Updated 1:04 PM
The Cubs are making sweeping changes to their front office. According to Paul Sullivan, the Cubs have also re-assigned Ari Kaplan from Manager of Statistical Analysis to a consulting position and have eliminated Chuck Wasserstrom's position, which was Manager of Baseball Information. They are also looking to find a new position for Scott Nelson, formerly the director of player operations, according to Toni Ginetti.
The Cubs have made a huge statement in the past few days about what works and what doesn't work in their front office. They valued Tim Wilken enough to promote him, but the much-respected Oneri Fleita was not getting the job done. He is on his way out, according to Bruce Miles.
Fleita's official title was Vice President, Player Personnel.
Translation: The scouting was good...the player development? Not so much.
Fleita was signed to an extension before the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, as Tom Ricketts was afraid to lose him to the Detroit Tigers, who reportedly were considering hiring him in a higher capacity.
This one was a stunner. The Cubs have done a good job recently in Latin America, but Fleita also led player development, an area where the Cubs have been really struggling for as long as Cubs fans can remember. The Cubs have always drafted good talent, but they have almost always been ill-prepared for the major leagues. One has to wonder if the recent struggles of Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, and Brett Jackson had something to do with this.
With an influx of brand new top tier talent to the system, the Cubs really can't afford not to have a guy they don't feel is best for their proper development.
We'll have more as it becomes available but with the Cubs expected to become increasingly reliant on their farm system, whomever the Cubs decide to hire here will be among the biggest decisions they make this offseason.
One name to look for is David Finley, who is the Red Sox Director of Player Personnel. The Cubs had shown some interest in bringing him over when Theo Epstein was hired. Also, Allard Baird currently holds the same VP of Player Personnel position with the Red Sox that Fleita did here with the Cubs but I view the Cubs as more likely to bring Finley over with the lure of a promotion.
The Cubs will miss the inroads Fleita has made in Latin America, particularly with the Dominican complex, but that has increasingly been turned over to Jose Serra, who has been one of the most respected scouts in the game. He holds the current title of Director of Latin American Scouting, so I expect his responsibilities to increase there.