Jim Deshaies Leaves Astros For Cubs' TV Booth, Replacing Popular Bob Brenly
Former MLBer Jim Deshaies yesterday was “the surprise choice as the Cubs' new TV analyst,” receiving a “four-year deal to replace Bob Brenly alongside play-by-play man Len Kasper,” according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Deshaies has “some big shoes to fill in the Cubs' broadcast booth, after Steve Stone and Brenly endeared themselves to fans over the years with their blunt criticism of players and the team itself.” Deshaies, who will be introduced tomorrow at a news conference at Wrigley Field, is a “former Astros pitcher who spent the last 16 years in Houston's TV booth.” Sources said that he “signed a four-year contract worth in excess of $2 million.” A source added that the Astros “never were really competitive with their offer," believing Deshaies' ties to the organization "would keep him from leaving.” Former Cubs P Dan Plesac, ESPN's Rick Sutcliffe, Fox' Eric Karros and CSN Chicago's Todd Hollandsworth were “among the candidates considered for the Cubs' opening," along with Nationals 3B Mark DeRosa, who is "undecided as to whether to continue playing.” WGN Dir of Productions Bob Vorwald “interviewed the candidates along with” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. Vorwald said that Deshaies' “lack of Cubs ties was not a factor in the search” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/4). MLB.com’s Alyson Footer wrote Deshaies was “considered by some as a long shot to land the job, only because it was widely assumed WGN preferred to have a former Cub as its color commentator (although Brenly had no previous history with the Cubs, either)” (MLB.com, 12/3).
LOST TREASURE: Deshaies said that the Astros “made a multi-year offer for him to remain in Houston.” In Houston, David Barron wrote it is Deshaies’ “combination of dry wit and baseball acumen that Astros fans will miss.” Deshaies’ departure “comes at a time of unprecedented upheaval for Astros broadcasting.” The club’s games will “move next year to Comcast SportsNet Houston after being on Fox Sports Houston and its predecessor networks” since ‘83. Both of the team's radio analyst positions "are vacant with Milo Hamilton’s retirement from full-time announcing and the decision not to retain announcers Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond.” However, Deshaies said that his decision had “nothing to do with the widespread changes that have taken place" under Owner Astros Jim Crane. Deshaies said that “the fact that one of his children attends law school at the University of Illinois contributed to his decision” (CHRON.com, 12/3).
RESERVE YOUR JUDGMENT: ESPN CHICAGO’s Jesse Rogers wrote Cubs fans should “give Deshaies time in the booth, before deciding if it’s a good hire or not.” Already some fans are “reacting negatively because he isn't a former Cubs player.” Rogers: “All things being equal -- and they weren't -- it would be understandable for a former Cub to be a frontrunner for the job." But no one "on the short list had the broadcast resume Deshaies has." Maybe a "charismatic Karros or DeRosa would have been fine but Deshaies is the better bet.” The Deshaies hiring “lacks the buzz the Cubs so desperately need these days, but the hiring of a broadcaster shouldn't be the place a team finds its energy” (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 12/3).