Before the Chicago Cubs can make moves that have a direct impact on the playing roster, the team first had to finalize the vacant spots on the coaching staff. Entering the off-season, there were question marks at the third base coach and the hitting coach positions on manager Dale Sveum‘s coaching staff. Former third base coach Pat Listach was relieved of his duties as the team’s third base coach immediately after the season concluded. Meanwhile, Rudy Jaramillo was fired as the Cubs’ hitting coach during the 2012 season. James Rowson served as the interim hitting coach for the remainder of the season.
September 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs hitting coach James Rowson (38) in the dugout before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The Cubs filled both positions on Tuesday. For hitting coach, the Cubs simply removed the interim label from Rowson and made him the full time hitting coach. Rowson was a success for the Cubs after replacing Jaramillo during the season. While the Cubs did struggle offensively during the 2012 season, Rowson was impressive in his coaching of players such as Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Jackson for a brief stretch of games during the final two months of the season. Rowson, who was previously the Cubs’ minor league hitting coordinator, has developed strong relationships with several prospects that figure to make their way to Wrigley Field over the course of the next couple of seasons.
The Cubs went opted to fill the third base coaching position from outside of the organization. The Cubs hired former Philadelphia Phillies infielder David Bell to serve as the replacement to Listach. Bell retired after the 2006 season, and has spent the past four seasons as a manager within the Cincinnati Reds farm system. The connection between Bell and Sveum likely surfaced when Bell spent his final playing season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006.
More important than Rowson and Bell, was the announcement that Cubs gave assistant general manager Randy Bush a three year extension. Bush, was the long-time assistant general manager under Jim Hendry and figured to be a victim of the regime change. Nonetheless, Cubs’ President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have taken a liking to Bush over the past season. Bush may have knowledge of the Cubs’ farm system that could be valuable to progress of the rebuild for the organization.