It’s been a long, long time coming on the official announcements – Jim Hickey has already done interviews as the Cubs’ pitching coach – but the Cubs made things official on the coaching staff today.
The #Cubs have named Jim Hickey as major league pitching coach, promoted Brandon Hyde from first base coach to bench coach and named Will Venable first base coach.
In addition, the Cubs have hired Jim Benedict as Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 21, 2017
Hickey, the former Rays pitching coach, is replacing Chris Bosio, who was let go and landed with the Tigers. Hyde is replacing Dave Martinez, who became the Nationals’ new manager.
The new name in the announcement is that of former big league outfielder Will Venable, who last played in the big leagues in 2016. The 35-year-old spent his best years with the Padres when some familiar faces – Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Jaron Madison – were running the show over there. I have heard very good things about Venable, who had previously already been hired by the Cubs’ front office as a special assistant back in September. So there’s a little bit of continuity there (on a staff that probably needs some), albeit not a ton.
The first base coach hire was expected to also be the outfield coach, so Venable makes sense there, too.
So, the Cubs’ coaching staff is now almost entirely in place. Assuming they’re going to still have a quality control coach, that’s the one last spot to fill out, after Henry Blanco left with Martinez for Washington.
Also, we’ll have more on the Benedict hire separately, because he’s big time.