Cubs

Cubs will decide if Alomars worth the risk

584932.png

Cubs will decide if Alomars worth the risk

There is the inevitable sense that Sandy Alomar Jr. will one day become a manager.

There is no denying his baseball bloodlines, or the perspective he gained by playing 20 years in the big leagues. Its more a question of when, not if.

There is one hole in Alomars resume zero managing experience that will certainly come up as he interviews with Theo Epsteins crew. The Cleveland Indians bench coach was scheduled to have dinner with Cubs executives on Thursday night, and meet with them again on Friday at Wrigley Field.

This will be the fourth audition at Clark and Addison, and you get the sense that the Cubs are willing to gamble on someone who hasnt done it before. Alomar is 45 years old, an age where he can draw upon his experiences and grow into the job.

At this level, Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum have been interim managers for 118 games combined, which in a long season might get you to the middle of August. Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has never run an entire team before.

Beyond these four candidates, the Cubs are not believed to have scheduled any other interviews yet, though that doesnt necessarily mean that they wont talk to anyone else.

Alomar grew up in Puerto Rico and around the game. His father Sandy played 15 seasons in the big leagues before beginning a long coaching career. His younger brother Roberto, a gifted second baseman, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Alomar would have a physical presence in the room. He would be able to connect with the Latin players. He would also get what Maddux calls instant credibility with your players because hes competed at the highest level.

Alomar made his living as a catcher, the leadership position that has produced Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles Angels), Joe Girardi (New York Yankees) and Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants), three managers whove led their teams to World Series titles within the last decade.

The perception of Maddux as a candidate seems to have improved because former pitching coaches like Bud Black (San Diego Padres) and John Farrell (Toronto Blue Jays) have developed into well-regarded managers.

Alomar used to catch Black and Farrell with the Indians. They were teammates in 1990, a season in which Alomar became an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and was named Rookie of the Year.

Alomar has the unique viewpoint of someone who broke into the big leagues in 1988 and finally retired in 2007. He played with Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel.

Alomar already lives in Chicago after playing parts of five seasons on the South Side. He may have a gap in experience, but he would still offer more of a coaching background than White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

Alomar joined the Cleveland staff after spending two seasons as a catching instructor for the New York Mets. He was the Indians first-base coach the past two years before recently getting a promotion to bench coach.

Like Mackanin and Sveum, Alomar has already interviewed with the Boston Red Sox. (Maddux declined because of family reasons.) They were part of the list Epstein began compiling before he jumped to the Cubs.

Some people take different routes, Alomar told reporters on Wednesday at Fenway Park. I chose this way. I've learned a tremendous amount. I feel like I'm prepared to manage a major-league team even though I didn't manage in the minor leagues.

So Alomar has already gone through the kind of game simulations and rapid-fire questions hell face on Friday at Wrigley Field.

Here was the takeaway Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington gave the Boston media after Alomars interview: Hes going to be a major-league manager, (in) 2012 or sometime after that.

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

chrisbosiochanges.jpg
USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, the team declining a club contract option for next year and making a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

chrisbosiofired.jpg
USA TODAY

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

In Theo Epstein's end of season press conference on Friday he said that any coach Joe Maddon wants back will return in 2018.

Evidently, there's one coach Maddon didn't want back.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Cubs have fired longtime pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Bosio served as the Cubs pitching coach from 2012-17. He was the team's pitching coach under former managers' Dale Sveum (2012-13) and Rick Renteria (2014), and was retained when Maddon was hired as manager of the Cubs in 2015.

Bosio, who is one of the most respected pitching coaches in baseball, was instrumental in the career resurgence of Jake Arrieta who captured the Cy Young award in 2015, and the development of 27-year-old starter Kyle Hendricks (MLB's ERA leader in 2016).

One reason that could've led to Bosio's firing was the pitching staff's control issues during both the regular season and postseason, which Epstein mentioned during Friday's press conference. The Cubs issued the fifth-most walks (554) in the National League during the regular season and the highest total (53) during the postseason.

As the Cubs hit the market for a new pitching coach, Nightengale mentioned that one name that could be on the radar is former Tampa Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who parted ways with the organization following the 2017 season.

Hickey served as Maddon's pitching coach in Tampa Bay from 2006-2014.