Change! That Is All I Ask For


There is no hiding the fact that the Cubs have been bad this season. Check that. The Cubs have been historically bad this season. The last time the Cubs were this bad, they were on the verge of an extreme makeover after the 2006 season. The Cubs replaced manager Dusty Baker with Lou Piniella, and went on a spending spree that landed them Alfonso Soriano. That experiment worked for the 2007 and 2008 seasons as the Cubs won their division in each of those seasons. However, the flaw was that they were swept out of the post-season in each of those respective seasons. In fact, game four of the National League Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 was the last playoff game the Cubs have been in. Going against the statement general manager Jim Hendry made after the 2006 season saying the Cubs “were going to get good, and stay good.” Last time I checked, being on pace to lose 97 games this season is not good.

Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald reports that changes could be on the way for an historically bad Cubs team. As I alluded to in the opening, the last time the Cubs were this bad was in 2006. Miles notes that Hendry began researching potential replacements for then manager Dusty Baker during the second half of the season, and Andy Mc–Clown–Phail was a lame duck as the team president. The Cubs front office may be in store for the similar renovations this off-season, though, this time the general manager post might be included in the changes.

So with that said, lets break this down and look at each of the three positions in question.

The move that should be made regardless of how the Cubs finish season, is hiring a new team president. Chairman Tom Ricketts has been incredibly loyal to Crane Kenney, but the time has come for Ricketts to separate himself from the old regime. From a business perspective, Kenney is a brilliant man to have in an organizations. Kenney is one of the main reasons why the Cubs are in the process of building a first-class Spring Training facility in Arizona. In addition, Kenney is one of the main reasons why the Cubs are remaining in Arizona for Spring Training instead of Florida. But, the team president also has to have some sense of baseball operations. That trait has been absent from Kenney. The Cubs would be wise to hire a baseball-savvy team president, and then put him in the position to re-tool the Cubs front office.

If the Cubs hire a new team president, which they probably will this off-season, then Hendry’s time as general manager may be coming to an end. But that does not mean a change would happen this winter, the new president may observe Hendry at work for one season before making any judgements. But there also is the likely chance that Ricketts will have the final say in Hendry’s fate. If Ricketts is the one to fire Hendry, then the new general manager would likely come as part of a package with the new team president. Some names that have been already linked to the Cubs general manager position are Brian Cashman, Billy Beane, Josh Byrnes, Andrew Friedman, and Rick Hahn. There have been reports that there have been back-channel discussions between the Ricketts’ camp and Byrnes’ camp regarding a possible position in the Cubs front office. It is beginning to look like Cashman is in his last season as the Yankees general manager, and could be in line to join the Cubs organization. If it were up to me, the Cubs general manager search would start and end with Cashman.

That would leave the manager’s spot, which is currently filled by Mike Quade. Do I really need to say why the Cubs should hire a new manager, or is it safe to say that the entire first half was reason enough. Don’t get me wrong, Mike Quade is a good-guy and has tons of knowledge about the game of baseball. However, that does not make him a good manager. With the exception of Ryne Sandberg, there have been no other known candidates for the Cubs managerial position if it were to be vacated after the season. It is likely that the new manager would have some type of connection to the new general manager or new team president.

To quote a popular Tupac song, “We gotta start makin’ changes.”