The Cubs will add former MLB slugger Mike Napoli to their coaching staff, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (link). Napoli is expected to serve as the club’s quality assurance coach, per Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic (link). As Sharma notes, Napoli was a teammate of new Cubs manager David Ross while a member of the Red Sox in 2013.
Most fans will remember Napoli as a thumping catcher and first baseman responsible for 267 home runs in an MLB career that spanned 12 seasons. Aside from garnering a reputation as one of the game’s more fun-loving clubhouse figures, Napoli also earned himself a World Series ring as a member of the previously mentioned 2013 Boston team (not to mention his runner-up effort as part of the 2016 Indians, who lost in seven games in the Fall Classic to his new Chicago employer).
If similar to other QA roles around the game, Napoli’s new position as quality assurance coach will likely call for an emphasis in hands-on supervision and instruction of players across the Cubs’ roster and minor league system. Recently, Royals quality control and catching coach Pedro Grifol received serious consideration for a handful of managerial openings, so the import of Napoli’s new role is not to be discounted. As a former player — and one who was revered in the clubhouse — Napoli should be adept at conveying data and analytical input to the players on Chicago’s roster.