New Cubs pitching coach, Chris Bosio, has his work cut out for him in 2012.
Not only did Chicago post an NL-worst 4.79 starters ERA in 2011, but Carlos Marmol fizzled out in the closer’s role blowing 10 games, and the staff’s most reliable reliever, Sean Marshall, was dealt to Cincinnati earlier this week.
Additionally, there’s the enigma of Randy Wells who’s been consistently inconsistent, Jeff Samardzija’s transition back to a starter’s role, the development of the newly acquired Travis Wood, and last but not least, the Zambrano situation.
That’s a lot of wood to chop in a single offseason.
Although it appears a daunting task for any pitching coach, it’s actually a glowing opportunity for Bosio to test his mettle.
What comes to mind first with great pitching coaches the likes of the Cardinals’ Dave Duncan and long-time Brave Leo Mazzone, is their ability to transition pitchers from surviving to thriving at the big league level.
Duncan and Mazzone, each HOF worthy no less, built their coaching reputations by transforming cast-off, re-treaded and has-been hurlers into blossoming stars under their watchful eyes and instruction.
This guidance unquestionably contributed to the Braves long run of 15 consecutive division titles and the Cards consistent staying power atop the NL Central. And the Cubs will need no less from Bosio to reach that same level of winning play.
This is what intrigues me about the Cubs signing of Manny Corpas, a 29-year-old reliever who burst onto the scene with the 2007 NL Champion Rockies, but quickly fell out of favor the following three seasons posting an ERA well above 4.00 before missing all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Corpas, it would seem, is the perfect project player for Bosio as a pitcher with known talent, but in despair and in need of repair.
Perhaps, Bosio’s work with Corpas will give us an idea of what’s in store for the rest of the Cubs pitching staff?
That’s not to say Corpas needs to be the next coming of his fellow countryman Mariano Rivera, but a retooled Corpas would go a long way in shoring up the Cubs woeful and inexperienced bullpen.
If it turns out Bosio has that magic touch of a Dave Duncan or Leo Mazzone, we’ll know it if Corpas returns to his 2007 form–even though that’s hardly the only project on Bosio’s plate.