Getting Organized

The Cubs announced their 2007 minor league managing and coaching assignments a couple of days ago, and together with a previous announcement regarding minor league coordinators, the MLB field staff and Player Development field staff for the upcoming season is just about finalized. If Johnnie B. Baker, Jr is still looking for a job by the first of the year, the managerial slot at Peoria is still open. Last year, Jody Davis was not named manager of the Peoria Chiefs until January, so perhaps there's still time for another former Cub looking to get into coaching or managing (talkin' bout you, Ryne Sandberg--let's see just how serious you really are about wanting to be a manager!) to get the Peoria skipper gig. Also, the DSL Cubs staff has not yet been announced, although it's very possible that all members of the DSL Cubs staff could return in 2007, with the exception of Manager Franklin Font, who will be the new hitting instructor at Boise. It's also possible that Latin American Field Coordinator Julio Garcia will do "double duty" and manage the DSL Cubs, since he has 13 years experience as a minor league manager. 2007 CUBS ORGANIZATION FIELD ASSIGNMENTS: MANAGER: Lou Piniella BENCH COACH: Alan Trammell PITCHING COACH: Larry Rothschild HITTING COACH: Gerald Perry 3rd BASE COACH: Mike Quade 1st BASE COACH: Matt Sinatro BULLPEN COACH: Lester Strode ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan DeJesus MINOR LEAGUE FIELD COORDINATOR: Dave Bialas MINOR LEAGUE PITCHING COORDINATOR: Alan Dunn MINOR LEAGUE HITTING COORDINATOR: Dave Keller MINOR LEAGUE ROVING OUTFIELD & BASE-RUNNING INSTRUCTOR: Bob Dernier MINOR LEAGUE ROVING INFIELD & BUNTING INSTRUCTOR: Bobby Dickerson MINOR LEAGUE ROVING CATCHING INSTRUCTOR: Casey Kopitzke IOWA (AAA) MANAGER: Buddy Bailey PITCHING COACH: Mike Harkey HITTING COACH: Von Joshua TENNESSEE (AA) MANAGER: Pat Listach PITCHING COACH: Dennis Lewallyn HITTING COACH: Barbaro Garbey DAYTONA (Advanced-A) MANAGER: Jody Davis PITCHING COACH: Rich Bombard HITTING COACH: Richie Zisk PEORIA (A) MANAGER: OPEN PITCHING COACH: David Rosario HITTING COACH: Kevin Green BOISE (SS-A) MANAGER: Tom Beyers PITCHING COACH: Tom Pratt HITTING COACH: Franklin Font AZL MESA (SS-R) MANAGER: Ricardo Medina PITCHING COACH: Rick Tronerud HITTING COACH: Carmelo Martinez DSL CUBS (DSL) MANAGER: OPEN PITCHING COACH: OPEN HITTING COACH: OPEN 2006 Iowa manager Mike Quade was promoted to Lou Piniella's staff in Chicago (where Quade will be 3rd base coach), and '06 Iowa pitching coach Alan Dunn has replaced Lester Strode (who will be the Cubs bullpen coach in 2007) as Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Rich Hill credited Dunn as being the guy responsible for making Hill into a major league pitcher. And Von Joshua returns as Iowa's hitting instructor, which is another way of saying Joshua will be Felix Pie's Personal Hitting Coach again in 2007. Not returning to the organization in 2007 are Don Buford (who spent the first half of the 2006 minor league season managing the Daytona Cubs, before being reassigned to the position of Minor League Roving Outfield & Baserunning Instructor in June), and '06 AA West Tenn Pitching Coach Mike Anderson. 2006 Boise Hawks manager Steve McFarland will also not be returning to the field in 2007. However, McFarland is also a scout (Arizona-New Mexico-Utah-West Texas-Southern Nevada) in the Cubs organization, so he will probably be returning to scouting duties full-time in 2007, since it's hard to be both a scout and a manager at the same time. Speaking of scouts, after not having a Pacific Rim scout for several years (ever since Derrek Lee's dad, Leon, was fired), the Cubs have named ex-Cub pitcher Steve Wilson (who has lived in Taiwan for the last ten years) as Pacific Rim Scout (apparently Bill Murray wasn't available). Wilson will give the Cubs a much-needed "go-to guy" in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China (and Australia). It is important for the Cubs to have somebody in Asia who understands the cultural differences and business operations in-place in the various countries, and who can effectively scout (and more importantly, sign) amateur and professional players out of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (especially Korea and Taiwan, since Japanese players are more-tightly controlled within Japan), and maybe even China, since Asia may well be to MLB in the 21st century what Latin America was to MLB the last half of the 20th Century (which is to say, a Gold Mine when it comes to developing baseball players). During the period when Leon Lee was Cubs Pacific Rim scout (1998-2002), the Cubs signed 1B Hee-Seop Choi (1999), C Yoon-Min Kweon (1999), and RHP Jae-Kuk Ryu (2001) out of Korea, but no Japanese players, and no Taiwanese players. Hopefully, Steve Wilson will get better results, and nothing will get Lost in Translation.
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Comments

AZ Phil,

Mike Harkey as the pitching coach for Iowa? Is that not a scary thougt? In all seriousness, how effective are former players as coaches and what kind of criteria do clubs look at for hiring? Was Harkey given the job mostly b/c he was a former highly-touted Cubbie prospect or does he bring instructional value to pass on to our young pitching corps? Curious to know if any studies/reports have been done on this.

Thanks Phil - TOM C

Great job Arizona Phil. Wasn't Mellow Carmelo the manager of the rookie team a few years ago? Has he been in the organization the entire time or did he leave and come back? Was he an effective manager? I don't think because he ruined his career by doing cartwheels means he might not be a good pitching coach. I believe he went to Stanford, so he may be fairly intelligent. I'm hoping he has a great coaching/managing career because I still have 50 of his rookie cards I bought as an investment on his career promise. I haven't started putting them in the spokes of my bike yet, (I don't have a bike), but I should have.

The Rockies have increased their pursuit of reliever LaTroy Hawkins and are aggressively trying to bridge the financial gap on an extension for Jason Jennings. If a deal can't be reached for Jennings, it increases the likelihood he will be traded at the winter meetings to address multiple needs. The Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Twins and both New York teams - Mets could dangle Brian Bannister - are among those that have expressed interest.
Click Here for the full story.

And from Sullivan's column yesterday, Hendry...
reiterated he has made no offer to Jason Schmidt, who heads a list the Cubs are interested in, along with Ted Lilly, Gil Meche and Vicente Padilla.
Click Here for the full story.

Newsday: " The Mets, Cubs and Rangers are considered the primary suitors for Zito, the free-agent lefthander, and friends of Zito believe the 28-year-old would greatly prefer to pitch in New York over Chicago or Arlington, Texas."

Enjoy they NY Media Mr. Sensitive.

Sounds like the pitching frenzy will begin next week during the winter meetings. I'm stoked.

jacos:
Newsday: " The Mets, Cubs and Rangers are considered the primary suitors for Zito, the free-agent lefthander, and friends of Zito believe the 28-year-old would greatly prefer to pitch in New York over Chicago or Arlington, Texas."

Enjoy they NY Media Mr. Sensitive.

I don't think most people seriously put Zito with the Cubs anyways. He's sort of the AL-type, plus I think he's a fly-ball pitcher, isn't he? Still, he'll probably end up with the Met's or Yanks.

Jennings would be interesting. If I was Hendry this is what I would do. I would offer Marshall for Jennings straight up. Marshall is better than Bannister, and the Rocks hold his rights for 5 more years. That would be valueable for them. Jimbo then should offer Jennings arbitration for this year. If he doesnt pitch well, or if he doesnt agree to a reasonable contract extension, oh well. He will still be at least a type B free agent. Likely a type A free agent. You will get at least a top pick for him. If not 2 top picks. You should easily be able to replace Marshall with 2 top picks. Veal or Gallagher should be able to replace the spot in the rotation by 2008.

Ryno-

I agree fly ball pitchers at Wrigley would be terrible.

And he would probably get rocked in Arlington also.

If he had half a brain he would take his layback attitude and fly ball outs to the Dodgers or Padres.

Jennings isn't so good. He doesn't strike out enough batters and taking him out of the NL West, that's not going to help his numbers either.

If Marshall has that kind of trade value I would prefer he goes in a package for one of the Sox's pitchers or Manny Ramirez over even-up for Jennings.

When you come back from Louisville be sure to check your 34 ounce Samoan War Club-

http://www.gridskipper.com/travel/security/sl...

aaronb:
Jennings would be interesting. If I was Hendry this is what I would do. I would offer Marshall for Jennings straight up.

Interesting idea, but the Rockies don't need any more mediocre starting pitching. Their biggest need is a big league-ready CF, plus some other positional players.

Also, Jennings is a way better pitcher than Marshall and is under a reasonable contract, so it would take a whole lot more than a AA-AAA pitcher who may or may not have an upside to snag Jennings.

Jennings is way better than Marshall? Which Marshall? First half Marshall, or second half Marshall?

Item in the paper today says Julio Zuleta is back from Japan looking for a job. I never thought the Cubs gave him a fair shake. At the least I thought he would make a great DH in the AL. He still might.

Which Jennings the one with the 1.701 WHIP in 2004 or the 1.574 WHIP in 2006?

He's had 5 seasons and hispark adjusted ERA has been better than league average twice. This guy isn't Greg Maddux circa 1991.

Exactly. If we're gonna get a guy like Jennings, who's had one good year, I'd rather see the Cubs use the free agent market and not give up any bodies.

Besides, Marshall is gonna be a good one.

Hmmm the Manny Ramirez for Jake Peavy rumors are heating up.

Hey if the Redsox can do that, that would be amazing. To be able to put Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Peavy all at the age of 26 in the same rotation? To go along with Schilling? Dammmmmmmnnnn.

Wakefield makes a hell of a #5 guy, but it doesn't look like he will be in the rotation as Boston has said Paplebon will be starting.

Schilling - 40
Peavy - 26
Matsuzaka - 26
Beckett - 26
Papelbon - 26

That could be their rotation for 2007.

Towers has denied Peavy will be traded.

http://tinyurl.com/sf3rf

That report out of Newsday about Zito is ridiculous. I don't know who they're claiming as sources. Not only have the Cubs never been mentioned as a desintation for Zito, the article completely ignores the fact that Zito has stated he'd prefer to pitch on the West Coast, and is drawing serious interest from the Angels and Dodgers. I know the Mets and Rangers are in it, too, but seriously Newsday, stop making shit up.

The Rocky Mountain News is reporting Prior is trying to persuade Schmidt to come to Chicago.

http://tinyurl.com/ydy6nc

If Hendry hasn't made an offer yet, it seems like only a matter of time until he does. Frankly, I wish he'd get it over with before Jocketty sweeps in and scoops him up.

Does Schilling really have any gas left in the tank? I mean, he already is 40. The Rocket has done well past 40 but Schilling does not have the fastball that Rocket has had into his 40s. Schilling did well with the wins and losses last year, but had an era of about 4. Isn't he on the downslide?

Peavy's arm is going to land on the home team dugout's roof sometime soon. His mechanics are worse than Wood's ever were. I would be stunned if he pitches 400 innings over the next two years.

"Hmmm the Manny Ramirez for Jake Peavy rumors are heating up."

The 50,000th rumor in the last two years re Manny. Yawn....

I don't understand how Peavy rumors even get started considering Towers has said he is not getting dealt.

I'm guessing just a slow week for baseball writers.

#1 of 23: By Tom C (December 1, 2006 09:50 AM)
AZ Phil,

Mike Harkey as the pitching coach for Iowa? Is that not a scary thougt? In all seriousness, how effective are former players as coaches and what kind of criteria do clubs look at for hiring? Was Harkey given the job mostly b/c he was a former highly-touted Cubbie prospect or does he bring instructional value to pass on to our young pitching corps? Curious to know if any studies/reports have been done on this.

Thanks Phil - TOM C

----

TOM C: Apparently Mike Harkey did a good job as bullpen coach for the Marlins under Joe Girardi, and would probably have been named to Girardi's staff in either Chicago or Washington if Girardi had gotten those jobs.

As to whether Harkey can be a good pitching coach at Iowa, I guess time will tell. He's an intelligent guy, and hopefully he has the analytical and communication skills needed to be an effective coach.

I do know Alan Dunn is a heckuva pitching coach. Getting a promotion to Minor League Pitching Coordinator is a good career move for Dunn, but I would rather have him at Iowa working one-on-one with the guys who are closest to the big leagues, rather than just supervising the organization's pitching coaches.

#2 of 24: By TJ (December 1, 2006 10:03 AM)
Great job Arizona Phil. Wasn't Mellow Carmelo the manager of the rookie team a few years ago? Has he been in the organization the entire time or did he leave and come back? Was he an effective manager?

=================================

TJ: This will be Mellow Carmelo's tenth season at Mesa. He was the manager in the 1999-2003 and 2005-06 seasons, and the hitting instructor in 1998 and 2004, and now again in 2007.

I thought he did an OK job as manager. FWIW, he was named AZL Manager of the Year in 2002.

If you haven't seen him lately, he has put on a LOT of weight. He is one big dude.

Well attendance is off, the Padres are near the bottom in runs scored and they picked up a great arm last year in Chris Young.

They need to put butts in the seats and they need to improve their offense.

So it makes sense for them to target Manny Ramirez.

I say for the Padres to just wait 1 more year, keep Peavy and spend like a drunken sailor on next season's free agents. A lot of the teams blowing their wad this off-season will be out of the competition for free agents after the 2007 season. Sadly that probably includes the Cubs. The money tied up in Ramirez, Soriano, Lee is enormous plus Z's contract and if Prior ever figures out that he is a pitcher again, he will get some cash in the future.

AZ PHIL:
Not returning to the organization in 2007 are Don Buford (who spent the first half of the 2006 minor league season managing the Daytona Cubs, before being reassigned

Actually, BUFORD was ultimately assigned to BOISE after being unceremoniously dumped between half seasons at Daytona (where, if I remember correctly, he had a winning record).

Combine that with this from your run-down,

2006 Boise Hawks manager STEVE MCFARLAND will also not be returning to the field in 2007.

..and it looks like FLEITA was using the Boise Hawks as a dump for employees on the way out. On the Cubs' fasttrack, BUFORD's replacement at Daytona is now managing Iowa.

So, besides his age (69? next year) and being the least experienced manager in the Cubs system when Bailey came along, where did BUFORD and his coaching staff go wrong?

if the Pads could sign Zito a Peavy trade seems doable. He's one notch under the Dr.James Andrews/Dr.Yocum ring of peanut brittle arms(Prior, Wood, Burnett, Sheets et al) as it is, so why not get something for him now...and get the middle of the order masher they desperately need. Towers has a ton of $ to spend with all those contracts expiring (C.Park, Klesko, Castilla etc) so they should be able to handle both ManRam and Zito.

Denver Poat reporting the Rocks are trying one last run at locking up Jennings over the Winter Meetings so I suppose he may become available after next week if there are really people interested in acquiring him.

AZ Phil:

Wasn't Mike Harkey the guy who wrecked his knee while doing an on-field backflip? If so, I'm glad to see that he's mellowed out a bit.

Also, how do you think that the 2007 coaching staff stacks up against the 2006 staff? Are they simple Uncle Lou's gin-rummy partners, or are there people on the staff who may actually help some of our young players improve? Thanks!

#29 of 29: By Urbs in Horto (December 1, 2006 01:37 PM)
AZ Phil:

Wasn't Mike Harkey the guy who wrecked his knee while doing an on-field backflip? If so, I'm glad to see that he's mellowed out a bit.

Also, how do you think that the 2007 coaching staff stacks up against the 2006 staff? Are they simple Uncle Lou's gin-rummy partners, or are there people on the staff who may actually help some of our young players improve? Thanks!

=================================

URBS: I think if Hendry & Piniella had wanted competent coaches who can actually teach, they would have selected Alan Dunn to be the pitching coach, Bob Dernier to be 3rd base coach and outfield & baserunning instructor, and probably Von Joshua to be the hitting coach (although I'm willing to wait and see how Gerald Perry works out). Matt Sinatro has followed Lou Piniella wherever Lou goes as a manager, so nuff said about Sinatro. Rothschild was a coach with Uncle Lou in Cincinnati, so they go way back. Mike Quade and Lester Strode are Cubs "organization guys," so they will probably just do what they're told and function as supervisors.

As you probably know, I believe a trained chimpanzee could be a "bullpen coach," but if you must have one, at least hire a guy who can catch pitchers who are warming up during the game (I believe the exact title is "Bullpen Catcher"). And any player not playing that day could be the 1st base coach, and the so-called "bench coach" and whatever Sonny Jackson's title was in the Dusty Baker regime (the same thing Ivan DeJesus will apparently be in '07) are an absolute joke.

However, the 3rd base coach is a different matter, because he has got to be a guy who consistently makes the right decision on whether to send a runner or not. In that respect, a 3rd base coach is almost a position unto itself, and doesn't even have to be an ex-player. The traffic cop who works at Washington & Michigan might even be good at it.

In my opinion, a coach should mostly be a teacher (not a supervisor or the manager's flunky, drinking buddy, and/or gin rummy pigeon), a roving instructor who moves from team-to-team within the organization (including the big club in Chicago). So I agree with Phil Wrigley's concept of a "College of Coaches." The big problem with the College of Coaches was having an "Athletic Director" and a "Rotating Head Coach" instead of a traditional manager.

URBS: "Wasn't Mike Harkey the guy who wrecked his knee while doing an on-field backflip? If so, I'm glad to see that he's mellowed out a bit."

No. He injured his knee on the dugout steps. IF you saw HArkey, you would know his body type was not condusive to doing backflips or frontflips, for that matter...

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