After being eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he hoped his coaching staff would return intact.
Two days later, we’ve already learned that that likely won’t be the case. According to a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the team had decided to fire pitching coach Chris Bosio.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 21, 2017
The Bosio report broke shortly before FanRag Sports reported that the Giants have reassigned pitching coach Dave Righetti to a front office position. Righetti had held his position in San Francisco for 17 years.
Bosio’s dismissal is one that very few people saw coming. Bosio joined the Cubs’ staff in 2012 and has been a staple throughout their rebuild, which has led to three straight NLCS appearances and one World Series championship.
Bosio’s staff went from three straight bottom ten finishes in ERA to three straight top seven finishes. In 2016, Chicago’s collective 3.15 ERA was the best in baseball. Though the staff took a step back this season, it remained among the best after posting a collective 3.95 ERA.
The downturn continued in the postseason, however, which may have played a role in the Cubs reported decision. Their 4.52 ERA was the worst among teams that advanced past the first round. The starting pitching failed to work deep into games consistently, and the bullpen offered few reliable options beyond closer Wade Davis. That led to some aggressive decisions by Maddon that did not work out.
Bosio had some recent issues in Chicago too. He most notably butted heads with Jon Lester during a dugout dispute earlier this season, and was also roundly criticized for suggesting Milwaukee’s Eric Thames was using performance-enhancing drugs.
Those incidents no doubt factored into the decision. Still, you’d think Bosio’s track record would have worked a little more in his favor. Especially with the undeniable role he played in turning around Jake Arrieta. When the Cubs acquired Arrieta from Baltimore in 2013, it seemed like his career was slipping away. Since then, he’s developed into one of the game’s best starters, even winning a Cy Young in 2015.
There’s already a report the Cubs are eyeing Chicago native and former Joe Maddon pitching coach Jim Hickey as Bosio’s replacement. Hickey has drawn interest from several teams, including the Cardinals, so that could explain Chicago’s urgency to move on. It’s possible Hickey has been on their radar all along, and now that a chance exists to bring him aboard they’re going to go for it.
Time will tell, but chances are Chris Bosio won’t remain out of work all that long.
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