Cubs Bringing Previous Hitting Coaches Greg Brown, John Mallee Back in New Roles

This little nugget is over a week old by now, but it’s been a little hectic around these parts and the news sort of fell between the cracks at the time. Between the holidays, a gas leak scare, and a ruined sump pump drain flooding my basement, I’m going to be playing catch-up for a while here as the new year starts out. So it is that I’m just getting to the Cubs’ reunion with former hitting coaches Greg Brown and John Mallee.

As Sahadev Sharma reported, Brown will work primarily with minor leaguers as a special assistant to the president and GM following his replacement as the big league hitting coach. He served just one year in that role before being asked to accept a reassignment and it was believed he’d leave for a different opportunity, but that either didn’t materialize or the Cubs sweetened the offer. Part of the change came from the organization not wanting to lose Dustin Kelly, who was promoted into Brown’s spot, but it’s possible the team felt Brown’s style is more conducive to working with less-established hitters.

Mallee was the team’s first hitting coach since Jeff Pentland (1998-2002) to last as many as three years in the role, with eight others between them serving a total of 12 seasons. Part of Joe Maddon‘s World Series-winning staff, Mallee was replaced by Chili Davis in 2018 for just one season before Anthony Iapoce took over and lasted three years in the role. Now Mallee returns as a hitting coach for Triple-A Iowa, which almost feels like a mea culpa of sorts from the front office.

Not that coaching in Iowa is necessarily an apology for being let go a few years ago, though it’s become clear that Mallee was another in a long line of coaching scapegoats. In any case, he’s got a wealth of experience and a great deal of familiarity with the organization. It’s notable that Mallee came aboard when the team had a good deal of prospects coming up to Chicago, so the Cubs may believe he, like Brown, is best suited to work with young hitters.

No word on whether Davis, Iapoce, Bill Mueller, James Rowson, or Rudy Jaramillo are under consideration for gigs.

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