In an expected move, Larry Rothschild officially told the Cubs that he would like to continue to be the Cubs pitching coach during the 2011 MLB season. Rothschild has been with the Cubs for 9 seasons. Although the Cubs ranked only 13th in the NL with a 4.18 team ERA, Cubs starters did lead the major leagues with 96 quality starts. Given that the Cubs won only 75 games, that is a pretty incredible statistic. Cubs starters sported solid ERA’s for the most part — Ryan Dempster – 3.85; Ted Lilly – 3.69 (in 18 Cubs starts); Randy Wells – 4.26; Carlos Silva – 4.22; and Carlos Zambrano – 3.33. And with the excellent pitching of closer Carlos Marmol, the Cubs were tied for 7th in the NL with 40 saves – Marmol racked up 37 of them. Sean Marshall also helped improve the Cubs overall team pitching stats with his best year as a major leaguer – 7-5 record plus 22 holds, 2.65 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 90 K’s and 25 walks in a career-high 80 appearances.
Rothschild is a serviceable pitching coach, but he has been here for 9 years now, and we have not grown an elite pitcher from within during his tenure. There are worse options out there, but Rothschild is still missing something that enables pitchers to really flourish under him. With plenty of young, talented pitchers getting their chance to pitch at the major league level this year and for the foreseeable future, the time is ripe for the new Cubs manager to go in a different direction with a new pitching coach. That might not happen if Mike Quade gets the nod, so let’s hope that Ryne Sandberg gets the job instead. You would have to think that Sandberg would want to bring in some of his own guys to “start from scratch” with a new regime in 2011.