Changing of the Guard

For the first time since 1995, the organization no longer employs Jim Hendry. Hendry, who served as the Cubs GM since 2002 was fired prior to the trade deadline and the move was announced shortly after. That brought speculation over a host of high profile names that were considered as potential replacements. Names like Billy Beane, Brian Cashman, Andrew Friedman and Theo Epstein were rumored. In the end, the Cubs settled on Padres GM, Jed Hoyer to fill the roll left by Hendry with Theo coming on board to oversee baseball operations. For the Cubs, it marks a shift in philosophy as the team has never really embraced the use of statistical analysis when evaluating players and talent. Theo and his team went right to work on changing that, signing a partnership with Bloomberg Sports to design a state-of-the-art player evaluation system for the Baseball Operations Department.

With Epstein, Hoyer, and new director of scouting and player development Jason McLeod, the Cubs have invested heavily in the brain trust that helped bring two World Series titles to Boston.  In their introductory press conferences, each of them stressed the need for top-to-bottom reevaluation of the organization–each gave their own variation on the theme that they’re here to win, but also to build a perennial contender.  They emphasized the need for depth throughout the farm system, drafting well, and consistent prospect development.  They’ve also instituted “The Cubs Way,” an all-purpose guide that establishes the team’s standards for all things baseball-related.  (Apparently it goes into detailed specifics, right down to which foot should hit which portion of the bag as a player rounds second base.)

The first step in their team-wide makeover was a coaching shakeup.  Mike Quade was fired, and replaced with Brewers’ hitting coach (and former Red Sox coach) Dale Sveum.  Long thought to be a favorite of Epstein and Hoyer, Sveum shares their emphasis on fundamentals and statistical analysis.  He raided some of the NL Central’s coaching staffs to round out his own, bringing in Dave McKay (Cardinals) to coach first base, Jamie Quirk (Astros) as his bench coach, and Chris Bosio (Brewers) as pitching coach.

There are some fans who feel that this regime comes with too much hype and that upon closer look, Epstein left behind a string of horrible contracts in Boston. But the fact remains that he comes to town with two World Series rings on his hand and that speaks volumes to an organization with a bit of a drought in the winning department.

Out with the Old

  • RP – John Grabow – (Dodgers – Free Agency)
  • 1B – Carlos Pena – (Rays – Free Agency) – ****Compensation Pick Received****
  • SP – Ramon Ortiz – (Giants – Free Agency)
  • 3B – Aramis Ramirez – (Brewers – Free Agency) – ****Compensation Pick Received****
  • 3B – DJ LeMahieu – (Rockies – Trade)
  • OF – Tyler Colvin – (Rockies – Trade)
  • C – Koyie Hill – (Cardinals – Free Agency)
  • RP – Sean Marshall – (Reds – Trade)
  • SP – Carlos Zambran0 – (Marlins – Trade)
  • RP – Andrew Cashner – (Padres – Trade)

In with the New

  • OF – David DeJesus – (Free Agency)
  • 3B – Ian Stewart – (Trade)
  • OF – Joe Mather – (Free Agency)
  • SP – Travis Wood – (Trade)
  • OF – Dave Sappelt – (Trade)
  • RP – Manny Corpas – (Free Agency)
  • RP – Andy Sonnanstine (Free Agency)
  • SP – Chris Volstad – (Trade)
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo – (Trade)
  • SP – Paul Maholm – (Free Agency)
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail