According to multiple outlets, the Cubs are planning to add Terrmel Sledge to Joe Maddon’s staff as assistant hitting coach. This move had been lightly speculated for a few days, along with the potential for Chris Denorfia to accept a coaching role. After a brief MLB career with the Expos/Nationals and Padres, Sledge headed to Japan for five seasons and was actually a teammate of Yu Darvish in 2008 and ’09 with the Nippon-Ham Fighters.
The 41-year-old Sledge was previously part of the Cubs organization in 2015 when he served as the assistant hitting coach for the short-season Eugene Emeralds. He then moved on to take the hitting coach gig with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers in the Dodgers system.
Not lauded for his offensive prowess, Sledge is perhaps best known as the first position player suspended under MLB’s enhanced PED policy when he tested positive for traces of 19-norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolonein in January 2003. I actually remember him more for his unique moniker, a portmanteau of Terrence and Melvin that came about when his parents couldn’t decide what to name him.
Though an assistant hitting coach isn’t likely to have a tremendous impact on a team’s success, we saw how Eric Hinske helped by keeping players loose and encouraging Anthony Rizzo to crowd the plate. Sledge is familiar with the Cubs and represents another step in a more youthful coaching direction, so the expectation is that he’ll help keep the energy up while promoting Anthony Iapoce’s “win every pitch” mantra.