Buddy Bailey will have an opportunity to lead the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to their third consecutive Carolina League title.
After piloting the Pelicans to an 82-57 record and their second straight Mills Cup championship in his first season with the club in 2016, the manager has been tabbed by the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to again develop some of their considerable talent at the Advanced-A level.
Bailey, 59, will be in his 29th season as a manager and 12th with the Cubs organization, and his 1,930 wins have him in the top 15 all time in wins among minor league skippers.
Much of Bailey’s coaching staff from 2016 is also returning, including pitching coach Anderson Tavarez, strength coach Jason Morriss and athletic trainer Toby Williams.
Guillermo Martinez will be the new hitting coach and Ty Wright is being added as an assistant coach.
Myrtle Beach became the first Carolina League team to win back-to-back outright championships since Winston-Salem in 1985-86. The Pelicans’ fourth Mills Cup championship in their 19 years as a franchise is also the second championship of Bailey’s career. He guided the 2011 Daytona Cubs to the Florida State League championship.
Over his tenure with the Cubs, Bailey has also managed in Class A-Advanced Daytona (2006, 2009-11), Double-A Tennessee (2008, 2012-15) and Triple-A Iowa (2008).
The Madison Heights, Va., native and Lynchburg College alumnus spent four seasons as a catcher and first baseman in the Atlanta Braves’ system before beginning a coaching career. He earned the 1996 and 2003 International League Manager of the Year awards with Triple-A Pawtucket in the Boston organization.
Tavarez, of the Dominican Republic, is in his 17th season as either a player or coach in the Cubs’ organization. He oversaw Myrtle Beach’s pitching staff last year, which included Carolina League Pitcher of the Year Trevor Clifton and led the league in ERA (3.47), fewest runs allowed (545), fewest earned runs (473), fewest home runs (65), fewest walks (411), WHIP (1.29), holds (45) and saves (48). The Pelicans also finished tied for first in shutouts (14) and second in hits allowed (1,176).
Martinez enters his fourth season as a coach in Chicago’s organization. The Nicaragua native who grew up in Miami spent the 2016 campaign with Low-A South Bend, where he helped the team finish among the top three in the 16-team Midwest League in average (.266), on-base percentage (.333), slugging percentage (.374), OPS (.708) and runs (633).
Wright was an assistant coach with Short-A Eugene (Ore.) last season and rookie league Mesa (Ariz.) in 2015, and is entering his 10th season as either a player or coach in Chicago’s organization. He had a seven-year minor league playing career out of Oklahoma State.
Williams was the 2016 Carolina League Trainer of the Year. He was born in Thailand is in his fourth year with the Cubs organization, having earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Samford University (Ala.) and advanced degree from Auburn.
Morriss, an Australia native, will be in his third year with the Pelicans and has earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Angelo State in San Angelo, Texas.
Mariano Duncan will be the co-hitting coach with Triple-A Iowa after serving in the same role at the Advanced A level for the past four seasons, and Juan Cabreja, who spent 2016 as the Pelicans’ assistant coach, will be Eugene’s hitting coach in 2017.
The Pelicans begin the 2017 on April 6 and begin their home schedule on April 13. They’ll have more opponents, as the Carolina League is being expanded from eight to 10 teams next season.