While much of the focus of late centered around the Chicago Cubs’ dismissal of Chili Davis, his pitching counterpart, Jim Hickey, deserves plenty of praise.
Pitching guru Jim Hickey was brought in to replace a guy who was, at least, partially responsible for one of the best Chicago Cubs pitching performances over an entire season (2016) in team history. Tall order.
Chicago brought him in to replace a guy credited with turning a mediocre pitcher (Jake Arrieta) with some potential into a Cy Young winner who just happened to have one of the best individual pitching performances ever in 2015. Again, yikes.
Another big factor in Hickey’s ascension to pitching coach on the North Side? The fact that he is, and has been, a close confidant and advisor to Cubs skipper Joe Maddon.
The guy he replaced happened to be Chris Bosio. And, love him or hate him, he got results. Bosio worked with guys like Jeff Samardzija, Scott Feldman, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon. Although not all of them took the field for the Cubs in 2016, all, in one way or another, played a role in the team’s World Series championship.
The point is Bosio did some fine work, and from all accounts, was pretty well respected amongst his pitching unit. His group put together some quality years and saw a ton of progression between 2012 to 2017.
However, one person he obviously didn’t have in his corner? Maddon. Whether there was friction between Bosio (who is reportedly no stranger to troubling comments, whether they’re about guys taking PEDs or using slurs in the clubhouse) or whether the skipper just wanted to bring in “his guy” in Hickey will never be completely known to outside parties, but it sure seems like a little of both.