Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Cubs Officially Hire New Hitting Coach, Still Need To Fill Two More Positions


The Athletic first reported a little more than a week ago that the Cubs are hiring Greg Brown as the team’s new hitting coach, replacing Anthony Iapoce who served under that role for the past three seasons in Chicago. Brown, 41, has been a part of Tampa Bay’s organization for the last two years, working as the Rays’ minor league hitting coordinator.

Jed Hoyer confirmed the new hire at the GM Meetings and the team officially made the announcement Tuesday night.

Prior to Brown’s two-year stint in Tampa Bay, he was the head coach at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, amassing 316 victories in nine seasons and winning the D-II national championship in 2016. Aside from his time with the Rays, Brown’s other MLB experience following his playing days came as a scout with the Houston Astros for two years.

This will be Brown’s first coaching position at the MLB level. That may sound shocking to some fans, but that has been the trend lately as more teams continue to explore every avenue trying to find the right fit regardless of experience in the major leagues.

And if there is one team that you want the Cubs poaching from it doesn’t get much better than the Rays. That farm system has been a juggernaut for several years and Brown has been able to soak in a lot of information from one of the smartest organizations in the sport for the past two years.

Hitting coaches in MLB probably have the worst job security in sports and Brown’s first shot at it isn’t made any easier with a rebuilding Cubs club. Not only did the team trade away its core, dealing Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez for prospects this past summer, but the team has a rough track record of keeping hitting coaches for more than a few seasons.

Iapoce, who was let go after his three-year contract expired following the 2021 season, actually had one of the longest tenures as the Cubs’ hitting coach dating back to 2010. In the past 12 seasons the Cubs have employed six different hitting coaches.

So, we’re talking about an average of only two years for every hitting coach. The list begins with Rudy Jaramillo, who was fired in 2012 before he could finish out his three-year deal. Then, interim hitting coach James Rowson was given the permanent role for the 2013 season before he was replaced by Bill Mueller in Ricky Renteria’s coaching staff. Mueller was gone after 2014 and the Cubs hired John Mallee, who was the hitting coach for three full years under Joe Maddon.

Then, 2018 happened and the wheels completely fell off, as Chili Davis was quickly ushered out after one season, leading to Iapoce’s hire.

Since 2013, the Cubs have also had six different assistant hitting coaches, beginning with Rob Deer, then Mike Brumley in 2014, Eric Hinske (2015-17), Andy Haines (2018), Terrmel Sledge (2019-20) and Chris Valaika. And they’ll have a seventh different assistant coach, as Valaika took a promotion with Cleveland.

After getting Valaika’s replacement, the Cubs will have had 13 different hitting coaches since 2010.

The Cubs also have one more coaching position to fill, still needing to replace Mike Borzello.

So, will Greg Brown be able to snap what seems to be a cursed coaching position on the north side? Do you like the hire? Do hitting coaches matter all that much in MLB? Does Brown’s background as a scout make it an intriguing hire? Let us know how you feel!

Aldo Soto
“Sports are dumb and so much fun at the same time.” A lead writer at Sports Mockery for over five years.

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