Do the Cubs need a General Manager or a President?

Do the Cubs need a General Manager or a President?


October 5, 2011


“I’m just wondering if they’ll even give him permission, because Larry’s like that,” said former San Diego Padre Assistant General Manager Reggie Waller referring to Red Sox CEO, Larry Lucchino, who’s been asked by Tom Ricketts for permission to speak to  Theo Epstein about the vacant Cubs General Manager position.  “You don’t have to give him permission, he’s got another year on his contract,”said Waller who also served as the scouting director for the Padres in 1992 and 1993.

When asked whether the Cubs would be smarter to go after Lucchino rather than Epstein, particularly since, reportedly, Epstein is wanting a president title, Waller said, “I’ll tell you something, hmm, I’d say yes.  Larry’s not easy to get along with, I mean, he’s going to drive his own thing and he’s got probably an ownership stake in the Red Sox.  It depends upon what he wants to do. But you know Larry is also cocky enough to be one of those guys that
would want to go after that in Chicago just to see if he could make it happen.  Hey, who knows, you might see both of them.  He’s got a high opinion of himself.  He just thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and you know, really, deservingly so.”

Reggie Waller–whose brother Tye Waller, a former Cub and Director of Player Development in San Diego during the 1990’s and currently a bench coach with the Athletics–said, “I think if Theo had any sense he’d get out of there and get to Chicago so fast it would make his head swim.  If he won [in] Chicago he’d be a sure fire Hall of Famer, I mean, he’d go to the Hall of  Fame–are you kidding me?  He’d be able to do anything he

In today’s Chicago Tribune, blogger Steve Rosenbloom lamented that “Epstein was a start, but Cubs need more.”  He went on to say, “Thing is, if you’re going to raid the Red Sox then start with team President Larry Lucchino.” When asked who he most credited with the Red  Sox World Series successes in 2004 and 2007, Lucchino or Epstein, Rosenbloom responded, “They all get credit because it takes an organization.  People have to be put in the right jobs, andthen execute them.  But it starts with a baseball man running a baseball organization.”

Responding to the same question, who he’d credit more for the Red Sox successes in 2004 and 2007, Waller said, “I’d give it to Epstein.”  The former baseball executive went on to say, “I know that Larry [Lucchino] is very, very integrally involved in everything that goes on….he’s the one steering that boat.”  Asked whether he thought Lucchino left the Padres in shambles or actually helped the organization, Waller said, “He definitely helped the organization.”

Waller left the Padres at the end of the 1994 season to go to the Yankees organization but had later discussions with Lucchino about hiring Kevin Towers who he said, “good, bad or
indifferent, Kevin Towers has done a good job in terms of the major league club.”   He was also quick to point out that Lucchino had “increased revenue everywhere he’s been” and  was credited with vastly improving the appearance and ambiance of Fenway Park in addition to being the driving force behind building Camden Yards and Petco Park.

When asked if the Cubs should be looking for a GM or a President, Waller  said he wasn’t sure but said, “I’ll think about it.”





Leave a comment
  • it depends on what you think the Cubs need more: the guy that knows how to work a computer, build a farm system and has cred with other GMs, or the guy that will maximize revenue streams, get things done in Chicago and gut the organization and install a new attitude.

    I need a bit more time to think on this one. Seriously, if I can only have one, I need to think on it.

  • Thanks for the comment Rob! I'm not sure that Reggie Waller or I would agree that this has to be "the" trade-off. While I'm sure than anyone choosen will be a trade-off of sorts I'm not going to agree that this is where the demarcation point always would be.

    I think your comment really exposes Tom Ricketts in a way that few understand. Does he really see himself as President? I think that is likely a mistake at least at this point in his migration to baseball.

    Another point is that Theo Epstein want to be president. My opinion on that is that usually this means that he want less restriction or interference with his choices. This was something Waller and I talked about but didn't get into the piece. So much of the president's job is not baseball related. I question whether Theo has really honestly considered that?

    Excellent point you raise. Thank you.

Leave a comment