When the news came down today about the Cubs dismissal of Oneri Fleita one of my first thoughts was “How Cubs is this”?
The only difference is the old Cubs way wouldn't have had the guts to correct the mistake this quickly.
The guy who was just given a 3-year extension prior to Theo Epstein’s arrival has now been fired. This announcement comes on the heels of Tim Wilken being kicked upstairs days beforehand. Special Assistant to the GM doesn’t exactly scream pivotal position in the organization does it?
You can speculate what kind of role Wilken will really have, but he isn’t going to be doing what he is supposed to be an expert at. The truth is they replaced both of these guys and it comes as no surprise to me.
I questioned at the time how Tom Ricketts could seemingly jump the gun when Detroit came sniffing around Fleita and give him an extension before a GM was in place.
The reality is neither move to retain either guy hurt the Cubs chances to land a guy like Epstein in the end. Though Epstein already had one foot out the door trying to escape Larry Lucchino and now Phil Rogers reports that Epstein only took the job with the promise he could fire Flieta if he so wished.
Rogers also makes some sense of all this with his sources telling us the Flieta extension was a Crane Kenney move. This all ties in since it was Kenney who had earlier promoted Flieta to keep him away from Baltimore.
It does seem to be somewhat of a personal embarrassment for Ricketts now to have neither of these guys in their positions less than a year later. It just proves you have to let generals like Epstein chose their own men to go to war with.
It is completely clear this is Theo’s show. Egos and money be damned.
Let’s give some serious credit to Ricketts for getting that and staying out of the way. Furthermore, Ricketts has done some serious eating of dough to give this organization the clear path it needs. These are costly moves, but moves that will hopefully pay off big in the end for the Ricketts family.
Epstein and Jed Hoyer were smart and patient enough to come in and survey the landscape before they started moving bodies around. This plan seems to be kicking into the next gear now. It was no secret that Jason McLeod would have full autonomy over the scouting department and he will soon have more of his own people working under him.
Today we got further away from the Hendry regime and we got even further into the Epstein era. You should see this front office and organization continue to evolve.
"We already have increased it,' he said. "Once we're finally set and we have the structure … in place, player development, scouting, front office … if you do an apples to apples of where we were, say last October, I think it'll certainly see an increase."
“This is an unfortunate part of the business. It is my responsibility to identify the structure that makes the most sense for the Cubs going forward and that comes with some difficult decisions." Says Epstein.
Some good people were let go today but it’s all about Theo and the gang’s vision now, a vision that won’t be clouded by ego or even cost.