A former infielder, Valaika appeared in the big leagues with the Reds, Marlins and Cubs from 2010-14. (His younger brother Pat Valaika still plays in the majors and spent the 2020-21 seasons with the Orioles). Chris Valaika wrapped up his playing career after 2015 and moved into an administrative role with the Cubs not long after. He spent a few seasons as the team’s minor league hitting coordinator before becoming Chicago’s assistant hitting coach over the 2020-21 offseason.
After just one season on a big league staff, Valaika looks set to land the Guardians’ hitting coach position. Should a deal ultimately come to fruition, he’d replace Ty Van Burkleo, who served as Cleveland hitting coach from 2013-21 but was let go last month.