The Cubs need to hire a new GM as soon as possible. Theo Epstein is currently the leading candidate. (baseballrealitytour.com)
Now that my final grades are recorded and out of the way, it’s time to go through the Cubs To-Do List for the coming offseason.
1. Hire a GM as soon as possible
The Cubs have already formally requested to speak with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Also, the Tampa Bay Rays were recently knocked out of the playoffs and that opens up the possibility to interview Rays GM Andrew Friedman sooner than expected.
Billy Beane, Rick Hahn as well as Brian Cashman are “still in the running”, but the spotlight is on Epstein and Friedman respectively. Hiring a new GM is the most important thing the Cubs will do this offseason as the decision will affect the organization for years to come.
In a rebuilding stage, you need a guy who has an established reputation of success and someone who can mesh a “Moneyball” approach with baseball common sense.
My first choice would be Epstein, not because of his two championships, but because he already has a solidified reputation as an elite GM. He would bring an excellent method to the Cubs GM job.
After the Cubs hire a new GM, he needs to quickly….
2. Fire Mike Quade and interview Ryne Sandberg, Bob Brenly, and other reasonable candidates for the spot as Cubs manager
If Epstein miraculously comes to the Cubs, so might ex-Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Epstein and Francona already have a history together and would be able to expedite the player management process.
I feel like Ryne Sandberg was shafted last season when the Cubs chose Quade to be manager. They should give him another chance to interview. He may be rejected once again, but I feel like the Cubs organization owes him another chance.
My first choice for Cubs manager would be Bob Brenly. Soon, I will post my explanation as to why Bob Brenly needs to manage the Cubs, but for now I’ll give you this brief explanation. Brenly has made it no secret that he still has the itch to manage when he interviewed for the Brewers position in 2008 and for the Cubs position last year before removing his name from consideration. After listening to him in the broadcast booth for the past seven years or so, it’s clearly evident that he gets it. He understands the Cubs organization and just from his criticism, you can tell that he would be an excellent manager for the team.
In all honesty, the position should only be between Francona and Brenly. After a new manager is hired, the new GM needs to….
3. Acquire new players and consider moving Castro to a new position.
Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson, Carlos Zambrano, and Aramis Ramirez all could be (and most likely will be) gone at the start of the 2012 season. The new GM and new manager need to immediately address who is staying and who is going.
The Cubs will need to fill potential holes at first base, third base, center field, and in the rotation. Prince Fielder should be a main target to replace Pena at first base.
An additional point about player management/movement is considering Starlin Castro at another defensive position. Castro had 29 errors this past season and moving him to another position may make it easier to fit the puzzle pieces in the right place. Just a thought.
Once the old players are gone and the new players have arrived, it would be time to….
4. Build up the farm system
This will take time and fans will not see an immediate impact, however Tom Ricketts has spent $12 million on player development and it’s a good start. The strength of the Cubs farm system always seems to be more speculation and talk rather than performance and demonstration. Since the organization is rebuilding, it’s time for the farm system to start from scratch with the new GM managing the whole process.
After the farm system is addressed, the new manager can start the process to…..
5. Permanently bench Alfonso Soriano
I don’t care if he still has three years and about $50 million left on his contract. He’s a liability on offense and defense. This is the most unrealistic point on the to-do list, but it needs to happen. Soriano is just wasting space on the field. If the new GM and new manager were to execute this point, they would instantly gain a ton of respect from me and from other fans that are fed up with Soriano in a Cubs uniform.
When it is all said and done, the Cubs should have hired a new GM and a new manager. They should have acquired new players through free agency and within their farm system while permanently benching Alfonso Soriano.
Once the issues on the baseball side are taken care of, they can address the business side by starting to….
6. Develop plans for the Triangle Building and other projects.
In September, I talked about the importance of the Cubs also getting stronger on the business side by considering the plans for the Triangle Building. Marty Sandberg is involved with the plans and launched a website a while ago so fans could see what the project plans look like. Rebuilding should not be a term only reserved for issues on the field. It should apply to off-the-field issues as well. What better way to rebuild an organization than to literally build something?
Does anything need to be added to the list? Let me know in the comments section.