Trammell has no regrets about time with Cubs


Trammell has no regrets about time with Cubs

Monday, April 4, 2011
Posted: 3:06 p.m. Updated: 3:52 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

Alan Trammell sat next to Lou Piniella for almost four seasons. The bench coach appeared to be next in line when the manager abruptly retired last August. Mike Quade got the 37-game audition and the rest is Cubs history.

Around the game, Trammell is known as a class act. The Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach was bypassed but holds no bitterness toward the Cubs, and he maintains a solid friendship with Quade.

Im certainly pulling for Q, Trammell said Monday. He was the right man for the job.

The Cubs ended last season on Oct. 3 and it took 16 days to complete the interview process and finalize an agreement with Quade. Trammell would have been welcomed back onto Quades staff, but took the offer from Kirk Gibson.

Everybody was upfront, Trammell said. If Q had been named before the season was over or maybe even just a few days (after) most likely I would have stayed. But the longer it went, (you) start getting some phone calls and it was tough to turn my old buddy down.

Trammell and Gibson will always be identified with the Detroit Tigers, where they won the 1984 World Series and later coached together. But the old shortstop is still appreciated on the North Side Starlin Castro approached him on Monday to thank him for all his help and guidance.

Trammell was the calm, soothing voice that balanced out Piniella. They teamed up in the Cubs dugout and clubhouse, a baseball version of good cop and bad cop, and won two division titles here.

Trammell has spoken with Piniella a few times and like most was surprised that he took a consulting job with the San Francisco Giants, and not the New York Yankees. Trammell doubts Piniella will manage again but

Ive been around long enough to say: Never say never, Trammell said. I dont think (he has any intention), but who knows if somebody comes calling. As long as hes in baseball in some capacity, I think thats really what he wants.

Fast-tracking Castro

If things had worked out differently, Trammell would have been breaking down Sundays ninth-inning play with Castro. Quade watched it several times and admitted that Castro probably should have held onto the ball after he charged a soft grounder. The throw was offline and two runs scored to help give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-4 win.

All I think you want to do (is) just make him aware of the importance of the decision in that situation, Quade said. Even though you might have a shot at the guy, maybe the bigger situation is the potential winning run at third. But man oh man, if thats the biggest lesson that we have to teach him this year, were going to be just fine.

Castro showcased his offensive potential by hitting .615 (8-for-13) over the weekend, which earned him the National Leagues player of the week award along with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Trammell worked daily with Castro last season and projects the 21-year-old shortstop as a perennial .300 hitter who just needs more experience defensively.

The skys the limit, Trammell said. Hell be somebody Im following for the rest of his career. Thats how much he means to me. Hes a solid kid, but theres going to be some growing pains.


The Cubs have assigned pitcher Hayden Simpson (2010 first-round pick) and outfielder Matt Szczur (two-sport star at Villanova University) to Class-A Peoria.

PatrickMooney is's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Willson Contreras' bat-flip game is already in midseason form

Willson Contreras' bat-flip game is already in midseason form

The MLB regular season is still 13 days away, but Willson Contreras is ready for the swings to count.

The Cubs catcher hit an absolute bomb of a homer Friday afternoon off White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, but it wasn't just a homer.

Contreras put an exclamation mark on the dinger (his third of the spring and the second this week) with an A+ bat flip:

I'm not sure what's more majestic: The 450-foot shot or the 45-foot bat-flip.

Either way, Contreras is ready for those 2018 NL MVP votes.

Cubs opposition research: It's an even year, so count on a Giants comeback


Cubs opposition research: It's an even year, so count on a Giants comeback

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

San Francisco Giants

2017 record: 64-98, last place in NL West

Offseason additions: Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Austin Jackson, Gregor Blanco, Tony Watson, Julian Fernandez

Offseason departures: Michael Morse, Matt Cain, Matt Moore, Denard Span, Kyle Crick, Christian Arroyo

X-factor: Brandon Belt

The trades for Longoria and McCutchen are going to get all the attention, but the Giants are sort of acquiring Belt, too. 

Their sweet-swining lefty first baseman only appeared in 104 games in 2017, missing the last few weeks of the season with a bad concussion. When he was on the field, he led the team in both homers (18) and walks (66) despite just 451 plate appearances. 

Belt has turned into one of the most patient hitters in the game and if he is able to stay healthy for a full season, would slot in perfectly in the 2-hole ahead of McCutchen, Longoria and Buster Posey. 

Projected lineup

1. Joe Panik - 2B
2. Brandon Belt - 1B
3. Andrew McCutchen - RF
4. Buster Posey - C
5. Evan Longoria - 3B
6. Hunter Pence - LF
7. Brandon Crawford - SS
8. Austin Jackson - CF

Projected rotation

1. Madison Bumgarner
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Jeff Samardzija
4. Ty Blach
5. Chris Stratton


The Giants tied for the worst record in Major League Baseball in 2017, surprising many around the league. Absolutely nothing went right for the team, from a lack of power on the field (Belt missed a third of the season and still led the team in homers), injuries (Bumgarner only made 17 starts) and general ineffectiveness (Mark Melancon).

But the Giants are a team that excels in even years, though the Cubs may have broken that juju by knocking San Fran out of the NLDS in 2016.

Still, between the return to health of key players and some big moves that improved the lineup, this team is primed for a return to form.

Watson is a nice piece at the back end of the bullpen and bet on a rebound from Melancon, who was one of the best late-inning relievers in the game from 2013-16 (1.80 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 147 saves).

Expect more out of the rotation with Bumgarner and Cueto a dynamic 1-2 punch. Cubs fans are familiar with what Samardzija can do if he gets on a role, too.

It seems crazy to pick the Giants to finish higher than the Diamondbacks, but they still have the same core of players from the championship years and have a much-improved roster.

Prediction: Second place in NL West, wild-card team

Complete opposition research

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Franciso Giants