Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to Cubbieland, Theo Epstein!

Andy MacPhail built two World Series winners in Minnesota, came to Chicago as the Cubbieland Savior and oversaw an absolute trainwreck before he was run out of town.

Jim Hendry was lauded for rebuilding the Cubs' minor-league system and then, when he succeeded MacPhail as GM, for pulling off remarkable deals. However, few top prospects amounted to anything, he banked too heavily on the likes of Milton Bradley, Aaron Miles and Carlos Zambrano, and he's now an ex-GM.

Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker, Don Baylor and Jim Riggleman were widely regarded as the best available managers at the time the Cubs hired them. That was especially true for Piniella and Baker, men with big personalities who had been big winners at previous stops. In short order, all four were sent packing -- not as Cubbieland Saviors but as miserable losers.

Rudy Jaramillo, often called the best hitting coach in the world, arrived in Cubbieland before the 2010 season. He has been a big part of two horrendous campaigns, and many of the hitters under his tutelage have regressed. Meanwhile, the Texas organization he left behind has become a juggernaut in his absence.

And all that happened only during my 16 years covering the Cubs.

For more than a century, Cubbieland Saviors have arrived with brilliant credentials and sterling reputations. And they have left with the baseball equivalent of toe tags.

OK, Theo Epstein ... you've got next.


  1. Hendry banked heavily on Aaron Miles?

  2. Fair enough ... "banked too heavily" might have been an overstatement. I didn't need to exaggerate to make my case, so I shouldn't have done it. I guess I'll have to accept a pay cut for this piece.

    Hendry got Miles so he could justify dumping DeRosa, all part of freeing enough money so he could pay $30 million for Bradley (outbidding himself in the process).

    In retrospect, I probably should have left Hendry out of this completely, as he certainly didn't have the kind of reputation the others had. Baseball insiders did consider him an outstanding minor-league/personnel/scouting guy, though.