Anthony Iapoce, the hitting coach brought back to the Cubs organization to help fix an offense Theo Epstein said “broke” after the 2018 season, was fired this week after his three years on the job.
Iapoce, who was a key minor-league instructor when many of the hitters in the recent competitive core were in the system, becomes the ninth hitting coach or assistant hitting coach fired since Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the front office 10 years ago.
It’s unclear what other coaches on the staff have been asked back or let go as exit interviews continued early in the week.
“Anthony Iapoce is one of the most insightful and impactful coaches I’ve ever played for!” one-time Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. tweeted Tuesday. “Whatever org lands him will certainly have struck gold!”
Iapoce, the Texas Rangers hitting coach for three seasons before the Cubs hired him, had longstanding relationships with core players such as Javy Báez and Kris Bryant going to back to his 2013-15 stretch as the Cubs’ top minor-league hitting instructor.
When Bryant got the call that he was traded at the July 30 deadline, he and Iapoce embraced in the visitors dugout in Washington, both getting emotional.
“I walked up to ‘Poce and he said I can’t take this anymore,” Bryant said a few days later. “He’s crying. Everybody’s going away. That got to me.”
However closely Iapoce’s departure is related to the wiping out of that core at the deadline, he joins an impressive list of head hitting coaches the Cubs have fired or pushed to resign in recent years: Rudy Jaramillo, James Rowson, Bill Mueller, John Malle and Chili Davis.
Three more assistant hitting coaches were fired in that span: Rob Deer, Mike Brumley and Terrmel Sledge.
Two more assistants left to take the top hitting coach positions for other teams: Eric Hinske (Angels) and Andy Haines (Brewers).