From the Wire … Cubs Fire Oneri Fleita, Make Front Office Changes

The Cubs announced several changes to the front office prior to Wednesday’s game, the most notable was the firing of Oneri Fleita, the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel. Fleita joined the Cubs’ organization in 1995 and Crane Kenney promoted him to VP of Player Personnel in December of 2007. Tom Ricketts extended Fleita’s contract last September and gave him a new four year deal to keep him in the organization. According to Dave Kaplan, Fleita is owed around $900,000 ($300,000 per year) over the remainder of his contract.

Chuck Wasserstrom, the Cubs information manager, was relieved of his duties with the Cubs. Scott Nelson, Director of Baseball Operation, was offered a lesser role in the organization and stats manager Ari Kaplan will stay on with the organization as a consultant after his job was eliminated.

According to multiple reports, assistant general manager Randy Bush is in “good standing” with the organization moving forward and Jose Serra, the Cubs director of Latin American operations, is also expected to remain with the organization. Serra has three years remaining on his contract.

The Cubs front office continues to evolve with the latest round of changes. Tim Wilken was promoted last week and the Cubs hired Jaron Madison to take over as Director of Amateur Scouting. The Cubs front office will continue to grow, even with the cuts that were announced on Wednesday.

From the Tribune, “We already have increased it,’ Epstein said. “Once we’re finally set and we have the structure … in place, player development, scouting, front office … if you do an apples to apples of where we were, say last October, I think it’ll certainly see an increase.”

Theo Epstein said that he would consider internal and at least one external candidate to replace Oneri Fleita. Epstein told the media that he thanked Fleita for his service to the organization.

From the Tribune, “It’s my responsibility to determine (what’s) going to put the Cubs in the best position going forward,” Epstein said. “Ultimately we reached the conclusion there would be a change (in the position).”

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  • Ripsnorter1

    If you recall, Mr. Ricketts signed
    Oneri Fleita to this 4 year extension while not yet having hired a GM or, as it turned out, a President, Mr. Theo Epstein.

    He’s owed $900,000 for the three years remaining on the contract.

    He’s been the director of Player Personnel since 2007. No doubt he’s taking the fall for the empty minor league system, especially pitching prospects, as well as the poor performance of every single minor league affiliate in 2012. None of our minor league teams are above .500, and Iowa is struggling with a 46-78 record. That winning percentage of .371 is lower even than the parent club’s winning percentage of .397.

  • John_CC

    Rogers wrote an interesting column on the subject. “How does Crane Kenney survive?” I rarely agree with Phil, but he’s dead on with this one. Not that it takes a genius to see it.–20120816,0,1573686.column

    • Ripsnorter1

      Consider this logic from your post:

      1. Any person with average intelligence or better can see that Crane Kennedy is incompetent and needs to be fired.

      2. Theo Epstein cannot see that Crane Kennedy is incompetent and needs to be fired.

      3. Conclusion: Then Theo Epstein possesses less than average intelligence or better.

      • CubsFan66

        I thought Kenney was on the Business side of the business not Baseball. Which means Theo is not over him and can not fire him. That is the Ricketts decision.

      • Neil

        Theo Esptein is the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. Jed Hoyer reports to Theo Epstein as well as the rest of the baseball staff.

        Crane Kenney is the President of Business Operations for the Cubs.

        Both Epstein and Kenney report to Tom Ricketts.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s talk about trading Garza for prospects. That seems to be the thinking of people here at the CCO as well as Team Theo. And let’s forget about his season-ending injury as well. Let’s consider what a healthy Matt Garza might buy us on the market. And to make it even a little more real, let’s consider those teams that are rumored to be interested in Mr. Garza’s services: the Yanks, BoSox, Tigers, Texas.

    I’d like to propose this scenario: let’s take 2 #1 picks from each club to see what prospects would actually net us. To demonstrate this we’ll take the #1 picks from each team for two successive years, and see if the Cubs would be happy with trading Garza for 2 #1 picks.

    To see what we might have netted, let’s roll the clock backwards to 2005 and 2006, to see how those top picks and prospects actually fared at the ML level.

    This exercise will demonstrate to the readers that the ML draft, and highly rated prospects, are always a crap shoot. It is hard to draft a player that will ultimately make a successful career in the big show. And trading a proven commodity for prospects can be risky, or even, very risky.

    Yanks #1 picks for 2005 and 2006…..Carl Henry and Ian Kennedy

    Tigers….Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller
    TexasJohn Mayberry and Kasey Kiker
    BoSox (two #1 picks 2005/two #1 picks 2006)Jacob Ellsbury and Craig Hansen in 2005; John Place and
    Daniel Bard in 2006.
    (Since Boston had two picks each year, I’d say to make it fair that you have to take both picks from either 2005 or 2006).

    Question #1: would you be happy trading Garza for Tigers’ #1 picks Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller? Maybin is hitting .215 this year with 20 SB. I’d say Campana could do that and better. In fact, in 1/3 the ABs, Campana has stolen more bases, been caught fewer times, and is out hitting him for BA.
    Miller: 24-30 in 66 ML starts. Is a lousy starter with a career ERA of 6.00 as a starter. Currently he is in the BoSox bullpen.
    Would you make the trade? Answer: NO.

    Question #2: How about Garza to the Yanks for their #1 picks? Carl Henry, SS, hit .227 in 272 ML class A or lower games. Ian Kennedy…21-4 last year, but 19-20 4.15 in the rest of his Diamondback career.

    Would you make the trade? Possibly. It’s hard to see how the Cubs would be much improved at all. Kennedy is probably the better pitcher, but except for last year’s magic, just marginally so.

    Question #3: Garza to the Rangers for Mayberry and Kiker?Kiker can be seen playing in Rockford, IL in the Independent league. EL BUSTO. Never made it past AA. He had a 7.05 ERA in A ball in 2011…Mayberry: hitting .229 and slugging .382 in 2012, with OBP of .272. He walks less than Starlin Castro, only 16 BB this year.

    Answer: NO WAY JOSE!

    #4 Question: Garza to Bosox for Jacoby Ellsbury and Hansen? Hansen was a bust. Currently pitching in A- ball. He did make it to the bigs for awhile, toting an 6.34 career ERA. Ellsbury had a great year last year, and of course, would have been a nice addition to the Cubs.

    Answer: YES.

    Question #5: Garza to BoSOx for Bard and Place? Place was picked ahead of Bard, made it to AA and is out of baseball. Bard was a successful middle reliever that was converted to a starter this year, but not successfully so: 5-6…5.24 ERA and now injured.

    Make that trade? Answer: NO.

    Conclusion: If you made the trade, one trade out of the five would be a winner for the Cubs. One of the five would have been a toss up (Kennedy). And 3 trades of the 5 would have been sure losers.