Two members of the Cubs’ coaching staff won’t be back in 2024, as Jon Heyman of the New York Post (X link) reports that bullpen coach Chris Young and game strategy/catching coach Craig Driver have been let go. Both coaches had been on the Cubs’ staff for the last four seasons, though Driver had previously worked as the catching coach and first base coach in 2020 and 2021.
While coaching turnover is common after every season, it is quite possible Young’s departure could be tied to the collapse of the Cubs’ bullpen down the stretch. Chicago’s 7-15 record over its last 22 games was marked by several late-game blowups, making for one of the shakiest months of relief pitching in recent franchise history.
The Cubs were missing several of their top relievers (Adbert Alzolay, Michael Fulmer, Brad Boxberger) to some or most of September due to injuries, so while the fault can hardly all be directed at Young, it could be that upper management felt a change was needed. Since the start of Young’s first season in 2020, the Cubs have had one of the less-impressive bullpens in the sport, though it is again hard to gauge Young’s effectiveness considering how the Cubs were in semi-rebuild mode for at least half of his tenure.
Young previously worked with the Phillies as an assistant pitching coach beginning in the 2017 season, then as the lead pitching coach in 2019 before being fired at season’s end. Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Young had worked as a scout and scouting supervisor in the Astros and Padres organizations for eight seasons, and also pitched for seven seasons in the minors and in independent baseball.
Driver also worked with Young in Philadelphia, as Driver was the Phillies’ bullpen catcher and receiving coach in 2018-19. That marked Driver’s first job with a Major League team following a long collegiate career in various coaching roles.