According to a report from Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs are bringing former hitting coach John Mallee back to the staff for next season. Dustin Kelly is already entrenched as the current hitting coach and there could be as many as three openings pending Andy Green‘s future, but Mallee is not necessarily expected to replace anyone in particular.
Mallee served as the Cubs’ hitting coach from 2015-17 under Joe Maddon, helping to guide the team through an unprecedented period of success. His reward was being fired following a third consecutive trip to the NLCS, a decision that followed a long-running organizational trend of short tenures for hitting instructors. That’s sort of the nature of the position across the league, which is really unfortunate when you consider how pitching has advanced over the last two decades.
Rather than becoming jaded and spiteful, Mallee actually came back to the organization last winter to serve as the hitting coach at Triple-A Iowa. That alone felt like a harbinger of something bigger and those vibes only grew stronger when he was in the dugout with the big club at the end of the season.
While I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the report here, I feel like the Cubs might just be securing Mallee’s services as they wait to see how other moves shake out. Should Green end up being selected for one of the number of managerial positions he’s up for, David Ross will need a new bench coach. If Green remains or is replaced by someone else, Craig Driver’s departure opens a spot for a strategy coach.
Regardless of the specifics, the Cubs haven’t really operated with strict adherence to the typical duties of a given role anyway. Job titles are necessary to set the main parameters, but it’s a collaborative effort behind the scenes. I never agreed with Mallee’s dismissal in the first place, so it’s good to see him back and helping the Cubs again in what should be a return to competitiveness.
Ed. note: I know there’s at least one unhinged individual who isn’t happy to see this news. I’ve actually had multiple people reach out to me over the last few years to ask about the person in question, all because he’d scammed them or a friend. Very, very weird stuff.