Red Sox coaches Chili Davis, Brian Butterfield join Chicago Cubs staff
By Sean Penney
Former Boston Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis and third base coach Brian Butterfield have both been hired by the Chicago Cubs.
The exodus of the Boston Red Sox coaching staff continues in the wake of manager John Farrell‘s dismissal.
The Chicago Cubs announced that they have hired hitting coach Chili Davis and third base coach Brian Butterfield as new additions to their coaching staff.
Davis spent one season as hitting coach for the Red Sox. While he was well respected within the organization, the offense sputtered under his watch. A lineup that led the majors in runs scored in 2016 was expected to drop off following the retirement of David Ortiz, but few expected the decline to be this severe. Boston was sixth in the league in runs scored, 11th in OPS and dead last in home runs.
The declining offense isn’t entirely the fault of the hitting coach, but down seasons at the plate by several key players was a frustrating development that Davis is partially accountable for.
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Butterfield served as the third base coach for the Red Sox since 2013. Boston developed a new aggressive baserunning approach this season to help offset the lack of power in their lineup. While it worked in some cases, it also led to the Red Sox leading the majors in outs on the bases. It was Butterfield who all too often drew the ire of fans for sending runners in questionable situations.
Butterfield also held responsibilities as Boston’s infield instructor. He deserves a fair amount of credit for assisting Hanley Ramirez in his transition to first base last year. Ramirez was a disaster in the outfield, leading most of us to assume he would be a liability anywhere the Red Sox put him on the field, yet Butter helped turn him into a passable first baseman.
Both Davis and Butterfield are knowledgeable baseball men capable of excelling in these roles. They are good coaches who, fairly or not, take the blame for the disappointing performances of their players.
Their departure follows the exit of Carl Willis, who has been hired as the new pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians.
Next: 5 questions facing Red Sox in 2018
It’s no surprise that Red Sox coaches have accepted offers with other teams. Alex Cora is expected to be free to build his own coaching staff once he’s officially announced as Boston’s new manager following the conclusion of the World Series. It’s unclear if Cora is willing to retain anyone from Farrell’s staff but some of those coaches weren’t willing to wait around long enough to find out.