October 2, 2006

Bye Dusty

Dusty Baker is out as the Cubs manager. He insists he wasn't fired, just that his contract ran out. Whatever helps you sleep at night, buddy. He has, and continues to be, good at dealing with the people skills portion of his job. However, he has time and time again proven himself an incapable tactician. His affinity for washed up veterans, addiction to Neifi Perez, and disdain for basic fundamental concepts (he says walks clog the bases!) have cost his teams at least as many games as his soothing presence in the clubhouse has gained. Of course, it's not nearly all his fault that the big-market Cubs finished with the worst record in the National League, and the third worst in the bigs ahead of the helpless Royals and the young Devil Rays. The ownership and general manager have shown little willingness or ability to take their substantial payroll and put it to use in developing and retaining players of quality. Derek Lee and Carlos Zambrano are great, great players, but they can't do it alone. They should probably blow the whole thing up and start over, instituting some sort of organization-wide plan that starts with a drafting philosophy and carries throughout the far-flung minor league system right up through the major league level.

This way, they won't throw money at overpriced mediocrities or managers "who have been there before," and they can make decisions that reflect the plan. As a Chicagoland resident, I would rather see the Cubs lose for a few years while building up to something great than watch them stumble along the way they have and spend a bunch of money in the hopes of reaching .500. The team has the fan support and the financial wherewithal to implement a plan of home growth supplemented by wise free agent signings in the hopes of ending the 98 year and counting World Series drought. Keep Lee, Zambrano, and Prior, and focus on the 2009-2011 seasons as your goal for World Series domination.

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