Recent events could lead sudden free agent Chris Bosio to be considered for the Twins’ opening for a new pitching coach.
Bosio was reportedly fired as the Chicago Cubs pitching coach on Saturday, putting someone who has played a role in the development of 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and 2016 MLB ERA champion Kyle Hendricks on the market.
The Twins are searching for a pitching coach after firing Neil Allen following the end of their surprising season, and they have already looked at several candidates. They interviewed former Twins reliever Carl Willis on Monday and also have had recently released Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey on their list. Their goal was to make a decision within a couple of weeks following their loss to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 3. But the Twins have not hired anyone yet.
The Cubs’ hopes for a repeat World Series championship ended Thursday when they were eliminated in the National League Championship Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. Bosio was fired Saturday, with the decision coming from manager Joe Maddon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A little background is needed here. Bosio is good friends with Twins manager Paul Molitor, as they were Milwaukee Brewers teammates from 1986 to ’92. Indications were that the Twins wanted to interview Bosio in November 2014 when Molitor was first hired, but the Cubs — who brought in Maddon at the same time — elected to retain Bosio, their pitching coach since 2012. The Twins then went with Allen instead.
Maddon came to Chicago from Tampa Bay, where Hickey was his pitching coach. A Hickey-to-the-Cubs, Bosio-to-the-Twins scenario failed to develop three years ago, but it could now, with reports out of Chicago linking Hickey to a possible reunion with Maddon.
While Bosio has had his successes with the Cubs, there were some problems. Team President Theo Epstein pointed out Friday that the Cubs were last in the majors this season in unintentional walks. “That’s not acceptable,” Epstein said. “None of us feel good about that. We managed to have the third-lowest bullpen ERA in the National League, but we did it in a way we’re not comfortable with getting there.”
In the postseason, Cubs relievers posted a 6.21 ERA in 10 games and walked 27 batters in 37⅔ innings.
Still, Bosio’s body of work with the Cubs — they were the defending World Series champions, after all — might make him a strong candidate for the Twins’ opening.
Bosio, 54, was the Rays pitching coach in 2003 before leaving because of family health reasons. He took over as Brewers pitching coach during the 2009 season, then held the same role with the Cubs from 2012 until Saturday, working under three managers. A righthander, he was 94-93 with a 3.96 ERA during a playing career that spanned 11 seasons, tossing a no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners in 1993.