Whenever a general manager/front office of a professional sports team fires a good coach, or in baseball manager, I am suspicious of the true motivations behind the decision. I tend to think such decisions are often deflections of attention away from the front office. Today the Chicago Cubs dismissed David Ross and hired Gregg Counsell and many will note similarities in this decision with how they dismissed Ricky Renteria in 2014 to hire Joe Maddon who unexpectedly become available. I personally do not think the two situations are the same.
Renteria had been on the job for only one year, had not really proven himself as a manager, and did not have any history with the Cubs. Ross is one of the heros of the 2016 world championship team and had taken the Cubs to the playoffs as a manager. Counsell is a good manager and had taken the Brewers to the playoffs five of his six seasons with them, but did not have success in the playoffs. I do not think Counsell is as good a manager today as Joe Maddon was in 2014.
More important, David Ross was not the reason why the Cubs did not make the playoffs this season. The Cubs did not make the playoffs because of a depleted bullpen and in my opinion bad offseason acquisitions that were eventually released during the season, and those decisions were made by the general manager and president of baseball operations.
Ricketts might have bought Hoyer’s argument that jumping on the opportunity to get Counsell is similar to when Epstein jumped on the opportunity to get Maddon, but if Ricketts really wants to address the root cause for why Cubs did not meet expectations this season he ought to be questioning the decisions made by Hoyer and hold him accountable. If the Cubs have decided to completely move on from 2016 that means moving on from Jed Hoyer. In my opinion, the Cubs released the wrong person from their team.
Oh, and by the way, if the Cubs make this move of stabbing one of their own in the back, they darn well better be aggressive at signing free agents during the off season.