Those damn Yankees, always give reasons for people to hate them. The Chicago Cubs thought that they had their Coaching Staff filled once they hired Pat Listach earlier in the month. My, how things can change in a split second?
When, Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild announced last month that he would be returning to the Cubs next season, there was no surprise as the Cubs expected him to be back. Little did the Cubs know, nor Rothschild at the time that the Yankees Pitching Coach position would become vacant.
Unfortunately for the Cubs and their pitching staff, Rothschild decided today to leave the Cubs and sign a 3 year deal with the New York Yankees to be their Pitching Coach. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, General Manager Jim Hendry gave the Yankees permission to speak to Rothschild, and Hendry believes that Rothschild made the right decision based on his family.
The Chicago Cubs pitching staff has enjoyed a lot of success under the tutelage of Larry Rothschild. The Chicago Cubs ranked top 5 in ERA from 2007 and 2009, and the Cubs rotation led the league with 96 quality starts this season. However, that just begins to touch on the skills that Rothschild has as a pitching coach.
Throughout his tenure with the Chicago Cubs, Rothschild has done tremendous work in turning around the career’s of pitchers the Cubs have brought in. One of his biggest successes may have been Ted Lilly. Before Lilly came to the Cubs in 2007, he struggled his entire career with controlling his pitches. In his last three years in Toronto, Lilly’s BB/9 ratio was 4.06 in 2004; 4.13 in 2005; and 4.01 in 2006. However, since coming to the Cubs, Lilly’s BB/9 ratio never passed 3. That includes when he was traded to the Dodgers, as he had 2.04 BB/9 ratio this season with the Cubs and Dodgers.
Another one of Rothschild’s biggest successes was the work that he did with Carlos Silva this season. While, Silva did not finish the season due to health concerns, he arguably had one of his best years of his career with the Chicago Cubs this season. When the Cubs first acquired Silva, many felt like he was the worst starting pitcher in all of Baseball. However, Rothschild had extensive work with Silva this past spring, and corrected a flaw in his delivery, which allowed him to throw his sinker with success. Silva started the year on a 8-0 run, however, injuries got the best of him in the second half and he finished the season with a record of 10-6 and consummating a 4.22 ERA.
With Rothschild leaving the Cubs, it will be interesting to see how this affects Carlos Zambrano. Over the course of Rothschild’s nine years with the Chicago Cubs, he and Zambrano have developed a strong relationship with one another. Zambrano had high praise for Rothschild when asked if he wanted him back as his pitching coach. Also, Rothschild may have been the only coach who was able to get through to the temperamental pitcher.
As for potential candidates to replace Rothschild, the Tribune reports that Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins could be the leading candidate. Greg Maddux, assistant to Jim Hendry, has no intention of being a full time coach, and intends to remain in the front office for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs plan to name their new pitching coach by the end of the month.