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