Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were clear about their intentions as soon as they took over the Cubs’ front office in the fall of 2011 and by spring training last year new manager Dale Sveum had joined the chorus: The Cubs were not “rebuilding.” They were “building.” A new direction. New organizational structure from the ground up. New culture. New business practices. New scouting and development emphases. New Cubs Way. And no timetable. Nearly two years later this second season of the process isn’t much easier to watch than the first — especially for those continuing to pay the third-highest ticket prices in the game. And it’s hard from here to see Year 3 being significantly different. But this much can be seen: It’s an expansion-like process the Cubs have undertaken from redefining nearly every baseball function in the operation to stripping the roster down to short-term journeymen while pinning competitive hopes on recent draft picks and A-ball players. And if that’s the closest historical model for what the Cubs are doing then prepare for a long road back to the playoffs — especially with ownership focusing more on stadium issues after slashing baseball spending to below pre-Ricketts levels. General manager Hoyer refutes the expansion notion. But scouting executive Tim Wilken and first-base coach Dave McKay both referenced the process at the end of last season recalling their experiences with the expansion Toronto Blue Jays more than 35 years ago when talking about the Cubs’ undertaking.
Cubs resembling expansion team, building ‘from the ground up’
Chicago Sun-Times | Aug 26