The Cubs have hired hitting coach Anthony Iapoce away from the Rangers to fill the same role in their own organization, the team announced Monday. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had reported just before the formal announcement that Iapoce had already informed the Rangers of his decision to take the Cubs’ offer. Iapoce has been serving as the Rangers’ hitting coach since the end of the 2015 season, when Texas hired him away from the Cubs organization. Chicago dismissed 2018 hitting coach Chili Davis last week after just one year in the organization.
A former minor league outfielder who had an 11-year professional career, the Rangers were Iapoce’s first big league coaching assignment, although the 45-year-old had previously worked in the Cubs’ player development department, where he oversaw their minor league hitting program and served as a special assistant to GM Jed Hoyer and president of baseball ops Theo Epstein. He’s also previously worked as a minor league hitting coordinator with the Blue Jays.
With the Cubs, Iapoce will be tasked with helping to revitalize an offense that, as Epstein put it, “broke somewhere along the lines” in a late-season slump that extended into the National League Wild Card game. Given his past experience with the club, Iapoce will already have some degree of rapport with Epstein, Hoyer and manager Joe Maddon, all of whom were in the organization along with Iapoce back in 2015.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are already looking for a new manager and were already in search of a new assistant hitting coach after letting go of Justin Mashore. As Wilson notes, Texas GM Jon Daniels had already given the rest of his coaching staff freedom to pursue other opportunities after telling them that their 2019 fates would not be determined until the Rangers name a new manager. Texas will now be assured of further turnover in the dugout as the organization looks to piece together a developmentally-focused field staff to work with an expected youth movement.