Report: Two Cubs Coaches Following Joe Maddon to Angels

It looks like David Ross will have plenty of room to bring in a few of his own guys from the outside to fill out his coaching staff. All indications are that bench coach Mark Loretta will be replaced by a more venerable name, and now Bruce Levine is reporting that two other coaches will be leaving the Cubs to join Joe Maddon in Anaheim.

Third base and infield coach Brian Butterfield will assume the same position with the Angels, while strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will serve in a quality assurance role. Butterfield’s departure is not unexpected, particularly considering how the Cubs’ defense and baserunning were major factors in their disappointing season. Buss is perhaps a little surprising, though he may not have fit with the new culture Ross wants to establish.

Best known to fans as the dude who’d rock a thong during clubhouse celebrations and even to lead on-field workouts, Buss was sort of the court jester of Maddon’s staff. If that description doesn’t ring a bell, you may recognize Buss as the guy in the dugout who always looked like a fan who’d won a contest to be there. Maybe not the best guy to foster an environment of increased accountability.

At the risk of throwing the guy under the bus, there’s also the notion that the Cubs may not have been the most physically prepared team on the field at all times. Willson Contreras admitted prior to this season that he’d stopped working out during the 2018 campaign, and other players seemed to be less sharp or more prone to wearing down than would be expected. While that responsibility lies with more than one person, Buss’ departure may have been just as bilateral as Maddon’s.

Again, that’s a matter of speculation and connecting dots, so don’t take any of it as gospel truth. This is also speculation, but I’d expect the Cubs to target another veteran coach to replace Butterfield at third base. As for the strength and conditioning side, I’d anticipate them targeting someone who’s a little more cutting-edge and can help them make strides on the injury-prevention front.

Ed. note: Looks like it wasn’t a bad guess…

Bryan Smith of Bleacher Nation went on to tweet that he expects more far-reaching implementation of strength development throughout the system, similar to the initiatives in the pitching and hitting infrastructures. This makes all the sense in the world and is in keeping with the note in the Cubs’ announcement of other changes that more hires would be announced.

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