Maddon Brings an Old Friend to Join Him, Developing Impact Pitching, Best Relievers, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Maddon Brings an Old Friend to Join Him, Developing Impact Pitching, Best Relievers, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Astros crushed the Nationals last night to even the World Series, and to ensure it goes back to Houston. What looked like a Nationals steamroll just a couple days ago now looks like a series the Astros could easily win, especially if they get a typical Gerrit Cole performance tonight against Max Scherzer.

  • Joe Maddon is getting some familiar names on his coaching staff out west, with former Mets manager Mickey Callaway becoming the Angels’ pitching coach (note, he was very successful in that role with the Indians before joining the Mets). The other familiar name? Maddon’s new hitting coach? It’s old friend John Mallee. Hmm.
  • You’ll recall, Mallee was let go by the Cubs after three years – the first three of Maddon’s tenure – because the Cubs were looking to upgrade to Chili Davis, whom Maddon knew well and who the front office loved. Davis’s time with the Cubs was so unsuccessful he was dumped after just one year, replaced by Anthony Iapoce. But with Maddon seeking out Mallee as his new hitting coach, anyone else getting the feeling that it was the front office, perhaps much more than Maddon, who sought to make the swap to Davis? At least fair to wonder.
  • Also, I didn’t realize that Eric Hinske was no longer the Angels’ hitting coach (remember when he got poached away from the Cubs?). He lasted only one year in that role, and appears now to be a free agent, so to speak. I wonder if the David-Ross-led Cubs – or, heck, the now-Maddon-led Angels – will try to get him back in some kind of capacity?
  • One last bit on Maddon and the Angels: they should have Shohei Ohtani back on the mound next year, and they’re expected to take a serious run at top starting pitching in free agency. Joe Maddon could have a loaded club to work with when Spring Training opens.
  • This is what it looks like when you have a player development machine, by the way. Guys like last night’s dominant Astros starter seem to come out of nowhere:

  • That’s the kind of story the Cubs’ pitching development infrastructure needs to be able to telling by the end of next season if this contention window is going to stay long and strong.
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  • So, even if you set aside the off-field problems of these two lefties, neither was even close to the best reliever in his league this year:

  • I mean, Liam Hendriks and Kirby Yates had, like, ALL-DECADE type seasons. Ridiculous. (Aside: whatever you do, do not look at the list of the best relievers this past year and think about how many of them have been or easily could have been Cubs (including Hendriks, whom the Cubs had briefly before he broke out with the Blue Jays in 2015 … oops).)
  • Bryan is reminiscing:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.