Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why does Crane Kenney have a job?

I'm not quite sure what the purpose of the Cubs having a team president is.  He doesn't own the team.  He doesn't make personnel decisions.  So what exactly does Crane Kenney do?  (Well, besides making completely stupid and insane statements.)

On Thursday, when Crane Kenney gave his "State of the Cubs" press conference thingy, and when asked about Lou Piniella's expiring contract and whether or not he'll stay on as manager after the 2010 season, Kenney responded with this:
"If he feels well and wants to keep going, we'll have an interesting conversation."

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

You don't want him back? Why would you put an almost "lame duck" tag on a manager right before the season starts?

If you ask Jim Hendry, the decision is up to Lou if he wants to come back.  If you ask our insect overloads, the decision is up to Lou if he wants to come back.  Then this jack-ass is asked and he says that they would need to discuss it.


Why would Kenney even be involved?  But lets say he is involved. The only interesting part, in a conversation like that, is what the number should be before the six zeros for a salary on his new contract.

Kenney inherited his job when John McDoughnah left the Cubs during the 2008 season.  He had been the executive overseer of the Cubs for the Tribune Company before that.  All he did was wear a nice suit and tie to Tribune Tower, and look at the financial numbers to make sure the Cubs helped keep the whole company out of bankruptcy for as long as they could.

So the Cubs were sold and they no longer had an owner that was a faceless corporation with a bunch of lackeys overseeing their last prized possession.  The Ricketts family took over.  They've been visible.  They've been hands on.  They appear to be intimately involved in much of the non-baseball operations of the team.  Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella are in charge of the on field operations

So, what does Crane Kenney do?  I was stunned that the Crickets kept the position of team president, especially knowing the likelihood that they would be as hands on as they are.  But they did decide to keep the position.  That's fine.  It's not a bad thing to have a person to take the heat for some of the decisions, as an advisor or something of the sort.  But why keep Kenney?  He's just a suit, a generic corporate executive.  Don't you want a baseball person in that position? Here are some of the other people around baseball who are team presidents: John Schuerholz, Walt Jocketty, Bill DeWitt, Andy McPhail, Larry Lucchino, David Dombrowski, Nolan Ryan, Paul Beeston...all people with extensive histories in baseball. Another 8 to 10 presidents are part of the ownership groups for their teams. A handful of teams don't even have team presidents.

Their are 4 principle owners with the Cubs...the four Ricketts kids. (I'm excluding the fact the Tribune still owns 5% of the team.) Tom is chairman of the board. So make Laura the president or something.

Kenney should have been removed as president the day he brought that orthodox priest to the park before the 2008 playoffs. And it didn't help his case as he would constantly trot buddies of his around the clubhouse during the 2009 season, as if he was a kid showing off a new toy.

The incident on Thursday just adds to the list.

This guy is lucky to have his job and I hope the Ricketts family really examines the executive structure of the team during this season. Kenney adds nothing to the franchise. Either eliminate the position or bring in a smart baseball person to run the day to day operations of the team. Don't keep this guy on as a spokesperson for the ownership group...because really, that's all he is right now, and he doesn't do a very good job of that.


Well, yesterday was a bit of an eye opener for me. A couple of observations that I made...

Tyler Colvin has been really impressive this spring...more so than any other player in camp. I'm not sure what the Cubs have planned for him in the future, but this kid isn't too far away from making a contribution to some team. The outfield is kinda clogged up right now. Soriano is signed through the next millennium. Byrd has a back weighted 3 year deal. Fukudome and Nady are around for a little yet.

If Colvin goes to Iowa this year and does what Fox did last year and Hoffpauir did two years ago, the Cubs will have to make some decisions.

It's really good to see...that's for sure.  It's been a while since the Cubs have had so many young (and by young, I mean under 25) position players that have sparked this much excitement and interest. 

The other observation?  Samardzija is better than he was, but he still appears to need some polishing if he is to make a positive contribution at the big league level. 

Gorzelanny pitched well yesterday, and may have taken the lead in the 5th starter sweepstakes. Spellcheck was rocked a bit by the Brewers yesterday. He gave up a 3 run shot to (who else...) Jim Edmonds. He gave up another homer right after that too.

The Brewers rocked the Cubs 12-3 yesterday in the first of the two games. Then last night the Cubs beat the Sox in Vegas 6-5. Neither games was hugely interesting.

Today, the Cubs play the Reds in Arizona at 2pm CT (or right now!) and an hour later, the Cubs meet the Sox again in Vegas. Marshall is starting against the Reds as he tries to stake claim to the 5th start slot. Ryan Dempster wills start against the Sox.

One last note: Starlin Castro was 0-3 yesterday. The Cubs should probably release the kid. He's no good. :)