting coach with the Pelicans after serving as an assistant coach with the club last season. He began his coaching career in 2015 after an eight-year playing career, seven of which came in the Cubs system. Carlos Rojas joins Myrtle Beach’s staff as an assistant coach after spending two seasons with the DSL Cubs and one with the Venezuela Cubs. Logan Severson enters his third season as a trainer in the Cubs organization and first with Myrtle Beach, while Keegan Knoll joins the organization as the club’s strength coach.
Jimmy Gonzalez begins his fifth season as a manager in the organization, his fourth with South Bend. Gonzalez made his managerial debut in 2014 with Rookie League Mesa after serving as hitting coach with the club in 2013. A former catcher, he played 14 minor league seasons after he was selected in the first round of the 1991 Draft by Houston. Brian Lawrence enters season two with South Bend as the team’s pitching coach, having served in the same role in 2016 at Eugene. Lawrence made his coaching debut in 2012 in the Independent Frontier League after the former right-hander went 50-63 with a 4.19 ERA during a six-year big league career with the Padres and Mets. Ricardo Medina returns to South Bend as the club’s hitting coach after spending 2016 with the club. He spent last season with Double-A Tennessee and has been in the Cubs system as a coach, manager or scout since 1999. Paul McAnulty joins the organization as an assistant coach after previously serving as a coach in the Angels system in 2016. James Edwards begins his second season as a trainer in the Cubs organization and first with South Bend after spending last season with Eugene. Ryan Nordtvedt enters his sixth season in the organization and his second as South Bend’s strength and conditioning coach.
Steve Lerud joins the organization as Eugene’s manager, his first coaching stint. A former catcher, he had a 13-year playing career, including appearing in nine major league games with the Phillies during the 2012-13 seasons. He will be joined on staff by new pitching coach Armando Gabino. Gabino is in his fourth year in the organization after serving as a pitching coach with Mesa last season and with the club’s DSL team from 2015-16. Osmin Melendez joins the club as hitting coach after serving in the same role with Mesa last season. He enters his sixth year in the organization after a two-year minor league playing stint with the Orioles. Jacob Rogers joins the organization as an assistant coach after playing in the Cubs organization from 2012-16. He spent 2017 in the Rangers organization, his final season as a player. Sean Folan begins his fourth full season as a trainer and first with Eugene, while Dallas Lopez enters his second season as Eugene’s strength coach, his fourth season with the Cubs.
Carmelo Martinez begins his 21st season in the Cubs organization, and returns to manage Rookie League Mesa for the fourth-straight year. The club has reached the Arizona League playoffs each of the last three seasons. Martinez is a former outfielder/first baseman who played in the majors from 1983-91, seeing action with the Cubs in 1983. He will be joined on staff by assistant coach Leo Perez, who is in his 10th season in the organization and second-straight with Mesa. Ike Ogata joins the organization as the club’s trainer after previously serving as an assistant athletic trainer at Marquette University. Mike Megrew is in his sixth year with the Cubs, and first as strength coach with Mesa. He spent the previous four seasons with Double-A Tennessee.
Jonathan Mota begins his first year as a manager, taking over the club’s second rookie league team in Mesa. He was a coach with Single-A South Bend last year and enters his third year overall as a coach following a 12-season run as a player in the Cubs organization. Claudio Almonte joins him on staff as the club’s hitting coach. He spent last season as a hitting coach with the club’s DSL team after serving as the manager in 2016.
Lance Rymel is the manager of the first of the Cubs two Dominican Summer League teams for the second-straight season after he served as Mesa’s rehab coach in 2016. He is a former catcher selected by the Cubs in the 28th round of the 2012 Draft. Eduardo Villacis begins his fourth season as a pitching coach in the organization and his third in the Dominican Summer League. He played six seasons of minor league baseball, including one outing for the Royals in 2004. Antonio Valerio enters his third season as a coach in the Cubs organization after a four-year playing career in the minors. Jose Zapata begins his first season in the Cubs organization as a coach. He spent the previous 10 seasons as the Red Sox Latin American Field Coordinator and has been a minor league coach since 1994.
Pedro Gonzalez will manage the second Dominican League club for the third-straight year after managing the Venezuela Cubs the previous two campaigns. Jose Cueto returns for his third season as a coach in the Cubs organization (all with the club’s DSL teams) after a six-year minor league playing career from 1999-2004. Jovanny Rosario and Carlos Ramirez return as assistant coaches with the DSL team. Rosario begins his fourth full season in the organization, while Ramirez enters his third campaign.
Cubs 2018 Minor League Coordinators
Tim Cossins returns for his sixth season as the organization’s minor league field and catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and spent two seasons as the Major League bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations.
Jacob Cruz begins his second season in the Cubs organization, and first as the club’s minor league hitting coordinator. He served as Double-A Tennessee’s hitting coach in 2017, his first season with the Cubs. He spent the previous six seasons as a minor league hitting coach in Arizona’s farm system (2011-16). The former outfielder played nine major league seasons from 1996-2005 with the Giants, Indians, Rockies, Tigers and Reds.
Brendan Sagara joins the organization as the club’s pitching coordinator. He previously spent six seasons in the Marlins organization, including most recently as the assistant pitching coordinator last season. Overall, he has served as a pitching coach for 17 seasons with various teams, beginning with the Dubois County Dragons of the Frontier League in 2001. A native of Hawaii, he attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
Tom Beyers returns for his 19th season with the Cubs organization, and his fourth as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Single-A Kane County’s hitting coach. He was the short-season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Single-A Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league manager of the year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after he was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Mike Mason begins his fifth season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach. He has over 25 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City’s minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07), while also handling interim pitching coach duties at the Major League level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City’s minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City’s minor league system from 1991-99.
Steve Merriman joins the organization as an assistant pitching coordinator. He most recently served as a pitching coach with Single-A Lexington in the Royals organization in 2014 and has also been a part of the Tigers, Rockies, Mets and Diamondbacks organizations. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he has served three stints as a coach with the University of Michigan, most recently as the pitching coach in 2012.
Jeremy Farrell is in his first year as the club’s minor league infield coordinator and his third year as a coach in the Cubs organization. He served as South Bend’s hitting coach last season and in the same role with Mesa in 2016. He became a coach following a seven-year minor league career with the Pirates (2008-12) and White Sox (2013-15). He is joined in the organization by his brothers, Luke Farrell (pitcher) and Shane Farrell (area scout).
Doug Dascenzo begins his fourth year as the organization’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. Dascenzo has 19 years of coaching experience following a career that saw him play in parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs from 1988 to 1992. Prior to joining the Cubs, Dascenzo spent the previous three seasons with Atlanta, including serving as the third base coach for the major league club in 2014. After retiring from baseball, he coached in the Padres farm system from 1999 to 2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager.
Dave Keller enters his 15th year in the Cubs organization and his fourth as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Single-A Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after he served as Iowa’s hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Chuck Baughman enters his 18th year with the Cubs organization and his first season as the head minor league athletic training coordinator. He spent the past four seasons as assistant athletic training coordinator and before that spent eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator. He joined the organization as Single-A Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati’s system.
Doug Jarrow begins his 11th season as Chicago’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Jonathan Fierro is in his seventh year with the organization and his first as the club’s rehab coordinator. He spent last season as the athletic trainer with Iowa and previously served as the athletic trainer with Double-A Tennessee in 2016 and with the Cubs’ low-A affiliate from 2013-15. Originally joined the organization as a trainer with the Cubs DSL team in 2012.
Ron Villone is in his seventh season as a coach in the Cubs organization, returning as the team’s minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He served as pitching coach for Mesa in 2015-16 following stints at Single-A Daytona (2014), Single-A Kane County (2013) and Single-A Peoria (2012). A left-handed pitcher, he played in all or part of 15 major league seasons from 1995-2009, going 61-65 with eight saves and a 4.73 ERA.
Josh Lifrak returns for his fourth season with the Cubs as the club’s director, mental skills program. He is tasked with the development, implementation and supervision of the Cubs mental skills training program for all levels of the organization. Prior to joining the Cubs, he spent 10 years as the Senior Mental Conditioning Consultant for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Lifrak earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 1994 and earned a Masters of Science, Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Psychology from Ithaca College in 2005.
Rey Fuentes begins his sixth season with the organization and fourth as Latin Coordinator, Mental Skills Program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his fourth season as the organization’s mental skills program coordinator, working with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement in April after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 Draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
John Baker enters his second season as a mental skills coordinator after joining the Cubs front office in November of 2015 as a baseball operations assistant. He played seven major league seasons with Florida (2008-11), San Diego (2012-13) and the Cubs (2014).