After yesterday’s shocking news that Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild abandoned the the Chicago Cubs to sign with the New York Yankees as their Pitching Coach, the Cubs are left scrambling for a replacement. Early rumors suggested that Greg Maddux would be the new Pitching Coach, however, that was later shot down by the Chicago Tribune. Despite the fact that there are a few good pitching coaches available, specifically ex-Brewer Coach Rick Peterson, Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs will fill the vacancy from within the Organization.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.Com seconds what Levine originally reported, as she gives the list of candidates to replace Rothschild. Among the candidates that Muskat reported are Mark Riggins, Lester Strode, Dennis Lewallyn, and Mike Mason.
Mark Riggins is probably the top candidate for the position, as he has the most impressive resume of all the candidates. Riggins is currently the Minor League Pitching coordinator for the Cubs. In addition, Riggins is respected around baseball as an intelligent mind.
Lester Strode played in the Minor Leagues from 1980-1988. After his playing career, Strode became the pitching coach for the Peoria Chiefs of the Chicago Cubs organization. After being the Chiefs Pitching Coach for a year, the Cubs promoted him to Minor League Pitching Coordinator. He held that position until 2006, when he was named the bullpen coach for the Chicago Cubs. While Strode is not recognized on a national level, the Chicago Cubs have a high respect for his abilities.
Dennis Lewallyn never really amounted to anything as a professional pitcher, for the most part he was a career minor leaguer. In his 8 career seasons in where he saw limited playing time in the Majors, Lewallyn pitched in 80.2 innings and had an ERA of 4.48. Once he retired, Lewallyn became a Pitching Coach in the Dodgers organization for over 10 years. Lewallyn moved to the Diamond backs organization once they were founded, up till 2001 he was a Pitching Coach within the Diamondbacks organization. He was named the Minor League Pitching Coordinator of the Diamondbacks after 2001. After the 2006 season, Lewallyn became the Pitching Coach of the Tennessee Smokies of the Cubs organization, where he still is the Pitching Coach today.
Mike Mason spent 7 seasons in the Majors as a pitcher, 1982-1988, playing with the Texas Rangers, Cubs, and Minnesota Twins. Mason had a career record of 29-39 with an ERA of 4.53. After his career, Mason became a Pitching Coach within the Kansas City Royals organization. He had two stints as the Royals Minor League Pitching Coordinator, once in the 2000 season, and then again from 2004 to 2007. In 2008, Mason became the Pitching Coach of the Iowa Cubs of the Chicago Cubs organization.
The Chicago Cubs intend to announce their next Pitching Coach before the Winter Meetings take place, which is from December 6th to December 9th.