Monday, November 29, 2010

Breaking Down the Options for Cubs Pitching Coach's Carrie Muskat tweeted today that she expects the Cubs to name a new pitching coach on Wednesday. With just two days until Mike Quade's staff will actually be complete, let's break down some of the candidates to replace Larry Rothschild.

Mark Riggins
Many big league sources are reporting that Riggins, the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator, is the favorite to land the gig. The Cubs are expected to stay within the organization for the hire and Mark seems like the right guy. He briefly appeared as a big league coach with the Cardinals in 1995 before becoming the Cards pitching coordinator from 1996 to 2007 before filling the same role with the Cubs starting in 2008. He spent five seasons as a left handed pitcher in the St. Louis chain.

Lester Strode
Strode is the only candidate who has plenty of big league experience. He has been on the Cubs staff as the bullpen coach since 2007. During that time, Lester has also served as an assistant pitching coach to Larry Rothschild. After a nine year minor league pitching career, Strode become a coaching in the Cubs system, first with the Peoria Chiefs ('91-'92) and then as the minor league pitching coordinator.

Mike Mason
Mason's name is a familiar one to most because he spent six years in the big leagues including a brief stint with the Cubs during the 1987 season. The bulk of his career was spent with the Rangers. Mason has been a minor league pitching coach since 1991 and has been the Triple-A Iowa Cubs pitching coach since 2008.

Dennis Lewallyn
The final main candidate with a shot to fill the void on Mike Quade's staff is Dennis Lewallyn. He instructed guys like Chris Archer, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Chris Carpenter and Craig Muschko this season at Double-A Tennessee. The eight year big league right hander has been the Smokies pitching coach since 2007 and a minor league coach since 1995. Dennis was the D'back minor league pitching coordinator for five years before departing for the Cubs system.

The good thing about all four guys is that they have a strong knowledge of the Cubs organization and its players. It think it is the right move to stay inside the system for this hire.

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