With word of his departure circulating weeks ago, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see rumors of a possible Jim Hickey replacement popping up in the immediate aftermath of his official notice of departure as the Cubs’ one-year pitching coach. I’ve gotta believe the Cubs weren’t caught entirely off guard.
But even still, the pool of available coaches will be somewhat limited by the time of year, and by the fact that the Cubs’ manager has just one year left on his contract (that’s not necessarily a lot of security for a new hire).
It always made sense then that the Cubs may look to someone familiar to fill the job for at least the next year, and thus, this name sure fits the bill:
An unsettling Cubs offseason became choppier when pitching coach Jim Hickey resigned after only 1 season, citing personal reasons.
— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) November 21, 2018
Farrell, 56, is best known as the pitching coach then manager of the Boston Red Sox, with a stint in Toronto as manager sandwiched in between. Although his managerial time in Boston did not coincide with the Cubs’ front office’s time there, they were the ones who hired him as pitching coach. Moreover, Farrell’s son Luke was a pitcher with the Cubs last year, and two other sons – Shane and Jeremy – work in the Cubs organization. The connections here, there are plenty.
But would Farrell want to come back into a coaching gig like this? Maybe. He’s been working as a scout in the Reds organization for a year following his separation from the Red Sox after the 2017 season, and a pitching coach gig with some familiar faces on a competitive team might be a good next step.
Of course, there would be plenty of opportunities for awkwardness, as some might wonder about Farrell as a possible Joe Maddon replacement after 2019. Given that the Cubs need a quality pitching coach, though, I’m not sure that kind of thing can dissuade you at this point. If Farrell wants the job and if he and Maddon can work well together, then figure it out.
For what it’s worth, a St. Louis columnist wrote today that Farrell “appeared to be the frontrunner to replace Hickey,” but I don’t know if he was just aping and exaggerating Mark Gonzales’ report, or if he somehow has special visibility to the Cubs’ inner workings. The column is about the “chaos” in Chicago, so … whatever. I just thought I should mention it.