The Cubs have reportedly made their first new hire for David Ross' coaching staff.
Former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young has been hired as bullpen coach, according to The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma. Young replaces Lester Strode, who has been with the Cubs since 1989 — the last 13 seasons coming as bullpen coach. The Cubs have offered Strode a different position with the organization, according to a report, however.
Former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young will be the Cubs next bullpen coach. Before getting an in-uniform job with Philly, Young was a pro scout with the Astros and Padres.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 7, 2019
2019 was Young's lone season as Phillies pitching coach, though he held the club's assistant position in 2018. Prior to that, he spent five years as a pro scout with the Padres (2010-14) and three with the Astros as a scout (2015-16) and scouting supervisor (2017).
Under Young, the Phillies team ERA rose from 4.14 in 2018 to 4.53 in 2019 (though ERA leaguewide rose from 4.14 to 4.49 over the same period). So, he may not deserve the brute of the blame, which often is the case when a team underperforms in some area. Plus, the Phillies used 31 pitchers (excluding position players) in 2019, seeing many relievers go down with injuries while the rotation was ineffective. Combine those two things, and you have a recipe for a pitching disaster.
Even with that being true, though, Young's data and analytics-based methods were never fully embraced by the Phillies' pitching staff, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman. Whether that changes in Chicago is to be seen, but Young will obviously be in a lesser role, one where those methods will be very useful for Cubs relievers.
Editor's note: This is not the same Chris Young who got into a skirmish with Derrek Lee in 2007.
In other Cubs coaching staff news, MLB Network's Jon Heyman said that quality assurance coach Chris Denorfia won't be back next season. The 39-year-old also stepped in as first base coach briefly in 2019, as Will Venable moved over to third base coach while Brian Butterfield dealt with vertigo-like symptoms.
Chris Denorfia won’t be back as quality assurance coach with the Cubs. With a new regime there are obviously changes. Denorfia, the former outfielder, is extremely well-respected throughout the game.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 7, 2019