Mike Quade's ascension to manager of the Chicago Cubs began with the erstwhile third base coach doing a surprising triple-back flip over Alan Trammell, the team's bench coach. Many found it odd that Trammell wasn't chosen for the position of, at least, interim manager, though he took the move in stride and never grumbled publicly.
Now Trammell appears to be moving on to greener, er, more desert-like pastures. To wit, the Arizona Republic is reporting that he "is said to be a leading candidate to become the bench coach [of the Arizona Diamondbacks]." Said by whom? We don't know. But it wouldn't be a particularly shocking move.
Alan Trammell was handpicked by former Cubs manager Lou Piniella to serve as bench coach, which he did for the three years and change of Sweet Lou's tenure as well as for the remainder of the 2010 season under Mike Quade. In other words, he's likely a "Lou guy," who may not have had any intention of sticking around long-term with the Cubs anyway. Trammell also has a close connection to Diamondbacks manager Kirk "I don't believe what I just saw!" Gibson. In fact, Gibson served as bench coach under Trammell with the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Detroit Tigers. (Three sub-.500 teams that may have destroyed Trammell's chances of ever being a big league manager again.)
So what does this mean for the Cubs? Bruce Levine speculates that Washington Nationals third base coach (and brief, distant Cubs manager candidate) Pat Listach could join Quade's staff as bench coach. Listach, like Quade, was once a manager in the Cubs' minor league system. There's perhaps an outside chance that first base coach Bob Dernier or third base coach Ivan DeJesus could make the jump to the bench. But that seems unlikely, as both are more on-the-field guys with presumably little to no experience handling the strategic part of the game.
And, of course, a somewhat shocking development would be if Ryne Sandberg was offered and accepted the bench coach job. This is also probably not going to happen as the Cubs seem intent on letting Ryno explore every possible opportunity to win a managerial job at the major league level. Unfortunately, the team reportedly didn't do the best job of communicating this to the Hall of Fame second baseman. News got out yesterday that, when Jim Hendry told Sandberg the bad news about the Cubs job, he didn't explicitly invite Ryno back as Iowa Cubs manager. Sandberg learned that he'd be welcomed back to his previous position only through the press.
But, getting back to Trammell, we here at the Deep Dish see only one major risk in letting the should-be Hall of Fame shortstop for the Detroit Tigers go. In a word, Starlin. In another, Castro. Trammell was, by all accounts, instrumental in helping the Cubs very young shortstop make the adjustment to the big leagues. And it may well have been in large part due to Trammell's sure and steady teaching methods that Castro was able to hold down the starting shortstop position defensively while also performing admirably (for a 20-year-old rookie) at the plate.
Castro did commit many errors (27) but also showed signs of the defensive brilliance fans were hoping for. Did he learn enough from Trammell to stand on his own two feet next season? Let's hope so. And the team should still have the aforementioned DeJesus, a renowned defensive shortstop in his own right, on hand to help.