This weekend, the Chicago Cubs dismissed six members of their minor league staff, including AAA Iowa manager Dave Bialas and A-ball Peoria manager Casey Kopitzke. Bialas had been a member of the Cubs’ organization for 18 seasons.
The other coaches dismissed were Daytona (High A) pitching coach Marty Mason, Peoria hitting coach Barbaro Garbey, Mesa (Rookie League) pitching coach Frank Castillo and Mesa hitting coach Jason Dubois.
Managerial and coaching turnover in the minors is actually quite common, though I’m sure this particular set is indeed related to the organizational reshuffling the Cubs have been doing over the past 10 months. Unfortunately this is just more of the natural process that follows front office turnover, and is not necessarily a reflection of a particular failing on the part of those dismissed. It is interesting that, as recently as last week, the two guys singing the highest praises of Jorge Soler were Kopitzke and Garbey, each of whom had spent a great deal of time working with the 20-year-old Cuban.
The Peoria Journal Star’s Kevin Capie rounded up the Peoria Chiefs’ season, including now-fired manager Casey Kopitzke’s thoughts on the season and his time at Peoria (“I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s a great area with great people and good community support. When you come to the park and know that the people have your back, it’s a great feeling. It gives you that extra boost, that home-field advantage. It’s a great place to play.”). He’d been heading up the Chiefs for three seasons, a team that is not expected to be affiliated with the Cubs come 2013.
I include that bit because it’s a reminder that, when these decisions come down, they involve real people who’ve committed to years of service with the Cubs. Maybe they don’t fit the future plans, and maybe they haven’t been successful. But it’s still a little sad, even if only for a moment. Best of luck to the six dismissed coaches, and here’s hoping they catch on elsewhere.
As for the Cubs, they’ll look to fill the vacated spots in short order, and Paul Sullivan speculates that Boise (short season Low-A) manager Mark Johnson could move up to job at A-ball (which is expected to be Kane County, next year). That would be a nice fit, as he would have managed a number of the guys at Boise that he would be managing at Kane County.