Looking forward into 2007
Let’s forget discussing tonight’s game against the Marlins, there’s nothing to discuss. We were outclassed by a team that had a fire sale in 2005 and we were beat by a guy WE TRADED. But boy do they have a future! We all know what the problem is – our leadership needs to be replaced and some of the players do too.
My question to the readership of VFB is this: Supposing Andy MacFail was fired tomorrow and you were selected to take his job. What would you do about about the rest of 2006 and what would you do going into 2007? I will offer my specific solution after this has been discussed by the readership as an update. Some of my fellow writers may also wish to make updates; remember, you are the president, you have the $105M budget and you call the shots. The Trib will back you up if you stay inside your budget and offer concrete solutions.
If I were appointed to do MacFail’s job I would spring into action the very first day. I would first call Jim Hendry into my office and make him the Cub’s head scout for Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. I would set his expectations that he could plan on being on the road on specific game assignments four days per week. If he offered his resignation *without pay* I would accept it. Then I would name Onieri Fleita as acting GM until such a time as Dallas Green could take over. I would then fire Dusty Baker, Larry Rothschild and Gene Clines and appoint Mike Quade as acting manager and Dick Pole as acting pitching coach. Quade would be free to hire his own bench coach and I’d encourage him to hire a ra-ra kind of guy. I would hold an immediate team meeting and set clear expectations for the team insofar as immediate specific performance improvements. If the Cubs didn’t show improvement by the All Star break I would trade every player that I didn’t plan on having back next year.
Insofar as 2007 I would hire a new manager and GM to one year contracts. Pay would be tied to individual performance metrics that would make them anywhere from the worst-paid to the best-paid depending upon their performance. I would not be interested in any candidate that did not want a performance-based salary, nor would I be interested in any candidate who insisted on a multiyear contract. The GM would be expected to have a starting rotation composed of Zambrano, Maddux, Marshall and two new top free agents. I would not want a relaxed clubhouse, rather I would expect my players to be like Siberian Huskies straining at the leash. The Cubs need to get out of their comfort zone and get into their stretch zone. It can be done if the leadership makes it happen.