Chicago Cubs: Two big-name targets who could replace Jim Hickey

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Will familiarity help Farrell land the gig?

One of the big things we talked about in reference to the Cubs and Hottovy yesterday was familiarity and continuity. Obviously, someone like that – who has worked with the guys on this pitching staff – makes a transition to a new pitching coach much smoother than bringing in someone from the outside.

But, then again, sometimes a fresh set of eyes is just what the doctor ordered. John Farrell seems to be the best of both worlds – at least to a degree. While the familiarity certainly isn’t as deep as what the Cubs would get with someone like Hottovy or bullpen coach Lester Strode, there are some long-standing connections tying Farrell to Chicago.

Before coming to the North Side, we all know Theo Epstein’s tale of breaking his first curse in Boston. From 2007 to 2010, Farrell served as the pitching coach on Epstein’s Red Sox teams. He departed Boston to manage Toronto for a pair of seasons before returning to the Sox in 2013 as skipper – a role he held until 2017, before giving way to rookie manager Alex Cora.

While serving as Boston’s pitching coach, he worked with now-Cubs ace Jon Lester – who could be an important ally in coming weeks. From 2007 to 2010, the southpaw pitched to a 3.49 FIP across 108 starts. In 2010, he made his first All-Star team, winning 19 games and finishing fourth in Cy Young voting.

With ties to Lester and Epstein, no matter how much you might think Hottovy is a front-runner, don’t sleep on Farrell reuniting with his former boss in Chicago.