I have to say, I never would’ve imagined that the hiring of a first-base coach would be anything more than a shrug of the shoulders. But when the Cubs announced on Thursday that Doug Dascenzo would be filling that role, I felt downright giddy.
Dascenzo, for me, is the epitome of early-90s Cubs nostalgia.
The diminutive outfielder wasn’t very good, but he was memorable; He pitched four scoreless innings in relief between 1990 and 1991, and I’ll always remember the baseball card I had growing up of him pitching. So it will be cool for me to see him back at Wrigley Field next year.
In probably more important news, the Cubs announced that John Mallee will be the new hitting coach, coming over from the Houston Astros. That didn’t take long, as Bill Mueller resigned from the position just a few days prior.
Theo Epstein had said the Cubs would look for someone with hitting-coach experience, as well as time spent working with young players.
With the Astros in a rebuilding mode similar to the Cubs, Mallee meets those requirements. The Astros haven’t exactly torn the cover off the ball recently, but Mallee has been given credit for helping up-and-coming-star Jose Altuve blossom.
I’m sure he’s looking forward to working with the plethora of Cubs young talent.
In other coaching news, last year’s first-base coach, Eric Hinske, will take over the assistant hitting coach role.
The Dodgers may be looking to trade Yasiel Puig, George Offman reported yesterday, and the Cubs could be interested. Before you freak out, let’s remember this is just a rumor, and is unlikely to happen.
It makes you wonder why the Dodgers would want to trade one of the most exciting young players in the league. And what would it take the Cubs to acquire Puig? Probably Kris Bryant, for starters. Would you be willing to do that? I’m not sure I would.
It’s probably not worth worrying about too much for now. I just don’t see it happening.
Manny and Javy
Manny Ramirez won’t be the hitting coach for the Cubs in 2015, but his impact may still be felt. Jed Hoyer was on the “Kap and Haugh Show” on 87.7 The Game on Thursday and they discussed Ramirez inviting Javier Baez to Florida to work out together.
Hoyer acknowledged that Baez responded really well to Ramirez when the two were in Iowa this past season, and that Ramierez would be a great mentor. “If he sees something in Javy, I’m sure Javy will listen,” Hoyer said.
Despite the good relationship, Hoyer was hesitant to draw comparisons between the two. I’m sure Cubs fans would be more than happy to see signs of Ramirez’s game in the young middle infielder. I have to say the initial signing of Manny was puzzling and seemed gimmicky. But it’s beginning to look like an extremely shrewd move right now.
* In the Arizona Fall League, three Cubs prospects started for the Mesa Solar Sox on Thursday. Addison Russell played shortstop and batted third (he went 0-for-4 and was hit by a pitch), and Dan Vogelbach batted right behind him (0-for-2 with three walks). Jacob Hannemann played right field and went 1-for-3. The Sox lost 7-3.
* The Venezuelan Winter League got underway on Thursday. Cubs prospect Wilson Contreras started at catcher for the Tigres de Aragua. He went 0-for-4.