Now that risk aversion has killed the Winter Meetings and made Baseball predictable, let’s grab at the few things that are unpredictable and weird: coaching hires.
The Cubs have expressed an interest in Mark DeRosa for their open vacancy at bench coach (Brandon Hyde is now managing the Orioles). What exactly are his qualifications? He was a former major leaguer, is currently an analysts on MLB Network, and has alluded to working with players in the offseason, maybe from a mental skills perspective (my recollection on this is fuzzy).
DeRosa’s primary skill seems to be his ability to talk... and talk... and talk. Combined with Joe Maddon, that sounds like a terrible combination, but the Cubs have shown a willingness and strong ability to be incredibly annoying.
DeRosa, of course, will never be forgotten for his 73 games of Giants Baseball (shortened due to a wrist fracture) between 2010-2011. I don’t like and dislike the recent trend of hiring coaches and managers with minimum 20 experience. On the one hand, there’s no question that it is away for front offices to exert more control in clubhouses, but on the other hand, it can be kind of fun. Does that mean I think Aaron Boone is an amazing manager? Well, he did win 100 games in his very first season managing, so that is pretty cool, actually.
The trend towards hiring players with some name recognition within an organization also feels like a Big reason why this is happening now. Human beings just seem to be more attracted to name brands and know the quantities. It is another risk register. And for players, it is a good way to calm anxiety is about uncertain future is. If people think they know who Dave Roberts is as a person and understand how he was a player, then they are more likely to give him a chance and believe he is on their side from the start.
The bad news is this totally boom people with experience and long track records. The Ron Wotuses and Hensley Meulens don’t really have a place in the game anymore — at least, not the ones they probably want — and that is a bit of a bummer.
It is a great reminder, though, that we can never count on anything or anyone beyond ourselves, and as much as it feels like pursuing our professional goals has a payoff, there is so much about career fields out of our control that it almost doesn’t seem worth it. Building a life that you love when you go home to it feels like a more worthwhile venture than tying your life up in your work. Very few get to the top of the mountain. Process and effort are certainly valuable skills to hone over time, but don’t forget about family and home, too.
Oh, but back to the main point about coaches coming in with minimal experience. I think it also devalues working your way through the minor leagues, too, by not having to spend as much time there before advancing to the big leagues. That feels like a meritocracy that got blasted away for no good reason, even if Mark DeRosa-type hirings are still a bit of an exception. As we’ve seen, though, it doesn’t take long for exceptions to become the rule.