So Now What About the Coaching Staff? And Other Bullets

chris bosioI made a late-night trip to Chicago last night so that I could take in today’s season ticket holder event, featuring the Presidents (Epstein and Kenney), later this afternoon. In recent years, the Cubs have done a conference call for this kind of thing – and they are usually pretty fruitful with information – but this year it’s an event at the Bank of America Theater downtown. I’m not sure what the Internet will be like there for live-blogging purposes, but, at a minimum, I’ll be sure to take copious notes to let you know any interesting tidbits as soon as I can deliver them. Until then …

  • With Rick Renteria in place as manager, the Cubs will turn to the coaching staff, a process that will be collaborative between RR and the front office, according to Theo Epstein on a conference call yesterday (Tribune). At least one report has pitching coach Chris Bosio set to return, but there could be significant turnover from there. Bullpen coach Lester Strode and staff assistant Mike Borzello have received a lot of love over the last year, so they may also be set to return. Bench coach Jamie Quirk, hitting coach James Rowson, third base coach David Bell, and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer are all question marks at this point. We should hear more about the search process over the coming days. Early candidate for a promotion? Mariano Duncan was the hitting coach at High-A (where he worked with Javier Baez and Jorge Soler (among others), and then came up to join the big league staff for most of September.
  • More praise for Rick Renteria from former player Will Venable and minor league coach (former Cub) Jacque Jones.
  • Darwin Barney is the Cubs’ defensive player of the year, according to Wilson. I didn’t know Wilson gave out such an award, but I guess they figured Rawlings had the league defensive awards pretty much covered.
  • FanGraphs looks at the rate at which strikes are called balls, and notes the five worst ball calls of the 2013 season. The two worst calls? Both came against the Cubs (because of course they did): one was a Kevin Gregg pitch right down the middle that JC Boscan dropped, probably confusing the umpire. The other was an Edwin Jackson pitch – again, right down the middle – that Welington Castillo caught awkwardly as he was turning it into a snap throw to first. You may even remember that particular at bat. It was against Yadier Molina in St. Louis in mid-June, with the game tied 1-1 in the sixth. Later in the at bat, on a 1-2 pitch down and in, Molina somehow swiped at the pitch, yanking it, and homering for two runs. You can see the GIF there at FanGraphs. The Cubs went on to lose that game 4-1.
  • David Ortiz finished third in the running for Boston mayor. For realsies.

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

98 responses to “So Now What About the Coaching Staff? And Other Bullets”

  1. macpete22

    Renteria will be on MLB network in a few minutes if anyone is interested

  2. Cubfanbob

    Going to the 4:30 presentation can’t wait

  3. Frank

    Hitting coaches maybe returning? Can anyone out there do their best impression of Nancy Kerrigan getting whacked in the knee?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      I can do an impression of it, but I don’t see how me acting like my knee is hurt will keep any coaches from returning.

      1. Frank

        It can’t hurt.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          That’s because I would only be acting. The real thing would hurt tremendously.

          1. Frank

            I’ve been a Cubs for my 64 years. That hurts like hell. I’d gladly take a bat to the knee for a world series championship.

            1. Frank

              Make that a Cubs fan.

  4. Eric

    If Rob Deer returns as hitting coach I’m going to shoot myself in the face with a rubber band.

    1. MichiganGoat

      If that happens I demand a video ;)

    2. TheRiot2

      To Eric :
      Rob Deer makes perfect sense a a hitting coach,he can show the team how to strike out with great regularity.He must of had incriminating photo’s of Sveum in a compromising situation. Goodbye Deer,after all it is Deer season.
      Welcome Mariano Duncan to Chicago.

  5. Die hard

    He should be allowed to pick his own coaches and some should be Spanish speaking

    1. ssckelley

      Everyone needs to learn to speak spanish, part of the job requirements now.

      1. DarthHater

        Oh, good. Let’s get this fascinating discussion started again early today.

        1. Hansman

          The new rule is that when you discuss it, you have to type in Spanish.

          1. ssckelley

            ¡muy gracioso!

          2. Cubbie Blues

            atWhay ifyay Iyay onday’tay eakspay anishspay?

            I hope that translator worked correctly.

        2. ssckelley


          1. hansman

            All the cool Cubs coaches are learning it


            1. ssckelley


        3. MichiganGoat

          Agreed, one comment was too many and now we are starting day two on this stupidity. END IT NOW!

          1. MichiganGoat

            Actually now its day three… three days of bullshit comments about the language being spoken.

            1. Stinky Pete

              Je ne comprend pas. Quel est la probleme?

              1. DarthHater

                La chèvre est en colère.

            2. Diesel

              Dos cervecas por favor

          2. ssckelley

            Tomar una píldora chill

            1. MichiganGoat

              Sus comentarios no merecen una respuesta.

              1. ssckelley

                si, pero divertido

                1. Tony_S

                  Holy shitsnacks, I understood almost all of that…

                  Stay in school, kids

                  1. cavemencubbie

                    The only thing I want to know is, will they have Dos Equis on tap at Wrigley rather than Old Style. :)

  6. oswego chris

    I have a crazy memory when it comes to former players….I really think that Rick Renteria, used to be Rich Renteria…maybe I am thinking about somebody else, maybe I am thinking about very pointless things

    1. Eric

      You’re right, he did go by Rich when you played. Not sure when he changed it up but I prefer Rick.

      1. Eric

        When HE played. lol

    2. macpete22

      No, you’re correct. He went by Rich when he played.

    3. Jason Powers

      I seem to recall it as richie… but heres to him being successful. Though he was pretty arrogant i wonder what Will Clark as a hitting coach would do? Clark with rizzo…but thats me thinking. ;)

      1. Jason Powers

        FO in san fran…will i forgot that. Certainly no interest to be had….

    4. On The Farm

      It happens, I remember when Iowa recruited some three star QB out of Ohio named Rick Stanzi, but once he got to campus he added the “y” and quickly became one of the all time favorite Iowa QBs Ricky Stanzi. USA #1 Love it or Leave it.

  7. oswego chris

    wonder why the change? I think to avoid confusion he should be forced to known as the “Utility infileder formerly known as Rich”

  8. college_of_coaches

    Mariano Duncan seems to be well liked by the players. He was also Grady Little’s first base coach with the Dodgers, so he has big league coaching experience. Hopefully he’ll find a place on Renteria’s staff.

    1. ssckelley

      My only concern is this is the guy you want teaching our young hitters plate discipline? In his playing days Duncan was horrible at taking a walk, he only had 201 of them in 4998 plate appearances.

  9. JM

    I see a new hitting coach coming. Just can’t continue hitting that badly without making a change

  10. Jono

    Yep, meanwhile cardinals pitchers get the largest K zones in the league. And i’ve never seen hitters complain more about called strikes that are actually in the zone than cardinals hitters.

  11. Eternal Pessimist

    I would like Fangraphs to give the called strike percentage by team…would be interesting to see if the umps (subconsciously) have it out for any one team.

    1. WGNstatic

      I don’t buy even a subconscious vendetta thing, but… It would be interesting to see how the stats break down for pitchers and catchers.

  12. North Side Irish

    Events like today are one of the things I’m going to miss about being a Season Ticket Holder…

  13. papad1945

    This team needs a new third base coach and a proven batting coach?

  14. MichiganGoat

    Duncan just makes too much sense, has Baez ever commented on him having a major impact/influence on his success?

    1. college_of_coaches

      I seem to remember reading that Baez called Duncan to thank him when it was announced that he was Cubs minor league POY.

    2. CubFan Paul

      Duncan should go wherever Soler starts the year and get promoted when Soler does.

    3. Professor Snarks

      Goat, John at Cubs Den had a good piece yesterday about potential coaches. He referenced Baez’s effusive praise for Duncan.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Thanks Prof, i haven’t made my rounds over to the Den today between BN and there I’m never without great information.

  15. MichiganGoat

    It would make sense that RR would select his own bench coach but I can’t really comment on Quirk but I’d think RR wants somebody he has a connection with in that role.

  16. Cedlandrum

    Why the love for Duncan over someone like Desi Wilson who saw even more dramatic strides for Baez and Alcantara.

  17. CubsFanSaxMan

    I found the Fangraphs article interesting. With new rules in effect concerning instant replay, one can bet that it might not be long until balls/strikes are called using some form of K-Call etc. Umpires will no longer be needed. Only one official to monitor all of the camera angles. All done to “get the call right.” Won’t that be fun.

  18. oswego chris

    In regards to umpires…here is a change I would like to see(now just hear me out)…I would eliminate the umpires ability to give the emphatic strike call..the “punch out”…I think it’s only human nature that if it’s close the UMPs want the attention to “show off” with a loud punch out…Like Lt. Drebin in the first Naked Gun…

    they should at least have to do the same thing on Ball 4 calls….

    “Balllllllll Four!” or “T, T, T-Take your Base!!”

    1. Professor Snarks

      I think “The Naked Gun” should be the umpires training film. Leslie Nielson’s umpire was the best ever.

      1. Voice of Reason

        And, every player should have to watch Fear Strikes Out.

        There is something cool about Jimmy Piersall climbing the fencing behind home plate during a game. We need a little excitement like that on this team.

        I’m sure Piersall is available to show these players how to go a little whacky every once in a while…. that sells tickets!

      2. Jamie

        Dutch Rennert ruled the day whenever he was behind the plate! a legend!

    2. waittilthisyear

      i actually think that is a great idea. some of these umps seem to absolutely relish their emphatic called third calls. though i have to admit, when a cub is pitching and the ump does some ridiculous called third motion, it pumps me up. my favorite is the guy who raises his right arm, then turns to the side almost doing the al bundy polk high football pose, then punch the air with the right hand

  19. Sect209Row15

    On Kaplans show last night Rentaria said his family calls him Ricky and as players get to know him they too call him Ricky. Kap played a tape from the 80′s and Ren was called Rich.

  20. Aaron

    With the Cubs games I watched this season, I thought a number of times that there were some terrible balls and strikes called against us, whether we were pitching or hitting.

    Edwin Jackson and Shark had it the toughest, particularly beyond the 4th inning. The home plate umpires pretty well told these pitchers to throw it down the middle or I’ll be calling it a ball. Before you know it, Shark walks two batters, then puts a ball down the middle…the result is a 3-run homer and Cubs lose the game they had the lead in.

    How many times did this happen to us this past season?

    1. Jono

      That may sound like a bias view point, but IT’S TRUE!! I’ve yelled that exact sentiment at my TV countless times over the summer

  21. CubFan Paul

    The Fangraphs piece is spot on. I’ve been whining and pounding the table for a while now about the Umps *looking at the catcher’s mit for a call and not seeing where the ball crossed homeplate*

    This is a HUGE PROBLEM in baseball right now, in my opinion.

  22. Jim

    I have heard Joey Cora’s name mentioned in connection with the open coaches. Bench coach?

  23. MightyBear

    I remember that game and I remember being pissed. Nobody gets hosed on close calls more than the Cubs. They say that shit evens out. Well the Cubs have about a thousand calls coming their way.

  24. MightyBear

    Also, Brett you’re turning into a real reporter. We may have to start calling you Jimmy Olson. Great job and thanks.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Olsen was camera guy, Lois is the reporter.

      1. DarthHater

        Guess we’ll just have to start calling Bert “Lois.”

        1. TWC


          1. MichiganGoat

            That was a dark, dark time on BN

  25. Stinky Pete

    “It was against Yadier Molina (Because, of course it was.) in St. Louis in mid-June,”

    Fixed that for you.

  26. Kramden

    When I was in college taking sociology, they told us that at some point in the not too distant future, Spanish would become our primary language over English.

    Just seems to me that Jed & Theo are ahead of the curve and running with it to get a jump on us all.

    P.S. – We were also told that hot dogs would be the food of the future.
    Turned out all my sociology profs were arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior

    1. Die hard

      When I was in college they said same thing about pig Latin …. Tillsa aitingwa

    2. ssckelley

      Could be true, even in Iowa I am finding more and more people that speak mainly spanish. I know of a few employers in Waterloo that pay more for those that are bilingual and are willing to be translators.

      I seriously wish I would have taken those spanish courses that were offered back when I was in high school. Instead I signed up for a worthless french class.

      1. On The Farm

        French and German were terrible choices (unless you intend to do something specifically with those languages), however, I took four years of HS Spanish and I have found since I don’t use it very regularly, I have lost most of it. I guess it doesn’t help that I was never fully fluent (bad teacher).

        1. Stinky Pete

          My 16 year old daughter was adamant about signing up for French despite intense reasoning from her parents to take Spanish. BAM. first day of her freshman year, they cancel French I and only offer French for the sophs and up so they can finish it. She’s in Spanish III now. Whew. She was pissed. C’est domage, I told her.

        2. hansman

          Another problem is that, unless you have an inherent ability to learn languages, other languages should be taught from a young age if you want to be fluent.

          1. The Logos

            Please don’t tell that to my wife (French) or my brother (Chinese), both fluent in languages to which they had no exposure until they were in college. They would be really disappointed to know.

            1. On The Farm

              “unless you have an inherent ability to learn languages”

              It would appear your family falls into the first criteria that hansman listed.

              1. hansman

                I think it was Nova that had an episode on it and researchers have found that you can do it or you can’t. It’s like being athletic. Some folks are and practicing makes them exceptional at it and some folks aren’t and practicing only makes them look less like idiots.

                1. On The Farm

                  I fall into the latter category.

                2. MichiganGoat

                  Yes research has shown that learning a new language after childhood is difficult for the majority of adults, its a constant problem we face in education when students in the latter grades are exposed to English for the first time. Here is one quick study that points out the difficulties /ling201/test4materials/secondlangacquisition.htm I’ll find some better research when I get a chance but this covers the basic arguement quite well.

                  1. ssckelley

                    Makes me wonder if elementary schools should not start offering spanish instead of waiting until high school.

                    1. TWC

                      They *all* do out here.

                      In fact, the Spanish immersion program at the public school is more popular (and, by all accounts, better run) than the rest of the school. Even so, the non-immersion classes still take a weekly Spanish core.

                      My second-grade son has Spanish twice a week at his school, and that increases to three times a week in middle school. It’s not optional. And it shouldn’t be.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      That should be happening at all schools and most of them do, expect they do it very sporadically like 30 minutes a week which isn’t enough. And some research says that even Kindergarten is too late for new language to be easily learned.

                    3. ssckelley

                      I believe it, this little 4 year old hispanic boy I met amazed me at how fluent he spoke both english and spanish. In his house his parents spoke nothing but spanish while his brothers spoke to him in english. It blew my mind how good the kid was at speaking and understanding both languages.

            2. TWC

              Hansman didn’t say anything of the sort.

              Languages *should* be taught young. Your wife and brother are fortunate that they were able to learn at an advanced age. But all — yeah, all — the research published over the last few decades on language acquisition supports “the younger the better” approach. Younger, like, before the age of *two* when your brain/ears start to change, especially for a tonal language like Chinese.

              1. MichiganGoat

                The awesome thing about kids around 2 is that they are constantly mimicking everything they hear and that mimic skill is critical to complex language acquisition.

          2. ssckelley

            This is true, I have seen a 4 year old boy speak both spanish and english fluently. Languages can be easily picked up if learned at a young age.

            True story, my 4 year old son’s favorite show was Dora and he attended a preschool that had a 4 year old boy that did not know english. They befriended each other and would speak to each other in spanish, the teachers and my wife were amazed. My son is now 10 and does not remember any of it, nor can he speak spanish.

            I know, I know….cool story bro

        3. The Logos

          I think it kind of an – let’s say odd – odd thing thing for someone to say that a certain language is a “terrible choice unless you plan on doing something specifically with it. The process of learning another language and culture is beneficial in probably a hundred different ways.

          I know the usual speech about learning Spanish (recently the trend is Chinese). In my opinion, that is all pretty bogus. Just people trying to generalize things, which I don’t think is a terribly useful way to look at something.

          1. On The Farm

            Right, but as someone who lives in (I will use my home state) of Iowa, it would be foolish for me to enroll in French or German as opposed to Spanish. Why is that? Because the amount of instances in which I would use French or German are a lot less than the instances in which I have had to use my broken Spanish. So yeah I think if you are learning a language in order to communicate with someone who speaks a different language you are better off learning a Spanish, because there are more Spanish speaking individuals in the United States than there are French or German speaking individuals.

            But to each their own.

      2. Kramden

        Relax…. In the 80′s they told everyone to learn to speak Japanese because Japan was coming on strong. Look what happened there! Probably same as we’ll all be speaking Spanish.

        1. ssckelley

          But learning Japanese might come in handy if you want to become a baseball coach. :D

          1. mjhurdle


  27. XavierGunz

    Already cant wait for Baseball. lol. Anyone know when/if Renteria will be interviewed on ESPN1000?? I heard it was today.

  28. TSB

    Two German tourists are walking in Los Angeles. Just as they start to talk in German, a passerby says “oh for Christ’s sake, you’re in America now! Speak Spanish!

  29. Mikelach13

    Does anyone know if Joe Biden called Big Papi to congratulate him on being Boston’s new Mayor?

  30. dying cubs fan's last request

    Yeah, its easy to say that and make jokes about the whole spanish thing when english is the only language you know and it is the only language around you for your whole life. Try to go to a non english speaker country and see how much shit you gonna take for not being able to talk the local lenguage well, the same goes for young latin american players that hit usa, it makes a bunch of difference. And if you not experienced it for yourself, then you’re not able to talk about it cause dont know how it feels, period.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.