After interviewing this week for the open Cubs managerial seat, Mark Loretta made several comments to a Chicago-area radio station on Saturday that offered insight into his hypothetical strategy for improving the club’s on-field product. Speaking to 670 The Score, the former bench coach for Joe Maddon identified bullpen pitching, defense, and team-wide strikeouts as main areas of focus, were he to land the manager’s job on the North Side (link).
“We have three or four areas where we need to improve,” Loretta said. “We certainly had trouble in the bullpen early and late in the season. The defense, for sure, I think it could have been much better. On the offensive side, we struck out way too much.”
Additionally, Loretta–who played in parts of 15 seasons in the majors–seemed to hint at a lack of structure under the recently ousted skipper Maddon, who has long been considered to be a “player’s coach”.
“We have had a lot of optional hitting practice and fielding practice,” Loretta said. “That’s something we should take a look at as well to see if that actually makes sense. There are certain training times when players need to be on their own. Team concept and team-building exercises and getting together in practice more often are very valid.”
For what it’s worth, the 48-year-old Loretta is not the only in-house coach who might have up-close insight into how the Cubs can improve on 2019’s disappointing 84-78 final result. David Ross–who is described by 670’s Bruce Levine to be a “frontrunner” for the manager’s job–will interview in the coming week, as will first base coach Will Venable; Joe Girardi is also expected to interview, though he is said to also have a keen interest in the open Mets posting.
Loretta formerly worked as a special assistant in the San Diego front office, after a sneakily illustrious playing career split between the Brewers, Astros, Padres, Red Sox, and Dodgers. Team sources from the Padres have indicated that Loretta, a longtime Southern California resident, is also a candidate for the open Padres seat.