SBD/August 22, 2011/Franchises

Ricketts Plans To Find Next Cubs GM From Outside The Organization

Ricketts wants new GM to report directly to him, not a team president
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts on Friday said that he "plans to go outside the organization to find" a new GM after parting ways with Jim Hendry after nine years, according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cubs Assistant GM Randy Bush "took over as interim GM, but has no shot at retaining the job." Ricketts noted that the franchise has a "need for a GM with a 'stronger analytical background,' as opposed to the old-school, trust-your-scouts philosophy Hendry espoused." He added, "Someone who has been in a winning culture, and can bring some of the lessons of that over and has a track record of success. But I think we need to keep that in perspective. The sabermetrics stuff is important, but it's just a piece. We're not running a baseball organization by a computer model." Sullivan noted Hendry "was informed of Ricketts' decision July 22, but remained on the job through the July 31 trading deadline and draft pick signing deadline" last week. During Friday's press conference to announce the move, Ricketts "absolved President Crane Kenney of any blame for the team's failures, saying Kenney was only responsible for the business side of the organization" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/20). Ricketts on Friday said, "The search for a new general manager effectively begins today. I will be reaching out over the next few days to industry veterans and people who have been through this situation before to get their thoughts and opinions on what I should be doing and what I should be looking for." He added, "I don't have a timeline for that. There's no date set. We'll just play the cards we're dealt in terms of timing and get someone in as fast as we can." Ricketts noted that the new GM "will report directly to him, meaning the team will likely not bring in someone else at the level of team president" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 8/19).

HEADED TO THE IVY LEAGUE? In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti noted the Cubs' organizational meetings are "held in October, a likely target for filling the job, but free-agent movement happens a week after the conclusion of the World Series." Ricketts stressed that his family "wants the organization to develop a single-minded approach from the minor leagues up to the big-league team and will look for someone with experience." But he "didn’t rule out considering a young assistant GM" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/20). Also in Chicago, Dave van Dyck cited sources as saying that Ricketts "privately was feeling out the postseason availability of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman sometime around the All-Star break." A source indicated that an MLB official "talked Rickets out of jettisoning Hendry completely at that time." Van Dyck noted Ricketts "believes one of baseball's most highly coveted franchises deserves one of baseball's most successful general managers" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/21). Cashman on Friday "shot down any connection between himself and the Cubs' GM job." He said, "I have a job and I've been proud to be associated with this franchise. I'm not looking to remove myself from this franchise." In N.Y., Feinsand & Madden reported Padres Senior VP/Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes is "believed to be" a candidate for the Cubs job, and there "has also been speculation" that White Sox Assistant GM Rick Hahn is a possibility (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/20). ESPN CHICAGO's Jon Greenberg lists MLB's Kim Ng, Rays Exec VP Andrew Friedman and Hahn as possible candidates (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 8/19). In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote Red Sox Assistant GM Ben Cherington "would seem to be a top choice for the Cubs job." Ricketts is "looking for an analytical, young executive who has a résumé with a successful organization," and that "seems to describe Cherington perfectly" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/21).

TIME WAS RIGHT FOR CHANGE: Hendry at Friday's press conference was "emotional in his last official capacity, choking back tears at times as he spoke of his love for the organization." He said, "I don’t leave here with any problems. Tom Ricketts is a good man. We just didn’t win enough ball games. That’s the bottom line. This is professional baseball. He did what he had to and treated me great the last two years" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/20). Hendry on Saturday acknowledged that the turnover in Cubs ownership in '09 "was disruptive to carrying out his plans, but refused to use it as an excuse for his failure to win a championship." Hendry: "It was a little difficult, but at the end of the day you've still got to find a way to win more games than we did the last year. And certainly that's not Tom Ricketts' fault. I wish Tom would have owned the club two or three years earlier. I think we'd be in a lot more successful state now and I think moving forward it's going to be in good hands" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 8/20). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff wrote Ricketts "made the right move" in parting ways with Hendry (NEWSDAY, 8/21). ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wrote under the header, "It Was Time For Jim Hendry To Go" (ESPN.com, 8/19). But in Illinois, Mike Imrem wrote under the header, "Cubs Owner May Be In Over His Head" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 8/21).
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