The biggest move made thus far in Chicago was Bill Mueller's resignation from the hitting coach position.
The former Cub and curse-busting Red Sox 3rd baseman was valued for his patience at the plate and obviously had strong connections with Theo Epstein. He'd only just taken the job last offseason.
Though it's hard to quantify the true value of a coach, the re-emergence of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo's bats may be at least partially a result from his tutelage.
On the whole, the offense was rather meager; their .239 BA ranked 12th in the NL and .313 OBP ranked 13th. Though it should be noted that they were second in the league with 157 homers.
At any rate, it still came as a surprise that Bill was stepping down from his post so quickly.
Turns out that the reason he gave for his departure was the sacking of assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley.
One week previously, the former Cub utilityman was demoted from his spot on the staff. Although he was offered a position as a scout in the system, it appears likely that he'll seek employment elsewhere.
As tough as it his to quantify the affect a hitting coach has on a club, I'd say it's downright impossible to do so for the assistant.
No reason was given publicly for the change, however rampant speculation around these parts centers around another former Red Sox star....
That's right; the grapevine has been telling us Chicagoans that Theo & Co. might have let Brumley walk so that they could offer the assistant position to Manny Ramirez.
In addition, did Mueller bolt due to a long-standing frustration with the "Manny Being Manny" act?
No matter, as far as a coaching hire can be, that'd be quite the blockbuster!
It's not that crazy though. Ramirez received rave reviews from everyone in the system during his stint as a player-coach at AAA and it seems that he has honestly turned his life around for the better.
I guess we shall see. In the meantime, Tom Brunansky's name has been floated as potential replacement for Mueller.
Finally, not to be forgotten, the Cubs officially said goodbye to one player as well:
Eli Whiteside filed for minor league free agency a few days ago. He had a cuppacoffee with the big league club this summer as an injury replacement, but the catcher spent the bulk of the year in AAA.
For the record, his official Cub batting line is as follows: .120/.115/.160 in 26 PA's over 8 games. I don't think fans will miss him too much.
Although a Cub is a Cub and I have yet to obtain a card of Eli for my CATRC. I highly doubt that he'll be featured in Topps' Update set so his Iowa Cubs team issue card is the closest thing to a Cubs card he'll have.
If anyone has one they're willing to part with (or any Eli Whiteside card really), I'd love to work out a trade!
Fare thee well Bill, Mike and Eli! Thank you for your services and I wish you nothing but the best of luck. You will forever be remembered in my CATRC as Cubs players and, in the case of Bill and Mike, as coaches as well.