Chicago Cubs: Is a new coaching staff the team’s biggest acquisition?

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have been remarkably quiet for a team in the middle of a contention window. But their coaching staff changes could pay huge dividends.

Things have changed quite a bit in the last half-decade. The Chicago Cubs have become a perennial contender, winning 90+ games in each of the last four seasons. That’s led to three NLCS appearances, an NL pennant, two division titles and a World Series championship – not to mention the individual accolades that have piled up during that span.

Jake Arrieta won the 2015 National League Cy Young thanks to a historic second half, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks finished as Cy Young finalists a year later and Kris Bryant won the Rookie of the Year in ’15 and followed it up with NL Most Valuable Player honors one year later. And don’t forget about Joe Maddon‘s Manager of the Year hardware, either.

Despite the success, though, an abrupt end to the 2018 season left a bad taste in fans’ mouths – one that has carried deep into the offseason. With less than one month until pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, the club’s only significant (and I use that term fairly loosely) addition is veteran infielder Daniel Descalso, who replaces fan favorite Tommy La Stella, whom the Cubs traded to the Angels early in the winter.

At least so far, there’s been no press conference introducing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Even with Craig Kimbrel‘s market developing at a snail’s pace, the Cubs don’t seem to be in on the veteran closer, either – despite a dire need at the back end of the bullpen.

But what if I told you that they’ve already made the moves that will shape this year’s club? I’m not talking about Descalso – or even the decision to bring back Cole Hamels via his $20 million team option for 2019.

I’m talking about the overhauled coaching staff.