The Cubs hired former Phillies bullpen and catching coach Craig Driver, which could be a very important hire for David Ross and the catchers on this team
The Cubs made their final addition to the big league coaching staff over the weekend, bringing in Craig Driver from the Phillies to serve as first base and catching coach.
Driver is the fourth and final hire to the staff, filling the hole Brian Butterfield left when he went with Joe Maddon to Anaheim. Driver was notably the catchers coach at Yale University along with his role in Philadelphia as the catching/bullpen receiving coach. A crucial addition to the Cubs, as this could pay dividends for the current catchers in the clubhouse.
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Driver, 31, brings in experience along with youth, a rare combination these days. He notably coached Gold Glove winner JT Realmuto in Philadelphia this past season. To bring someone into coach the catching staff, who have had some fairly significant defensive shortcomings, that worked firsthand with a Gold Glover at this position, is very important.
This is especially a big deal for Willson Contreras. With heavy rumors floating around of potential trading the All-Star catcher, hiring Driver could throw a wrench in that idea. With Contreras’ defensive stats regressing, making this hire is huge to help him get his development back on track. Why would they make this hire and then trade Contreras? It wouldn’t make sense, unless he is brought in to help mold Victor Caratini into an everyday catcher. There are two sides to the story here, but I’m on the side of being here to help Contreras.
If the Cubs do, in fact, decide to keep Contreras and they are still looking to make a big trade, where would that come from? The rumors of Kris Bryant seem hyped up and with a Javier Baez extension hopefully looming, we may look to the outfield.
Kyle Schwarber arguably has the third highest value out of the potential trade options and Albert Almora has the least. Could we see both get packaged up and a return tour for Nicholas Castellanos? It’s all speculation at this point, but I believe we will get some clarity in the coming month.
Nonetheless, it’s exciting to see David Ross’ coaching staff finally rounded out, which could lead to the front office beginning to make some larger scale moves. The hire definitely adds to the speculation, more specially around Contreras, but this could be the coaching move that helps the rest of the off-season fall into place.
Speculation can be fun at times, but when you’re in an offseason with the magnitude of the one the Cubs are in, it begins to get stressful. Seeing Ross bring in his staff and get the coaching side of things all set as we hit December is definitely a plus. It’s go-time in Chicago and it seems like the front office is ready.