Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson left the Cubs after three years to take a job as the pitching coach for Milwaukee. Hitting coordinator and special assistant to the GM Anthony Iapoce is now the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers after three years with the Cubs organization. Enter Andy Haines and Jim Brower.
Haines has worked his way from a college catcher at Eastern Illinois through the coaching ranks, spending the last two years managing New Orleans, the Marlins AAA affiliate. Haines’ coaching career began back in his hometown of Olney, Illinois, serving as an assistant coach at Olney Central College and then at Middle Tennessee State. He made the move to pro ball, taking the reigns in the Northwoods League. He served as the hitting coach for two years in the Northern League and then managed Windy City to a Frontier League title and earned Manager of the year honors. He was hired by the Marlins and served as the hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 and in 2009 took over the helm as the skipper of Jamestown in the New York-Penn League. He managed two years in Greensboro in the South Atlantic League and was promoted to Jupiter in 2012 in the Florida Sate League, serving two seasons. Haines also earned a Arizona Fall League championship ring, leading Salt River to the title in 2014. He runs the Pro Edge Baseball and Softball Academy in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
Jim Brower is the new minor league pitching coordinator after spending the last three seasons as the pitching coach for Northwest Arkansas, the Royals AA affiliate. He served in the same role for two seasons at Kane County prior to being promoted to AA. A former sixth-round pick of Texas back in 1994 out of the University of Minnesota, Brower’s MLB career spanned nine season, compiling a 33-32 record with a 4.67 ERA in 354 games (28 starts, 5 saves, 574 IP). He made his MLB debut with Cleveland on Sept. 5, 1999, vs. Baltimore and got the win with four scoreless innings of shutout relief, a game started by Dwight Gooden. Brower spent the next eight seasons playing for the Reds, (2001-02), Expos (2002), Giants (2003-05), Braves (2005), Orioles (2006), Padres (2006), Yankees (2007). He led the majors with 89 appearances for the Giants in 2004, going 7-7 with a 3.29 ERA in 93 innings. He was purchased by the Cubs from the Reds in 2008 but never pitched and was released in July. He pitched in Japan in 2008 and Italy in 2010 before retiring.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Cubs minor league coordinators for the 2016 season.
Tim Cossins returns for his fourth season as the organization's minor league field and catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and in 2001-02 was the Major League bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations. Cossins was instrumental in the scouting and drafting of Kyle Schwarber and continues to work with the backstop to develop his skills behind the plate. Cossins can also be given credit for the development of Willson Contreras.
Jose Flores returns for his fourth season as minor league infield coordinator, and his 16th year as a coach or manager. Flores spent two seasons as manager of the Puerto Rico National baseball team (2011-12) and was a bench coach for Ponce Leones in the Puerto Rico Baseball League (2010). He handled similar duties for the Gaguas Criollos baseball club in 2008, the same year he managed the Cleveland Indians Dominican Summer League team. After playing six seasons in Houston's minor league system (1990-95), he began his coaching career in the Puerto Rico Winter League (2001-06). Flores can be found in the Cubs minors leagues dugouts during the summer working with the young infielders.
Doug Dascenzo begins his second year as the organization's minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. Dascenzo has 17 years of coaching experience following a career that saw him play in parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs from 1988 to 1992. Prior to joining the Cubs, Dascenzo spent the previous three seasons with Atlanta, including serving as the third base coach for the major league club in 2014. After retiring from baseball, he coached in the Padres farm system from 1999 to 2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager.
Dave Keller enters his 31st season as a minor league coach or manager, his 13th year in the Cubs organization and his second as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after he served as Iowa's hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Mike Mason begins his third season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Iowa's pitching coach. He has 24 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Rangers (1982-87), Cubs (1987) and Twins (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City's minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07), while also handling interim pitching coach duties at the Major League level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia's Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City's minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City's minor league system from 1991-99.
Tom Beyers returns for his 17th season with the Cubs organization, and his second as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Kane County's hitting coach. He was the short-season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league manager of the year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after he was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Josh Lifrak returns for his second season with the Cubs as the club's director, mental skills program. He is tasked with the development, implementation and supervision of the Cubs mental skills training program for all levels of the organization. Prior to joining the Cubs, he spent 10 years as the Senior Mental Conditioning Consultant for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Lifrak earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 1994 and earned a Masters of Science, Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Psychology from Ithaca College in 2005. He also provides inspiration on Twitter.
Rey Fuentes begins his fourth season with the organization and second as Latin Coordinator, Mental Skills Program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his second season as the organization's mental skills program coordinator, and will work with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement in April after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 Draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
Doug Jarrow begins his ninth season as Chicago's minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Nick Frangella begins his 13th season with the organization and his third as head minor league athletic training and performance coordinator. He spent the previous two seasons as Triple-A Iowa's athletic trainer.
Chuck Baughman enters his 16th year with the Cubs organization, his third season as assistant athletic training coordinator. He spent the previous eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator and joined the organization as Boise's athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati's system.
Rick Tronerud returns for his 21st year with the Cubs and his third as minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons with Mesa, serving as the club's rehab pitching coach. Tronerud joined the organization in 1996 as the pitching coach at Rookie-League Fort Myers after pitching (1972-81) and coaching (1982-89) in Oakland's farm system.