The rumors and speculation had been pretty solid for a while, but the Cubs officially announced the remainder of Joe Maddon’s coaching staff Thursday afternoon. Tommy Hottovy has been named pitching coach, Terrmel Sledge has been named assistant hitting coach, and former Cub Chris Denorfia assumes the role of quality assurance coach.
Another interesting note is that catching coordinator Mike Borzello has been named associate pitching coach, which he’s kind of been all along. Borzello and Hottovy have worked closely over the last couple years to develop pitching strategies and scouting reports, so it’s no surprise that their roles will continue to dovetail moving forward.
Sledge rejoins the Cubs organization after spending two years as a hitting coach for the Dodgers’ Double-A team. He served as assistant hitting coach for the Eugene Emeralds in 2015 following a playing career that spanned several years and multiple countries.
Denorfia spent a year as a Cubs player and impressed Joe Maddon with his work ethic and ability to handle velocity. He likewise found favor with the front office, which is why he was brought to the organization as a special assistant. The move to quality assurance coach is not unlike Will Venable going from special assistant to first base coach this past season.
Hottovy is an interesting choice after the Cubs had previously employed long-tenured and well-respected pitching coaches. While he’s definitely the former internally, Hottovy is an unknown commodity to most outside the organization and hasn’t coached in any significant capacity at any level in the past.
He has, however, pitched at the professional level and has a tireless work ethic, plus the ability to translate stats and scouting into actionable plans. He has the respect of his fellow coaches and, more importantly, the pitchers with whom he’ll be working.
Bench Coach Brandon Hyde is set to return as well, though he’s currently still a candidate for the Orioles vacant managerial gig.