According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs have hired former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young as their bullpen coach. This news comes one day after it was announced that beloved bullpen coach Lester Strode would not be returning to that role next season, a surprising revelation even in light of all the other organizational changes that have taken place lately.
Former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young will be the Cubs next bullpen coach. Before getting an in-uniform job with Philly, Young was a pro scout with the Astros and Padres.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 7, 2019
An 18th round draft pick out of Mississippi State in 2002, Young compiled a 24-23 record with a 3.54 ERA in 409.1 innings over 266 minor league games. At the conclusion of his playing career, he worked as a scout for the Padres from 2010-14, then as a scout and scouting supervisor for the Astros from 2015-17. The Phillies hired him as their assistant pitching coach for the 2018 season, then promoted him for 2019, but he was fired along with manager Gabe Kapler at the conclusion of the season.
And just in case you’re still wondering, no, this is not the same 6-foot-10 pitcher who got into a fight with Derrek Lee in 2007. That Chris Young is now serving as MLB Vice President of On-Field Operations.
The Chris Young who now works for the Cubs and never engaged in a brawl with them has got some pretty big shoes to fill. Like, bigger than the homonymous MLB exec who no doubt wears huge kicks because he’s so tall. Strode — a fitting name given the metaphor — had been the Cubs’ bullpen coach since 2007, serving under five different managers and establishing himself as a favorite of the bleacher creatures in left field.
Most fans probably won’t notice any discernible difference as a result of this move, but it’ll impact the perception of the Cubs in the eyes of many. Even though that’ll be softened if Strode accepts the “prominent position” he was reportedly offered elsewhere in the organization, it’s just a different deal when you’re talking about someone who took time to interact with everyone on his way to and from the ‘pen.
In any case, this is just the first in what figures to be a series of announcements regarding the staff the Cubs are building around David Ross. Former Padres manager Andy Green has already interviewed for the bench coach role, and former Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie had been in the running for bullpen coach. The Cubs also need to replace Brian Butterfield at third base and Tim Buss as strength and conditioning coordinator.