Despite the Cubs’ shocking managerial switch, the belief has been that Craig Counsell would keep several members of the previous staff in place. That became even more evident when it was revealed that Counsell’s entire Brewers staff, led by former bench coach and new manager Pat Murphy, will remain in Milwaukee. Pitching coach Tommy Hottovy and hitting coach Dustin Kelly were already under contract for 2024 and the Sun-Times’ Maddie Lee reports that both are indeed expected to remain with the Cubs.
The same is true for most of the other coaches, though Counsell will have to replace bench coach Andy Green, who took a job with the Mets, and assistant hitting coach Johnnie Washington, who is now the Angels’ hitting coach. The Cubs had previously parted ways with bullpen coach Chris Young and strategy coach Craig Driver, so those spots are open as well.
Former hitting coach John Mallee figures to fill one of those roles or serve in some other capacity after it was announced that he’d be rejoining the big-league staff following a year with Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs also reportedly interviewed Marlins first base coach Jon Jay for the bench gig, though he was not offered the position. Then again, the opposite might be true since that report came from Bob Nightengale.
No official announcements have come yet and it may be a while before we get anything of the sort as Counsell continues to do his homework after his whirlwind courtship. The remaining members of David Ross’s staff could be allowed to seek other opportunities if they feel so inclined, though the sense is that most will stay. It may just be a matter of getting more familiar with the new manager, a process in which the front office will be involved.
It’ll be good for Counsell to have some continuity from the previous regime, especially when it comes to Hottovy. First hired during Joe Maddon’s tenure, Hottovy is one of the most respected pitching coaches in the league and his expertise will be invaluable to a manager who’s known for his handling of the pitching staff. Kelly was so highly regarded that the Cubs promoted him in part to keep him from being poached by the Dodgers or another team.
In addition to his work with the pitchers, Hottovy is a sneakerhead who has elevated his fellow coaches’ shoe game over the years. Will Counsell be rocking J’s next season? Guess we’ll find out.
More to come as information becomes available.