No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Especially if the man’s job title is “Chicago Cubs hitting coach.”
For the 15th time in the last decade, the Cubs will be looking for a new primary or assistant hitting coach, because Greg Brown is out. That, according to Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma:
Brown, formerly the minor league hitting director for the Rays, was hired just last year, so this was definitely NOT an expected change on the outside. The fact he was offered a different role in the organization suggests (1) he was still under contract, and (2) the Cubs simply didn’t want him to return in the hitting coach role (or he simply didn’t want to return).
This was Brown’s first time at the big league level, so who knows whether it was a fit issue or if Brown decided it wasn’t for him, or what. All I know is that the Cubs hired Brown from a player development background SPECIFICALLY so that he could be part of the process – where everything was cohesive for position prospects from the minor leagues to the big leagues. Something must have changed.
I imagine we’ll hear more in the weeks ahead. There was no indication in the season-ending presser from Jed Hoyer that this was coming, though he did say evaluations were still taking place. In the meantime, the Cubs will have to do it all over again, trying to find the perfect candidate to work with their big league hitters, while also being the right voice to help them transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues and keep developing.
UPDATE: This is probably the most interesting version of the hitting coach departing – is it because the Cubs decided they had to keep someone else in the organization, and this was the only way to do it? From Jordan Bastian:
That would explain how the Cubs intend to keep the continuity of player development going, and it would also explain why Rachel Folden and Steven Pollakov got the bump recently to co-minor league hitting coordinators.
Bryan speculates what a lot of us would be speculating, given how this played out:
Again, we will probably find out more on this soon, but this has the air of being less about wanting to dump yet another hitting coach, and instead wanting to keep a guy who pretty clearly did some great work down on the farm.
Kelly came to the Cubs in late 2020 from the Dodgers’ organization, where he worked in player development. Before that, he was a private hitting coach, so he’s got that very modern development coach resume that the Cubs (and others) really seem to like. Looking forward to hearing more.