Rozner: Ugly offseason Cubs getting worse by the day

  • Cubs President Jed Hoyer has a strong track record when it comes to making baseball operations decisions.

    Cubs President Jed Hoyer has a strong track record when it comes to making baseball operations decisions. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/12/2021 3:09 PM

The wind chills are not all that's bitter around these parts right now.

Cubs fans are pretty upset about the way in which the program has disintegrated over the last few months, having gone from what looked like a wide-open window just a year ago, to the door slamming in their faces.

 

So much of the 2016 core is gone or on the way out, many players having underperformed or been injured -- or both -- and several of them having foolishly failed to sign contract extensions when money was plentiful and ownership in a generous mood.

Good luck on the open market as MLB heads for a CBA showdown and inevitable shutdown after the 2021 season.

Meanwhile, this season could get ugly for the North Siders, who are making little attempt to compete. It's a rebuild that's not quite in teardown mode yet, though that remains a possibility.

This was not part of the plan, but then no one expected the entire group to go to pieces all at once. With diminished value, it was impossible for the Cubs to move once-valuable players for the pieces they needed to fill holes and keep the program rolling.

Best laid plans and all.

And now with Theo Epstein gone, it's starting to get a 2011 feel all over again, business operations boss Crane Kenney back out front, as was the case when John McDonough sprinted for greener grass and Jim Hendry went from a pretty successful GM to a mess overnight.

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Probably just coincidence.

There was constant talk of meddling, ego and conflict. Of course, once Epstein arrived, that was nipped in the bud. There was a clear separation of church and state.

But now you have Kenney on the flagship Friday morning talking about his involvement in baseball operations, with The Score account tweeting, "Crane Kenney indicates Cubs will add more pitching before/early in spring training, as he talks to Jed Hoyer every day."

According to the tweet, Kenney said, "There's room to add more pitching. ... We understand pitching is a place we need to spend a little more time and money."

Well, it's comforting to all Cubs fans to know that Kenney is deep into baseball operations again, if all Kenney says is properly represented.

It's more likely that Hoyer humors him and that Kenney has little to do with anything baseball related, much as Kenney would like to take credit for baseball matters, including winning the World Series and discovering Theo Epstein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The baseball side, not so quietly, giggled at such nonsense during the best of the last decade, as those who had nothing to do with the title tried to grab as much credit and attention as possible.

At a time when Cubs fans are thoroughly disgusted, it's just a bad look for business operations to be in the middle of baseball business.

It's a topic that got me called into the principal's office more than once when I worked in radio, and a subject over which I refused to compromise simply because it's the flagship.

Of course, Jerry Seinfeld might retort, "Artistic integrity? You're not artistic and you have no integrity."

Nevertheless, if this was Ted Phillips openly admitting he was compiling a list of coaches or GMs -- something he has done, by the way -- Bears Twitter would be melting down in full outrage.

Fans would be screaming, as they have for two decades, that an accountant should not be involved in football operations -- and they would be correct. It would be just as laughable, dangerous and destructive if this were occurring within a baseball front office.

Maybe Cubs Twitter has given up, or maybe it understands this is just Kenney being Kenney and that he's not actually compiling lists of free-agent pitchers, being puffy-chested out of habit.

It's pretty hard to imagine Hoyer wanting help from outside his baseball operation to fill up a rotation or a bullpen.

Still, this is a bad look for the Cubs. And generally speaking, that is all too common these days.

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