Another year, another change to the Cubs coaching staff on the hitting side.
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? In what has become an annual tradition, the Chicago Cubs have made a change on their coaching staff, deciding to part ways with assistant hitting coach Terrmel Sledge.
The former big league outfielder’s two-year deal ran through the 2020 season, giving the front office the perfect out to try a new face with hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, who is expected to return for the final year of his deal in 2021.
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But at this point, does it really matter who you put in the role? Tom Ricketts might as well install a merry-go-round at Gallagher Way outside Wrigley Field and make his hitting coaches take a ride because that’s about how long you’re likely to stay with the team in recent years.
After just one season, the Cubs axed Chili Davis from the hitting coach role – a shocking development given the man’s resume – both as a player and a big league coach. They then turned to Iapoce, who has done little to fix many of the issues that were pointed to as justifications for firing Davis after the 2018 season.
At this point, you have to drop the blame at the feet of this core group of players. I’m sorry, but dismissing Sledge isn’t going to fix this offense. The only way that happens is if you get these guys to actually make in-game adjustments to their approach and that’s simply not happening.
These issues – namely manufacturing runs, offensive inconsistency and situational hitting – will continue to plague the Cubs unless the front office makes some dramatic changes to the roster and its construction. And, knowing the financial limitations facing the organization this offseason and the limited resources at hand, that seems unlikely.
The buck stops with the players. They’ve shown either an unwillingness or inability to make adjustments at the plate and it’s proven costly. A staggering late-season collapse in 2018 followed by a loss at home to the Rockies in the Wild Card Game, missing the postseason altogether last year and scoring one run across two games against the Marlins this year – the story hasn’t changed. Moving on from Terrmel Sledge isn’t the magic pill that will suddenly rewrite the narrative, either.