- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Pitching coach Larry Rothschild is now a New York Yankees employee after signing a three-year deal for close to $2 million to be the team's pitching coach.
According to a major-league source, Rothschild, who would have made $500,000 with the Cubs in 2011, will make close to $650,000 this coming season in New York. Rothschild approached Cubs general manager Jim Hendry two weeks ago and conversed with him about the vacancy with the Yankees after the team let go of pitching coach Dave Eiland.
Hendry mulled it over, and in deference to Rothschild called the Yankees and gave general manager Brian Cashman permission to talk to Rothschild.
Rothschild, who lived in Tampa, had no problems with the Cubs. However, six weeks at home in the Tampa area during spring training with his young children was the most enticing thing for the Homewood-Flossmoor native.
According to a major league source, the Cubs will stay within their organization to replace Rothschild for the Cubs' pitching coach position. Top candidates will include minor-league pitching coordinator Mark Riggins, Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode, Triple-A pitching coach Mark Mason and Double-A pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn.
Although there is no clear favorite at this time, Riggins is highly thought of throughout baseball and may have a slight edge with his 26 years of coaching experience. Rothschild's time in Chicago was spent working for five managers, including Don Baylor, Bruce Kim, Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella and the team's present manager, Mike Quade.
Rothschild was the first manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and had success throughout his coaching career, which included major-league stops in Cincinnati and Florida.
"It's a bittersweet feeling leaving the Cubs for the Yankees job," Rothschild said. "I've made so many close friends in the Cubs organization, and everyone from Jim Hendry and ownership on down has treated me so well that it's hard to say goodbye. But this is a great opportunity for me and my family."
Rothschild struggled over the last nine years not having his family close by during spring training. The last two springs he went over two months without seeing them. The 56-year old began his coaching career in 1986 after a playing career that included a brief stop in the major leagues. Rothschild was the bullpen coach for the 1990 World Champion Reds and the pitching coach for the 1997 World Champion Florida Marlins, before being named the manager in Tampa in the fall of 1997.