Chicago Cubs: A favorite has emerged in the search for a pitching coach

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(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: This is Epstein’s show – not Maddon’s

Now, it appears as if Epstein and the Cubs will take the reins in replacing Hickey, as well. According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic (subscription required), former big leaguer Tommy Hottovy is the early favorite to become the team’s next pitching coach.

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Before we get into Hottovy, I think there’s a critical distinction to make between how the organization is handling this winter as opposed to the last offseason. After the team’s World Series hangover 2017 campaign, Epstein and the front office seemingly deferred to Joe Maddon in replacing Chris Bosio and John Mallee, going with Maddon favorites in Davis and Hickey.

That’s hardly a surprise given Maddon’s lame-duck contract status heading into 2019. The team wasn’t willing to talk turkey (pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist myself) when it comes to a long-term deal and won’t until at some point in 2019. With that in mind and with an eye on a potential managerial change in the next 12 months, Epstein seems to be cementing some degree of continuity in his big league coaching staff.

"“Even if we end up making a change or two, which I’m not sure there’s going to be, I think continuity is important as well,” Epstein said after the team’s loss in the Wild Card game. “You shouldn’t just be constantly changing coaches for the sake of changing coaches.”"