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Monday, February 18, 2019

Fired Cubs hitting coach feels he did not connect with ‘millennial players’

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The Chicago Cubs chose to part ways with Chili Davis last week after the hitting coach spent just one season with the team, and it sounds like he was not surprised by the move. In fact, we might even venture to say Davis feels relieved.

While reflecting on his brief tenure with the Cubs, Davis said Monday that he felt his message was lost on “millennial players” from the start.

“I guess I need to make some adjustments in the way I deliver my message to the millennial players now,” he said, via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I need to make those adjustments for the next job I get, if there is one.”

Davis added that he “learned a lot” in his one year in Chicago, but he said he needs to be sure he can connect with a team’s players before he accepts another position.

“I hope that the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn’t connect with,” Davis admitted. “It wasn’t that I didn’t try. It just wasn’t there.”

There was an obvious difference in philosophy between Davis and the Cubs’ front office. Davis wanted hitters to focus on driving the ball to the opposite field, which they were successful with over the second half of the season. However, Chicago’s power numbers and overall offense tanked, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he wanted Davis to emphasize power and launch angle more.

According to Davis, that approach no longer works.

“But regardless of who’s (the hitting coach in Chicago next year), certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments, because the game’s changed, and pitchers are pitching them differently,” Davis said Monday. “They’re not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They’re pitching away from that.”

Davis enjoyed success as the hitting coach with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s before he arrived in Chicago, but the reports we have heard since his dismissal make it clear there were players who did not enjoy working with him. It will be interesting to see if that costs him future job opportunities.



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