So where do the Cubs go from here in hiring a new general manager?
First of all, they go outside the organization.
Team chairman Tom Ricketts announced the firing of Jim Hendry as GM Friday, naming Hendry's assistant, Randy Bush, as interim GM.
Ricketts made it clear that Bush would not be a candidate for the permanent job as the Cubs will turn to someone outside the organization to head their baseball operations.
"As we talk to new potential general managers, our focus will be on what we focused on here the last couple years, and that's player development," Ricketts said. "We very strongly feel that the way to build consistent success in an organization is through identifying talented young players, bringing them into the system and developing them into being productive payers at the major league level.
"The new general manager will report directly to me. It will be my job, as it has been since Day 1 and my No. 1 priority, that I give that general manager freedom to operate and all the support to bring a championship to Chicago."
Ricketts said the process would remain "private" and that the Cubs would not be giving updates to the media.
Speculation already has started on possible successors to Hendry. Rick Hahn, assistant to White Sox GM Kenny Williams across town, seems ready to move up, and he interviewed for the New York Mets job when it was open. Hahn also has interviewed in the past with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners.
Other names to watch are:
• Josh Byrnes, former GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks and currently an assistant vice president of baseball operations in San Diego;
• Ben Cherington, an assistant GM with the Boston Red Sox; and
• Andrew Friedman, the head of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.
If the Cubs want to make a bold statement, they could interview MLB executive Kim Ng, who would become the first female GM in the majors.
Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena, who came to Chicago from Tampa Bay last December as a free agent, is quite familiar with Friedman.
"Andrew's a great man," Pena said. "What he's been able to do in Tampa was really impressive."
The Cubs, under the Hendry administration, were often criticized for not relying more on the statistical science known as sabermetrics.
"When I look at the candidates, I see a couple of criteria," Ricketts said. "No. 1, is they have to show a commitment to player development, which is obviously a key to consistent success. I think we need to look for guys that have a little stronger analytical background than maybe some of the guys we have here, someone who has worked with some of the new tools. That would be a plus. And someone who's been in a winning culture and has a track record of success."