Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tom Ricketts is the Cubs new General Manager.

I haven’t written here in a while, but this thought just came across my head…

Tom Ricketts IS the Cubs new GM.

Either that or he has already selected a new GM and is waiting a month before telling everyone (just like he waited a month before he told us that Jim Hendry was fired).

Those are the only two logical reasons for Tom Ricketts to extend the contract of Oneri Fleita. They would also be the only reasons for them to execute the contract extension for Tim Wilken, which sounds like will happen in the near future.

Tom Ricketts either has been given the blessing of the “new” GM to go ahead and keep these guys or Ricketts has decided to just do the GM job himself.

Fleita is the VP of player personnel…and while the job title will technically be on par with the new GM (who will likely have the title of VP of Baseball Operations), Fleita’s position is one that the new GM should have the opportunity to fill with his only guy. The same thing with Tim Wilken. While both of these guys may be perceived as really good at their jobs, it is possible, if the Cubs have yet to have chosen a new GM, that Fleita and Wilken may not match up very well the overall philosophy of the new GM.

The Cubs want an experienced man to run the team. Unless that man is Pat Gillick (and hopefully it isn’t), that man is likely going to bring a bunch of guys with him to fill key roles in the organization. The jobs that Fleita and Wilken have, director of player personnel and scouting director, are jobs that should, by definition, report to the general manager.

So I, like many people, have been left scratching my head over what is happening right now.

The Cubs GM job is very attractive, but it is also very difficult. Managing the Cubs requires the input of many other factors that most of the other teams don’t have including the aging stadium, day baseball, the insane fan base, and the incompetent media. Having men in key positions who report to the GM who weren’t specifically hired by that GM will make it even more difficult.

Again, I still have to scratch my head about this? Why do this now? Are the Cubs really that afraid of losing either or both of these guys? A lot of the experienced rumored candidates out there, including Brain Cashman, Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, and Theo Epstein, all have had success without Fleita and Wilken. Having these positions already filled before the new GM is hired could make the Cubs GM job less attractive…especially if the Cubs attempt to take one of these experienced GMs from their current team.

All that said, it’s entirely possible that the Cubs are just taking a chance here and that they are willing to eat the salaries of Fleita and Wilken if the new GM decides to go in a different direction. Neither of these guys makes player type of money. If the Cubs are willing to each most of the remaining contracts for Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano, the contracts for Fleita and Wilken are only the price of a couple of Wrigley Field beers in comparison.

But for now, I’m just going to assume that the Cubs have chosen a new GM and that new GM is Tom Ricketts.