CHICAGO — The Cubs turned over their coaching staff on Thursday after failing to advance past the National League Championship Series for the second time in three seasons.
The Cubs dismissed pitching coach Chris Bosio, hitting coach John Mallee and third base coach Gary Jones.
The team hired former Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis for the same position in Chicago while also bringing in former Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield to replace Jones. They have yet to hire a pitching coach, though former Rays coach Jim Hickey is the favorite.
“It’s about someone else being able to add something different or new,” manager Joe Maddon said on a conference call. “The guys that are not going to be here next year are fabulous. These are really horrible conversations.”
The Cubs ranked second in run scoring in the National League but averaged just 2.5 runs per game in the playoffs, which ended in a five-game defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Maddon cited situational hitting as a problem all season, and the Cubs think they may have addressed it with their new coach.
“Chili has a good method regarding situations in general,” Maddon said. “We’re just looking for a slightly different voice with a little bit different approach that we feel can augment our hitters moving forward.”
The Cubs were near the bottom of baseball this year in getting a runner home from third with less than two outs, though they did improve in situations in the second half. The Red Sox were top 10 in the same category and first in baseball in moving a runner from second to third with no outs.
“A lot of it is based on availability,” Maddon said of hiring Davis.
Davis and Butterfield became available when John Farrell wasn’t retained in Boston, otherwise Mallee and Jones might still be with the Cubs. That wasn’t the case with Bosio, who wasn’t going to be brought back no matter the situation.
“We just thought it was time for a different voice at this particular moment,” Maddon said. “I don’t want to get too deeply into it.”
The Cubs were last in unintentional walk rate, but Bosio’s dismissal had more to do with behind-the-scenes issues than any performance-based statistic. Maddon worked with Hickey when he managed in Tampa Bay and said his availability had nothing to do with Bosio’s dismissal.
It was only last week that Maddon had backed his entire coaching staff, but the Cubs were still playing when he was asked if he wanted them all to return.
“That was a really awkward question,” Maddon said. “We’re in the playoffs, and I thought that was the only way I could respond.”
The Cubs also promoted minor league hitting coordinator Andy Haines to assistant hitting coach. That job was left vacant when Eric Hinske left for the hitting coach position with the Los Angeles Angels.
“The guys that are leaving are near to my heart,” Maddon said.