Word coming out of Nashville and the baseball winter meetings today is that former big-league pitcher Jim Deshaies has been hired as Bob Brenly's replacement as analyst on Cubs TV broadcasts. WGN-TV issued a terse "no comment" on the reports, but both CBSSports.com and the Houston Astros' web site have reported that the deal is done.
The Astros' site said the deal is four years for Deshaies, who previously worked on that team's broadcasts. Deshaies, 52, pitched in the major leagues from 1984-95 with the Yankees, Astros, Padres, Twins, Giants and Phillies. He pitched for the Astros from 1985-91.
Deshaies will join play-by-play man Len Kasper, and insiders say Kasper has been a backer of Deshaies all along. Brenly left to take a similar job with the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom he managed to a World Series title in 2001. Brenly was known for sharp analysis and a blunt style. He was not afraid to criticize the Cubs with brutal honesty.
Deshaies is a knowledgeable and witty broadcaster, and the early thinking here is that Cubs fans will like him.
In other news coming out of Nashville, former Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank was honored by his peers as traveling secretary of the year. The Cubs fired Bank at the end of the season after he had been with the club since October 1992.