Given the overall mood, it’s easy to see any and all potentially negative stories about the Cubs’ situation as the highest form of truth, descending upon us like so many locusts. Sometimes I get sucked away in that direction, too.
But it’s important to remember that not every story comes without additional context or nuance. Here’s the latest:
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 17, 2019
As John Harper writes – at SNY, the Mets’ network – Theo Epstein actually really wanted to keep Chili Davis, but he “caved” to the “wishes of at least a few of his star hitters, most notably Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.”
The article goes on from there to paint a rosy picture of why the Mets are happy with Davis, why his strong philosophical differences with modern approaches to hitting are not a problem, and why it just wasn’t the right fit with the Cubs. On some of those fronts, I think that’s probably right, as we’ve discussed. But if you’re trying to sell me a tale that Theo Epstein was happy with the way the offense transformed in 2019, regardless of what the players wanted, I am not buying that. Moreover, even if it was about a disconnect with the players, uh, isn’t that kind of an important aspect of the hitting coach’s role?
Setting all that aside, I have trouble buying that two guys who are already very established in their swings and approaches were the ones leading the charge to dump Chili Davis despite front office wishes (i.e., if that wasn’t already consonant with what Epstein and the front office were looking to find out from them). We already know that Davis did not mesh well with some of the Cubs’ hitters, and that was a factor in his dismissal. But, again, that’s part of being an effective hitting coach for a particular team. If there wasn’t a fit with the players, that *would* be a reason Epstein and the front office would want to make a change.
There may be some thin shreds of truth here, when put in the proper context, but I don’t think I’m coming away from a Mets article about the new, twice-fired Mets hitting coach, thinking that it has dropped a bombshell on a rift between Theo Epstein and guys like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Nah. I don’t see that. Moving on.