Cubs Reportedly Fire Pitching Coach Chris Bosio

I did not see this one coming.

The Cubs have dismissed long-time pitching coach Chris Bosio after six years with the team according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Bosio has been with the Cubs since 2012 and has been considered a huge part of the Cubs success, most notably in his work with SP Jake Arrieta. The Cubs led the league in staff ERA last season, but took a step back this season. Bosio was also seen having a heated discussion in the dugout with Jon Lester during a game in August, but both sides claimed it wasn't issue at the time.

Nightengale mentions Hickey, a Chicago native, as a possible replacement, but Hickey is being sought after by multiple teams. Hickey spent 11 seasons as the Rays pitching coach, obviously working alongside Cubs manager Joe Maddon, but was let go earlier this month. Prior to that, Hickey spent nine seasons in the Houston organization, including two seasons as the pitching coach for the Astros in 2004-05.


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  • Can't say I like this move. Although not surprised. IMO, if Bosio goes then Maillee needs to go.

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    In reply to rbrucato:


  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Maddon did not want Bosio back.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    The hitting coach has to go, no if ands or buts...woeful lack of hitting when the chips were down..

  • We'll probably never know exactly why he was let go, but I hope it wasn't as a scapegoat for the postseason pitching woes. I do like Hickey as a candidate (especially to keep the Cardinals from getting him). The other name I'd really like to see is Red Sox assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister if we can hire him away.

  • In reply to Dingerpalooza:

    Once it was announced, sports radio turned quickly on him, mentioning not only the postseason, but also Theo having brought up that the relief staff was 30 out of 30 in unintentional walks, and somehow Justin Wilson was so ruined that he wasn't on the playoff roster. It may have been a surprise, but it doesn't look like scapegoat.

  • Bosio did a lot of good here (i.e., Arrieta) but his recent record of success has been much less astounding. While pitchers are primarily responsible for their own success, the pitching coach can and often does play a role in a pitcher,s success or failure.

    Of recent, Bosio’s “magic” seems to have expired a bit in respect to great turnarounds at least. Adam Warren has pitched very effectively in both his stints in NY while he looked less than meh here and neither Mills or Butler appear to have made significant progress on the road back to pitching at the major league level.

    Most importantly (probably) Hickey’s past involvement with Maddon plays a critical role here along with the Rays’ successful history of developing young pitching talent. All in all, I’m surprised but not shocked.

  • I did not see this coming either. But when you read these quotes from Theo it makes more sense: “Our bullpen walked over 10 percent of the batters it faced this year, which was 30th in baseball. We were 26th the year before that. It’s been kind of across the board.”

    The Cubs led the NL is scoring, and scored more runs than in 2016. Maybe that makes Mallee safe? Although Theo has said that he wasn’t completely happy with the team’s approach, particularly with two strikes.

    This team will control the strike zone!

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Let’s not forget the past 3 years we have had one of the best starting rotations in MLB. But because bullpen is bottom of MLB he is let go. What a weak reason.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    "“Our bullpen walked over 10 percent of the batters it faced this year, which was 30th in baseball. We were 26th the year before that."

    That's a "weak" reason? Lester and Lackey were established when the Cubs got them. Hendricks performed the same at MLB level as he did in the minors. You can credit Bosio with helping Jake develop, but then you have to credit him with Jake's regression this year, too. The parade of potential #5 starters didn't yield one keeper. But, yeah, when your bullpen is the worst in MLB, your pitching coach gets at least part of the blame.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I don't think the reason he is gone is due to performance on the field. I think it is an off the field issue.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yes. Yes to hang your hat on the bullpen had too many walks is very weak to pin on Bosio. Last year everyone was ready to add his head on mt Rushmore and now joe is throwing him under the bus. Cubs were bottom at throwing out runners try to steal. Guess we should fire the coach that works with catchers. Cubs were bottom in stolen bases guess we should get rid of base running coach. Cubs haven’t produce a consistent.300 hitter. Guess hitting coach needs to go too. Lester strode was slowest bullpen coach to answer the phone. He gotta go too. Joe couldn’t figure out a line up to work then he needs to go too. Plenty of blame to go around but to pin it on Bosio is dumb.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Well, you know Theo and all of his "weak" decisions. That bum needs to go.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Just saying in this case it is a weak reason. Great comeback tho.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    We have a manager that allows the bullpen to dance and party, then wonders why they aren't prepared to pitch? It's not Bosio's fault.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It's a perfect reason. Look around and you will find all the other top teams with really strong bullpens. It has become a six inning game and if you are not aware then oh I don't know.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Do we really have a perfect bullpen?? This is why last year Chapman came in so early. The only consistent bullpen arm joe truely trusted was Chapman and Davis. Not Bosio fault that we don’t have good pieces there in case you didn’t know.

  • Adam Warren.
    Clayton Richard.
    Joe Smith.
    Blake Parker.
    Tommy Hunter.
    Heck, Brett Anderson.

    All guys who pitched better when they left the Cubs than when they were on the Cubs.

    Of course, Bosio will forever be remembered for his work with Jake, but his results over the course of the past couple of seasons aren't exactly "magical". Remind me again what pitcher(s) he has turned around since Arrieta?

    Not saying Bosio absolutely deserved to be fired, but not he wasn't exactly untouchable either. Joe's guy is on the market, so it at the end of the day, it all makes sense.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Really like this perspective. There's no one thing that "proves" Bosio deserved to be fired, but there are understandable reasons that the FO might want a change.

    I'm with those that think Mallee needs replacing, too, but...

    How much responsibility does the manager have if the players aren't listening and putting the coaching they receive into practice?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Maddon just praised all his coaches and said they would be back on Friday.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I think Rick Renteria got praise as well.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Which again gets to the point that while Rick was fine until Joe became available, Hickey suddenly became available, although North Side Irish doesn't think he is that locked in.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    "if the players aren't listening and putting the coaching they receive into practice?" That is why you fire a coach. If you lost the players time for a change.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Only thing we know is what Theo says and that is the pitchers had to many walks. Let’s say for a moment you could be right. You just made a point in favor of Bosio. If the last 2 years they had listen to Bosio and they did great. If this year they didn’t listen to Bosio and they didn’t as well then that is on the players!!!!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    If it's always on the players, then, why have coaches at all? I just don't understand your attitude - how do you evaluate a coach's performance if not by the results the players produce?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    If he is saying that players didn’t listen to Bosio this year and they had a bad year??? If they listen to Bosio 2 years ago and had a good year doesn’t it make sense that they should listen to him?? Players have to be held accountable for performance and listening to a coach. Not that hard to understand.

    If that is your philosophy then every coach needs to be gone. Including the manager that is who it ultimately comes back to. Joe wasn’t very good this year. Should he be gone???

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The players did produce. Check all the important stats of a pitcher. Bullpen walks doesn’t rank high on most people list of not performing. It isn’t a attitude but a philosophy.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I agree. Theo said don't blame Maddon. Then why are we playing a fortune for Maddon? Maddon doesn't matter. Batting Schwarber leadoff didn't matter. Misuse of Aroldis Chapman didn't matter. Overuse of Zobrist didn't matter. It's Bosio's fault.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Then fire Maddon.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You are assuming the coaches and actually coach and communicate to implement things or tweaks or changes. Maybe that is the issue?

    I would love to see Mallee take a hike and bring in Manny. He connected with so many. I think that would be a win for the Cubs.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Not assuming (or pointing fingers), just questioning. It's usually a combination of things. Joe has a reputation for getting the best out of younger players so it's easier to believe that the coaches are the issue, but the manager has something to do with player attitudes, too. It's interesting that the Yankees seem to think more highly of Larry Rothschild than the Cubs did, for example. There may be a GM out there all excited over Bosio's availability.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Bosio won't be out of work long if he wants it,

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Agree 100% regards Manny. I’m not sure if he is ready to be Batting Coach but he worked well with the younger guys last year so I’d love to see him back with the Cubs.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Bosio kept trotting out to the mound to tell the pitchers something. I don't know what he said, but if he said something about nibbling the corners, maybe it didn't work.

  • In reply to jack:

    Right that is exactly what Bosio said!!! I never heard a pitching coach tell me or anyone else “hey don’t worry about it just keep bubbling at the corner. You will get him”.

  • In reply to jack:

    My comment is more about working with guys on the side and creating game plans. There is very little said when a pitching coach comes to the mound that works. Or when a 3B coach comes down to talk to a batter. Those are more about slow down and take a deep breath situations than actual coaching or instruction. If players aren't listening to the situations I was referring to then it is telling.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Maybe it has more to do with pinch hitters, but Len had an awful lot of "Bosio is going to the mound to give the pitcher the book on this hitter." I wonder with a reliever hot much advance prep there can be on someone just coming up to the plate, especially in the case of a lefty righty switch.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    See, that's the part that's called leadership. Do you think the great Generals go out and teach target practice or bomb runs etc etc? They lead and get people to do what they want them to and make them believe it was their idea. Joe may not know baseball but he knows baseball players.

  • In reply to veteran:

    You think great generals throw his staff under the bus? Not great leadership there. If I guy u gonna lead our team shouldn’t he know baseball???? Let the bench coach be a players coach.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Relievers are such a volatile commodity that I'm not sure how much of that is Bosio. Strop improved after coming to the Cubs. Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood have both pitched worse since leaving. I think to some extent you're talking about pitchers who failed as starters now failing as relievers, which shouldn't be surprising.

    But I will never understand what happened with Adam Warren.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    That may be another inherent problem with current theory and how it works out in the playoffs. Basically relievers other than the closer are not valued. That results in relievers that can't hold the game, and closers such as Chapman and Davis get overused. That really becomes a problem when Cubs starters couldn't become Verlander and go deep into the game, hitting 100 pitches before 5 innings were over.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Those guys you listed are a joke. That was a terrible example. Those guys sucked when we got them and they suck now.

  • Definitely thought they'd dismiss the hitting coach before Bosio. Maybe it was the bullpen's in consistency. Don't think we could ask much more of the starters except for the consistently hight pitch counts.

  • In reply to hawk1943:

    I said this on the other thread, but I think the availability of Hickey motivated the Cubs to move quickly on Bosio. He's (Hickey) talking to several teams, including the Cards. It wasn't a question of which coach deserved to be fired first.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Exactly. If Hickey is their first choice they had to move

  • In reply to TC154:

    I really have no idea how qualified Hickey is or would be as a pitching coach but one thing about the guy that always creeped me out......he CANT keep his hands off his pitchers when he comes out to talk to them on the mound.......I know.....this is beyond stupid as a comment and I have no reason why I always noticed it but.......

    damn.......I’d knock his ass outttttttttt.

  • I'm assuming the Cubs just want a change in philosophy. 2/5's of the rotation and at least half the pen, including the closer, are up in the air. The inability to consistently throw strikes was an issue this season. I just think they want new guidance with all the new incoming personnel. This FO is good at identifying a weakness and working to fix it. This offseason will be about re-tooling the pitching staff, and a return to controlling the strike zone.

  • Sad to see Bosio go though maybe it's time for a fresh approach. I'd say the same could be said for Mallee. The hitting was atrocious this postseason and all season was waaaaay too reliant on the long ball to score runs. Some of that is on the FO though admittedly.

  • HOF coach: "Ultimately,the wins and losses are the composite result of every action, decision, effort and relationship by a team as the umulative body of work n does leading up to and during a campaign or season."

    Cubs failed to repeat and looked over matched and were overwhelmed in NLCS (now twice out of three seasons). Changes will be made, that is the nature of human organizations.

    Bosio will find work and respect. But getting Hickey if that is the plan, is in part of a larger effort. There is a FA and there is a trade target.

  • I see that North Side has a new "Around the League" post up, but it's not loading for me. Keep getting "Page Not Available". Anyone else having this problem? Not complaining, just want my Cubs fix.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Clicked on the link. Posted on it. And bow it is gone from the main page.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm guessing it was pulled for revision - maybe more news?

  • I see that Dave Righetti is now also available.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Moving to the Giants FO though.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    And so is Mike Maddux. He got let go with Dusty Baker. I think the Cubs were interested in Maddux a while ago. There are several
    good options out there.

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    I wonder if the Cub fired Bosio and are jumping for Hickey the same way that they did when Maddon was suddenly available. Also, does this portend a trade for one of the Rays pitchers, possibly Archer.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    First sounds like it. If anything the past couple of deadlines has shown, the Rays aren't in any hurry to get rid of Archer. Some talk is that it would take convincing the Rays that Schwarber can hit the ball consistently off the ceiling for better than a ground rule double.

  • Just read some background info about Jim hickey , he's got a pretty good track record from the minors to majors his pitchers throw strikes.Hope the Cubs can hire him

  • Nothing against Bosio but I .love the idea of past regimes there would be a “go along to get
    along” mentality...whether this was joe or theo’s decision,I am supportive of the concept that you must deliver..probably not the last time you’ll say “ i didn’t see this coming”

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    Just connecting a few dots. First, in that interview with Joe that keeps playing, I think it's significant that he claims "They kind of outpitched us and everything else." The Dodgers were also better at hitting and defense that series but he focused on pitching.

    So if Jim Hickey is about to sign a deal with another team -- particularly the Cardinals -- this was likely their last chance to get him. Let's further assume Joe wanted his guy but was willing to live with the Cubs' guy. Then Bosio's stock sinks. Either because Theo has lost faith in him or because Joe has convinced Theo to lose faith in Bosio. So the Cubs have a chance to get the guy their manager wants AND take a piece from the Cardinals. That's a move Theo would make. And Bosio might have survived another year if not for the perfect confluence of events.

    Let's just hope it works better than the big moves for Heyward (keeping him from the Cardinals) and Quintana (the Brewers) have worked so far.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm not so sure that Q was a matter of keeping him from the Brewers as that the Cubs had too many injuries at that point. As it is, the Cubs, for all practical purposes, entered the playoffs with 4 starters. Even if they make Montgomery into a starter, the Cubs are still short one for next year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pretty much along the lines of Renteria... They weren't looking to fire him, but when Joe became available, boom he was gone...

  • Hickey and Cobb. A package deal, so to speak.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    If it makes sense, our FO will do it.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I think that is where it is headed. Alex Cobb has seemingly been on this FO's radar every year.

  • I believe Bosio's stock took a significant downturn with his out of line comments about Thames and "suspension" thereafter. Couple that with him having zero filter on his comments when speaking with the media. His loose lips were as much his demise as his coaching ability.

  • Look at the whole body of work. Dead last this year in walks. You just can't give up that many free passes. You've got the Lester incident and the Eric Thames steroid comments. If Malee's hitters were dead last in walks, or even close, then he'd be gone in a heartbeat. Not that Malee shouldn't be gone. It's about OBP. Our pitchers have been increasing everybody's OBP.

  • In reply to benhyoung14:

    Walks is the whole body of works??? The last 2 years were great with Arrieta and Hendricks development. Lackey and Lester were who they are. Hammels did well for cubs. How many times did the cubs have to throw a garbage guy in 5th spot?? Look at whip/era/quality starts.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I agree. Look what he did with Hammels, Feldman, Shark, Hendricks, Arrieta. He got more out of Strop than most, even got something out of Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill. He had Rondon pitching great until Aroldis Chapman came over briefly.

  • 1. No specifics or anecdotes, but Paul Sullivan and Mark Gonzalez report that "Maddon's relationship with Bosio had soured by the end of the season."

    2. Obviously knowing that Bosio would be fired on Saturday, Theo went out of his way on Friday to make clear that Boiso's firing would be Joe's decision by stating that "every coach Joe wants back will be coming back."

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