As friend of the blog Cubs Den shared today, the Cubs have announced some new coaching hires. Let’s run them down really quickly:
Bench Coach: Brandon Hyde; Hyde worked last year as the Cubs Director of Player Development.
Hitting coach: Bill Mueller: Mueller has been a hitting coach, scout, and worked in the front office as a special assistant to the GM in Los Angeles.
Asst. Hitting coach: Mike Brumley. In 2009, Brumley oversaw all minor league instruction in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, overseeing all aspects of instruction in the Dodgers’ minor league system.
Pitching Coach: Chris Bosio
3B Coach: Gary Jones. Jones will also serve as the infield coach. Jones adds yet another coach with instructional experience. He was a former Padres roving minor league instructor
Quality Assurance Coach: Jose Castro, who was a minor-league hitting coordinator or hitting coach for 25 years for five different teams.
Lester Strode also returns in his bullpen coach role while Mike Borzello (catching and strategy) and Franklin Font (staff assistant) return as well.
I like the hires and the returning members for the most part. Chris Bosio in particular has drawn pretty good reviews for his work on the pitching staff. Bill Mueller, of course, was a former Cub and Red Sox, and also won a batting title with some mad on-base skills. But the one I liked the most was highlighted in bold above.
Jose Castro, quality assurance coach. I honestly don’t know what that means. When I attempted to Google the term, I got two pages’ worth of articles about the Cubs hires and a few about Tim Bogar, who was hired as the Texas Rangers’ bench coach.
Bogar served as “quality assurance coach” with Tampa Bay in 2007.
Oh gee, that’s a lot of help. WTF does that mean?
Whenever I think “quality assurance,” I think of some underwear inspector who signs off on Hanes briefs and stamps his “Inspected by #12” sign on each pair. I am assuming that quality assurance in baseball terms suggests that they make sure all the players are running drills properly as an additional instructor. Now I have this funny image in my head of Jose Castro stamping his “APPROVED” label onto Starlin Castro‘s back when he makes a good play. Hm.
It seems like Tampa Bay is the only team in the first several pages of the Google results that employed a quality assurance coach prior to the Cubs’ hire of Jose Castro. Nobody is explaining what the hell that is. I suppose it’s something that an intrepid fan will have to ask Theo Epstein or inbox Carrie Muskat or Bruce Miles to figure it out. They certainly didn’t tell us anything about it on Twitter.
So if anyone knows what a quality assurance coach is, I’m all for learning something new. Cubs Den’s comments suggest that I was inaccurate in my guess above. If the comment is true, a quality assurance coach is someone who is responsible for game preparation (which I thought everyone on the staff was supposed to do, but this must be priority #1 for the QA guy), like making spray charts and scouting reports and stuff like that. I’d love to see an official definition from the team or from someone else in the “know” though. Any takers?