Another long-tenured member of the Cubs coaching staff won't assume the same position in 2020.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Lester Strode won't be back as Cubs bullpen coach next season. However, MLB Network's Jon Heyman said the Cubs have offered Strode "another prominent position" with the team.
Strode had been the Cubs bullpen coach since 2007, working alongside five different managers. He's spent 31 years in the organization, starting off as a minor league pitching coach (1989-93). He then moved up to the big-league club as a pitching assistant (1994-95) before serving as minor league pitching coordinator from 1996-2006.
Uprooting Strode from his position comes less than a week after the Cubs and longtime strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss parted ways. Buss, who served as Cubs strength and conditioning coach since 2001, joined Joe Maddon’s Angels coaching staff as a quality assurance coach.
At his end-of-season press conference, Cubs president Theo Epstein said that there’d be changes up and down the organization this winter. Parting ways with Maddon — who was replaced by David Ross — will garner more headlines, but the Strode and Buss news represent major culture shakeups, too.
The same can be said about the changes in the Cubs’ training staff, which The Athletic (subscription required) reported on Monday.
“I think this is a real opportunity,” Epstein said on Sept. 29. “When you fall short of your goals, and fail to perform at that biggest moments as dramatically as we did, it provides a real opportunity, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself and you’re willing to take a hard look inside.
“We’re not blowing anything up, per se. That’s not the goal, but we’re likely to see real change, real adjustments at various levels, most levels of our baseball operations in some form or another.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.