chicago cubs logoFor a while now, I’d heard whispers – the good kind, the happy kind – that Darnell McDonald very clearly had a future in baseball after his playing days were over. McDonald was a former high-profile prospect with a good head on his shoulders, who has always been described as a great teammate, a leader in the clubhouse, and something of a mentor to younger players.

At 35 this year, McDonald had never quite caught on as a regular, and was going from minor league deal to minor league deal. Given that, it was fair to guess that those playing days would be coming to a close fairly soon after he signed on with the Cubs again this year. Last week, McDonald announced his retirement.

It turns out it was probably a good thing that the Cubs got McDonald on that minor league deal, because, now that he’s hung up his cleats, he’s staying on with the Cubs.

Today, the Cubs announced that McDonald had been named a baseball operations assistant. The Cubs say McDonald will “contribute to all elements within the club’s player development and amateur scouting departments,” and will also make his way through the Cubs’ farm system to visit and work with minor league players. He’s also going to help with the draft, and attend the instructional league in the Fall, serving as an extra coach there.

In other words, McDonald is going to be an all-purpose baseball guy while he carves out his niche. Good guy to have around, and I say congrats to both him and the Cubs.

McDonald is the second former Cub joining the front office in recent weeks, with Ted Lilly having been brought on board last month.

  • Fishin Phil

    As much as I know longer wanted to see him in the outfield, I think this is nice. Hope it works out well for everyone!

  • Fishin Phil

    Damn lack of edit button, *no longer

  • ChrisFChi

    Solid move right there. Its well documented that he always had a positive attitude in the clubhouse. Keeping player morale high as the kids continue to develop is always a good thing.(especially when your expected not to be competitive)

  • MightyBear

    I love these stories. Great for McDonald. I hope he has a great career in baseball.

  • terencemann

    It was definitely a bonus to have Hoyer and Epstein bring McDonald into the Cubs’ org when they got here.

  • woody

    After all the bus rides he has had in his career this is great news. Obviously if he didn’t love the game he wouldn’t have stayed in it until age 35. Nice pickup for the organization.

    • terencemann

      Yeah, he got his ring in 2007. Nice to seem somebody who just wants to be there.

  • djraleigh

    I like these kinds of stories. I’m sure he will do a great job. Theo only seems to hire the best and brightest.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    I would bet a lot of guys who can’t play baseball ‘anymore’ would be thrilled to take his place in Chicago. Hope he is good at his new job.

  • Funn Dave

    Pretty darn cool.

  • Edwin

    So is he going to be the next Billy Beane or what?

  • ssckelley

    Even though I complained every time I seen this guy in the lineup I am glad to see this move. I openly wondered earlier this spring if the Cubs were not bringing him in to audition for a coaching position. I might have been correct.

  • candyland07

    A cousin of James McDonald?

    • ssckelley

      Yes, they are cousins.

  • waffle

    congrats for him. Hope he can make a difference in his own way.

  • Jon

    Maybe malcontents like Ian Stewart and Kevin Gregg will take notice. Don’t burn your bridges, just because you are pissed on playing time etc. If you are willing, these guys in the FO will hook you up.

    • Funn Dave

      Personal integrity >> sucking up for a lucrative job.

      • Brocktoon

        How exactly do you feel McDonald sacrificed his personal integrity? Acting like a petulant child because the franchise disagrees with you on your value(especially when your in a position like Gregg or Stewart) is not a sign of personal integrity.

        • DarthHater

          I think Funn D. meant that McDonald got the job because he has personal integrity, not because he sucked up for it. Conversely, sucking up wouldn’t work for a guy like Stewart.

  • Spriggs

    Good deal. Hope he does a great job.

  • Cizzle

    The game that was rained out in Spring Training, DMC came over and signed autographs for everyone, spent more time than any other player, and every time a kid said “Thanks, Darnell”, he said “You’re welcome”. Seemed like a hell of a nice guy.

  • FFP

    Great move for the organization. Congratulations, Darnell.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Good for him! Bet it’s a nice pay raise, too.

  • Ron

    I love hearing these things. Do other organizations do this stuff this often? I suppose they do but I just don’t follow other clubs.