Coaching Staff and Front Office Moves: David Bell, James Rowson, Mark O’Neal, Randy Bush

In one fell swoop – or, more accurately, one set of announcements – the Chicago Cubs have filled their empty third base coach and hitting coach vacancies, locked up another front office member for a long time, and announced an opening on the training staff.

On the coaching staff front, David Bell will replace Pat Listach as the team’s third base coach, and interim hitting coach James Rowson is now the full-time hitting coach.

Bell, 40, is a former big leaguer and had been managing the Cincinnati Reds’ AAA affiliate this year. He had started his minor league managerial career three years prior, with the AA affiliate. I’d say it’s a fair bet that he’s got big league managerial aspirations down the road, and this tends to be the path that those guys take. Not that rest of the coaching staff is a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, but it’s nice to nab a younger, up-and-comer for the staff.

You may remember Bell as the runner who almost ran over Darren Baker in the 2002 World Series, before J.T. Snow lifted him to safety. You probably don’t. But you may.

As for Rowson, it would be foolish to judge his “performance” on the club’s second half offensive production, so we don’t have a great deal to go on. We do know that he was brought into the organization by the new men in charge last year as the minor league hitting coordinator. We also know that, when Rudy Jaramillo was fired, Rowson was the first guy the front office/Dale Sveum thought of to fill the void on an interim basis. But we also know that they were not immediately convinced that he was the man for the full-time job, and they presumably poked around for a better fit before settling on Rowson. That doesn’t mean Rowson is a bad choice, obviously. I’m just laying it out there.

The Cubs also announced that they’d re-signed Randy Bush to a three-year extension, and he’ll stay on as one of two Assistant General Managers, together with Shiraz Rehman. Bush staying with the Cubs long term, after the turnover bug bit several other parts of the organization in the last year, is something of a surprise. But more minds in the front office – particularly a diverse set of minds – can’t be a bad thing, and the Cubs are lucky to retain him.

Further, the Cubs say that head trainer Mark O’Neal will step down from his position, but will remain with the organization in some capacity. I’ve read that this front office has long believed that player health is the next frontier in finding competitiveness edges, so perhaps they’ll go outside the box with O’Neal’s replacement.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

20 responses to “Coaching Staff and Front Office Moves: David Bell, James Rowson, Mark O’Neal, Randy Bush”

  1. Funny Ha Ha

    I got it!!! O’Neal is taking over for Brenly

  2. The Dude Abides

    “Rowson was the first guy the front office/Dale Sveum thought of to fill the void ”
    Brett what was Sveum relationship with Rowson before he became Cubs hitting coach? Thanks

  3. Spencer

    Do any of these changes clear up the chatter you were hearing last week or so?

    1. TWC

      That’s what I’d like to know, too.

  4. kmr1453

    I’m not sold on Rowson for the long term, but c’est la vie. David Bell intrigues me. If he’s anything like his dad, he will do well

    1. Frank

      Or like Cool Papa Bell . . .

  5. Brian

    i actually do remember that happening to darren it was all over espn and local news stations and thats why mlb set a age limit for kids to be in the dugout

  6. kmr1453

    #Cubs have added Shane Farrell – son of John, the new #RedSox manager – to amateur scouting department.

    Any thoughts??

    1. Cyranojoe

      Thoughts: Ooh, that could be cool.

  7. Leroy

    for some reason my brain instantly went to George Bell and I had to say “No Leroy….no”

  8. North Side Irish

    MLB ‏@MLB
    BREAKING: @Marlins announce that they have dismissed manager Ozzie Guillen.

    Cubs aren’t the only ones making changes…

    1. Leroy

      yeah!!! apparently his castro remarks didn’t help him make the cut.

    2. Cyranojoe

      What an incredible debacle of a season for the Marlins. That front office went balls-deep at the start of the season, then flipped into pure chicken-shit by the end. What an insane, thoughtless approach from start to finish.

      1. Spencer

        for real. what was the bigger disaster: Red Sox or Marlins?

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