Trammell has no regrets about time with Cubs


Trammell has no regrets about time with Cubs

Monday, April 4, 2011
Posted: 3:06 p.m. Updated: 3:52 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

Alan Trammell sat next to Lou Piniella for almost four seasons. The bench coach appeared to be next in line when the manager abruptly retired last August. Mike Quade got the 37-game audition and the rest is Cubs history.

Around the game, Trammell is known as a class act. The Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach was bypassed but holds no bitterness toward the Cubs, and he maintains a solid friendship with Quade.

Im certainly pulling for Q, Trammell said Monday. He was the right man for the job.

The Cubs ended last season on Oct. 3 and it took 16 days to complete the interview process and finalize an agreement with Quade. Trammell would have been welcomed back onto Quades staff, but took the offer from Kirk Gibson.

Everybody was upfront, Trammell said. If Q had been named before the season was over or maybe even just a few days (after) most likely I would have stayed. But the longer it went, (you) start getting some phone calls and it was tough to turn my old buddy down.

Trammell and Gibson will always be identified with the Detroit Tigers, where they won the 1984 World Series and later coached together. But the old shortstop is still appreciated on the North Side Starlin Castro approached him on Monday to thank him for all his help and guidance.

Trammell was the calm, soothing voice that balanced out Piniella. They teamed up in the Cubs dugout and clubhouse, a baseball version of good cop and bad cop, and won two division titles here.

Trammell has spoken with Piniella a few times and like most was surprised that he took a consulting job with the San Francisco Giants, and not the New York Yankees. Trammell doubts Piniella will manage again but

Ive been around long enough to say: Never say never, Trammell said. I dont think (he has any intention), but who knows if somebody comes calling. As long as hes in baseball in some capacity, I think thats really what he wants.

Fast-tracking Castro

If things had worked out differently, Trammell would have been breaking down Sundays ninth-inning play with Castro. Quade watched it several times and admitted that Castro probably should have held onto the ball after he charged a soft grounder. The throw was offline and two runs scored to help give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-4 win.

All I think you want to do (is) just make him aware of the importance of the decision in that situation, Quade said. Even though you might have a shot at the guy, maybe the bigger situation is the potential winning run at third. But man oh man, if thats the biggest lesson that we have to teach him this year, were going to be just fine.

Castro showcased his offensive potential by hitting .615 (8-for-13) over the weekend, which earned him the National Leagues player of the week award along with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Trammell worked daily with Castro last season and projects the 21-year-old shortstop as a perennial .300 hitter who just needs more experience defensively.

The skys the limit, Trammell said. Hell be somebody Im following for the rest of his career. Thats how much he means to me. Hes a solid kid, but theres going to be some growing pains.


The Cubs have assigned pitcher Hayden Simpson (2010 first-round pick) and outfielder Matt Szczur (two-sport star at Villanova University) to Class-A Peoria.

PatrickMooney is's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

LOS ANGELES – Within minutes of the last out on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, ESPN’s @SportsCenter account sent out a photo of Moises Alou at the Wrigley Field wall to more than 30 million Twitter followers: “The last time the Cubs were up 3-2 in an NLCS was Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS vs. the Marlins. Most remember it as ‘the Bartman Game.’”

As Kerry Wood once said: “Irrelevant, dude.”
Look, the Cubs still need to find a way to beat either Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill this weekend, with Kenley Jansen resting and waiting for the multiple-inning saves. The obligatory description for Kershaw is “the best pitcher on the planet.” Hill’s lefty curveball – and “the perceptual velocity” of his fastball – freezes hitters. Jansen has a mystical cutter reminiscent of the great Mariano Rivera. The top-heavy part of this Los Angeles playoff pitching staff has held the Cubs to zero runs in 16.1 innings.

But until proven otherwise, forget about this idea of a Cubs team weighed down by the history of a franchise that hasn’t played in the World Series since 1945.

Just look at Javier Baez getting in Anthony Rizzo’s airspace during Game 5, the human-highlight-film second baseman standing right next to the All-Star first baseman as he caught a Kike Hernandez pop-up for the second out of the third inning.

It didn’t matter that this was a 1-0 game and MVP-ballot players Justin Turner and Corey Seager were coming up. This is what the 2016 Cubs do. Rizzo caught the ball, quickly flipped it underhand and it bounced off Baez’s chest – in front of a sellout crowd of 54,449 and a national Fox Sports 1 audience.

“We always mess around,” Rizzo said at his locker inside a tight clubhouse jammed with media after an 8-4 win. “So I’m screaming: ‘Javy! Javy! I got it! I got it, Javy, I got it!’

“And usually he’ll yell at me: ‘Don’t miss it!’ Or I’ll yell at him: ‘Don’t miss it!’

“We do that a lot. If it’s a pop-up to him, I’ll go right behind him. It’s just little ways of slowing the game down and having fun, too.”

Rizzo is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman for a team that led the majors in defensive efficiency this year. As a super-utility guy, Baez got credit for 11 defensive runs saved in 383 innings at second base, or one less than co-leaders Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, who each did it in almost 1,300 innings.

“Sometimes when I call (Rizzo) off to get a fly ball, he starts talking to me,” Baez said. “I tell him: ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t move my head. You can touch me if you want. Just don’t move my head.’

“And I told him to be ready for it, because I was going to do the same thing. You just got to be focused on the fly ball. No matter what’s happening around you, you just got to catch it.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

This isn’t about Bartman. It’s about a group of young, confident players who are growing up together and absolutely expect to be in this position. It’s manager Joe Maddon designing “Embrace The Target” T-shirts and telling them to show up to the ballpark whenever they want and then blow off batting practice.

“For sure, we’re relaxed,” said Baez, who’s gone viral during these playoffs, the rest of the country witnessing his amazing instincts and flashy personality. “I’m relaxed when I play defense.”

The thing is, Rizzo and Baez could be playing next to each other for the next five years, the same way Kris Bryant and Addison Russell will be anchoring the left side of the infield.

This is how Rizzo introduced Russell to The Show when a natural shortstop tried to learn second base on the fly last year and track pop-ups in front of 40,000 people: “Hey, watch out for that skateboard behind you! Don’t trip!”

“Oh yeah, we yell at each other all the time,” Rizzo said. “It’s just one of those things where you got to stay loose.”

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