Although the bullpen coach is not the most critical position on the staff, working with the relievers throughout the game, keeping them ready, evaluating candidly how good guys are looking and how they’re feeling – it’s important stuff.
Thus, I figure there’s a reason Lester Strode was the surviving-est coach on the Cubs, having been in his role for 13 seasons (and five different managers). But I suppose, if you’re overhauling the organization and bringing in a new manager, it isn’t necessarily the time to retain personnel simply because they’ve been doing a solid job for a long time. Sometimes, you want to push for even more than that.
I have no idea if that’s what ultimately lead to today’s news, but it’s a surprise:
The Cubs continue to make changes to their coaching staff as longtime bullpen coach, Lester Strode, won't be returning. Strode was the longest tenured in-uniform coach, having worked under 5 different Cubs managers since 2007. Among potential… https://t.co/AY3PyoH8Jh
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) November 6, 2019
With former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young (viewed as an up-and-comer) having interviewed for the bullpen coach job, as Rogers indicates he has, it seems pretty clear the Cubs are looking to bring another modern mind onto the staff. I kinda hate saying it, because Lester’s been around so long, but it’s probably the right idea.
That said: if Lester Strode is getting bounced, then truly, nobody is safe this offseason.*
*(I’m only like 10% kidding.)
UPDATE: It’s possible Strode will stick around in another role:
Veteran Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode won’t be back in that spot but has been offered another prominent position with the team. New manager David Ross is said to have someone else in mind for pen coach.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2019