SBD/August 16, 2012/Franchises

Cubs Continue To Shake-Up Front Office, Dismiss VP/Player Personnel Oneri Fleita

Fleita (l) was the latest change at the Cubs and had been with the team since '95
A "changing of the guard" under Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein continued yesterday, with the "highest-profile move"  being the dismissal of VP/Player Personnel Oneri Fleita, according to Toni Ginnetti of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The move came "days after a shuffle of the scouting and player development department that saw Jeron Madison hired from the San Diego Padres to become amateur scouting director." Fleita had "been with the Cubs since 1995 and was responsible for the acquisition and development of most of the team’s high-profile Latin American players." Also "let go was Chuck Wasserstrom, whose position as manager of baseball information was eliminated." He had "been with the Cubs some 25 years." Cubs Manager of Statistical Analysis Ari Kaplan "was let go as an employee but hired as a team consultant." Indications are that Baseball Operations Dir Scott Nelson "will be offered another position in the organization as well." Epstein "voiced support for assistant general manager Randy Bush, now the highest-ranking holdover of the Jim Hendry era." The firing of Fleita "came 10 months into Epstein’s tenure, with Epstein saying the timing had to do with the coming end of the minor-league seasons and the review period for minor-league players before the start of Arizona Fall League play." It also came "days after Madison was brought in and longtime amateur scouting director Tim Wilken was promoted to a special assistant." Fleita "was close to Hendry" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/16). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan notes Fleita, "a former protege of former GM Jim Hendry, was promoted to a VP position in 2007 and received a four-year extension from Chairman Tom Ricketts last September before the new regime was installed" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/16).

COLUMNIST: DID CUBS LET WRONG GUY GO? In Chicago, Phil Rogers writes, "Those are the guys who had to go? Come on, Tom Ricketts, you're smarter than this." You have been "speaking on a daily basis with the guy who has done more to hurt your organization than anybody." Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney "in more than a decade hasn't figured out a way to make the improvements that will unleash Wrigley's potential." Sullivan: "Someday I might meet someone who can explain how he's an asset to the organization." Everyone in baseball "knew a shake-up was coming at some point, as Epstein essentially retained Hendry's staff when he took over." The questions "left now are how widespread will the changes be an how many more staffers will Epstein add from Yawkey Way?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/16).
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