Over the last week the Cubs have made major overhauls to their coaching staff. It’s been suggested that there are some untold truths about who is making the decisions when it comes to Joe Maddon’s assistants, but the backgrounds of the new hires suggest it is indeed a collaborative effort.
The Cubs have hired Jim Hickey, former pitching coach under Maddon in Tampa Bay, to replace Chris Bosio. They’re also bringing on Chili Davis to replace John Mallee as the new hitting coach and Brian Butterfield to replace Gary Jones as the team’s third base coach. Both coaches were with the Red Sox last season and Davis was one of the last hires during Theo’s time in Boston.
GMs and coaches tend to disagree on things, but when the relationship really starts to sour it’s fleshed out through hirings and firings among the coaching staff. The Blackhawks are a perfect example of this. It’s not a secret that Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman have had their differences when it comes to player and coaching personnel. It was likely Bowman who pulled the trigger to fire Mike Kitchen, a long-time friend of Quenneville’s, after the Blackhawks failed to win a game in the playoffs last season. Now there’s a clear rift between front office and head coach in the Blackhawks organization that everyone will try to ignore for as long as possible.
The good news for Cubs fans is that Epstein and Maddon don’t seem to be disagreeing on anything. Not making the World Series this season and facing coaching staff changes was an important crossroads for their relationship, and they seemed to have come through unscathed. Will their two ego’s always work together so harmoniously? Probably not, but at least Cubs fans have no signs of their two most important staff members butting heads.