The Chicago Cubs potentially hiring former Red Sox manager John Farrell as a pitching coach could have a bigger impact in the team’s long-term plans.
The search for a new Chicago Cubs pitching coach is underway, and a number of guys appear to be on the interview list. One that has been mentioned is former Red Sox and Blue Jays manager John Farrell. As we noted in a recent article, Farrell has longstanding connections with Theo Epstein in his days coaching in Boston.
Whoever takes over the pitching coach duties will serve under Joe Maddon in 2019, who as of right now, will be managing with the Cubs on the last year of his deal. The future of Maddon beyond 2019 is unknown and he could very possibly be elsewhere in 2020.
Could this uncertainty surrounding Maddon impact the team’s search for a new pitching coach? It seems kind of silly to think about, but hiring coaches with managerial experience can help give the team options, essentially holding a manger-in-waiting. Would this be the idea or even a consideration if they hired John Farrell?
John Farrell’s resume
Farrell has plenty of experience in both coaching and managing. He was with the Boston Red Sox as their pitching coach from 2007-2010, managed the Blue Jays from 2011-2012 and held the same role with the Red Sox from 2013-2017. Last year, he worked with the Cincinnati Reds scouting department.
Under Farrell’s guidance, the Red Sox staff compiled a 4.11 team ERA. His staff helped lead them to the 2007 World Series title.
In seven years as a manager, he went 586-548 (.517) with a World Series title in 2013. He made the postseason three total times, all with Boston. Overall his tenure in Boston was both successful and disappointing. Outside the World Series title, the following two seasons saw them going sub-.500 and then going one-and-done in the postseason in 2016 and 2017.
Could he really be the next manager in the waiting if hired?
Would Farrell be the Cubs’ next guy if Maddon walks after 2019? If they do indeed hire Farrell as a member of the coaching staff, this could be a possibility, but not necessarily their preferred plan. After 2019, they may extend Maddon or if they look for a new manager, see who is available first. Plus, Farrell might get a comparable job offer elsewhere.
The nice thing about potentially having the next guy in the waiting is that there is familiarity among the players going forward. Let’s face it, outside Maddon there has not been continuity when it comes to the Cubs coaching staff. 2019 marks the third-consecutive new combination of hitting/pitching coaches. If Farrell were to make a good impact in Chicago, that may or may not swing some decisions.
When it’s all said and done, if the Cubs hired Farrell, it is probably safe to say they are not doing it to hire their next manager, but they may keep that option in mind depending on how things play out next season.