The Rundown: Bill Mueller Resigns as Hitting Coach

There’s no denying it was a pretty rough 2014 for the Cubs offense. They ranked near the bottom in MLB for on-base percentage and runs scored. And they led the world in strikeouts.

Whether or not those struggles played a role, Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller resigned on Tuesday.

Mueller, a former Cubs player and member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series champs, worked closely with assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley.

Brumley was offered another position within the Cubs organization after the 2014 season ended, and it may have been a reason for Mueller’s decision.

Immediately, people jumped to the conclusion that Manny Ramirez would be filling the role, but several reports say that is not the case. At age 42, it sounds like Ramirez isn’t ready to quit playing just yet.

Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales that the Cubs would look for someone with hitting-coach experience, especially with young players. Sounds a lot like what the Cubs said they were looking for in a manager to replace Dale Sveum.

In terms of replacements, Patrick Mooney says Dave Magadan (Red Sox hitting coach when they won the 2007 World Series) and A’s hitting coach Chili Davis are possibilities, although not likely.

Sahadev Sharma says the front runner could be Astros hitting coach John Mallee, who worked with Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde in Miami.

The Cubs’ hitting coach position has not seen a lot of stability under the current front office. I’m not sure how vital the role is, but I feel like because of all the young talent breaking through to the big leagues at the moment, the hitting coach may play a bigger part than for other clubs.

Cardinals beat Kershaw…again, move on to NLCS

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Cardinals’ Matt Adams hit a three-run home run off Clayton Kershaw to propel St. Louis to a 3-2 win over the Dodgers, ending the series.

Unreal. I guess at least it wasn’t Matt Carpenter, right?

Tuesday’s Game 4 got off to an odd start, as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decided to bench Yasiel Puig, one of the team’s best hitters. Eh, probably THE best hitter on the team.

I may just be a caveman who is unfamiliar with the crazy intricacies of MLB managing, but I’m fairly confident that sitting Puig was a dumb move.

Giants eliminate Nationals

Well at least I picked one of these playoff series correctly. The Nationals, who had the best record in the NL this year, are going home after losing to the Giants last night 3-2.

Bryce Harper was basically the extent of the Nationals’ offense, homering again and doubling. Man, he is going to be fun to watch for a long time. Hard to believe that he’s only 21 years old.

The total unpredictability of the 2014 playoffs so far serves as a good reminder for Cubs fans: Just get into the playoffs, and anything can happen. (It also helps to have a good bullpen.)

Other notes

* Fangraphs listed its top 10 list of prospects for 2015, based on WAR. The top spot goes to the Cubs’ very own Kris Bryant, with a projected .265/.344/.489, 130 wRC+, and 4.0 WAR.

Coming in at No. 3? Also a member of the Cubs: Jorge Soler, with a projected 2.5 WAR.

The article did clarify that the projections may not fully take into consideration defensive skills.

* Tim Dierkes from MLB Trade Rumors outlined the Cubs’ upcoming off-season. As expected, he highlights the need for starting pitching, suggesting aside from the “big three” of Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, the Cubs may go after Kenta Maeda (from Japan), Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano or Justin Masterson.

Dierkes also points out some other teams’ bad contracts that the Cubs may want to pursue in an Edwin Jackson trade, including Cameron Maybin, Chris Johnson, Aaron Hill, Allen Craig, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and Carlos Beltran. I’m not sure Jackson would be able to net any of those players, however.

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