For 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.