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Cubs moving forward with new front office finally in place

“I want to create a culture of winning and inclusion. I also want us to be excellent decision-makers and excellent player-developers,” Jed Hoyer said Wednesday.

Now that the front office is set, the Cubs can fully focus on again being a contender.
Now that the front office is set, the Cubs can fully focus on again being a contender.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — It’s been nearly a year since Jed Hoyer took over for his predecessor Theo Epstein as Cubs president of baseball operations, and has started to make the team’s front office his own.

After years of stagnation in player development, specifically at the major-league level, the Cubs’ changes in their front office have been an attempt to resolve that as they build their next contending team.

Carter Hawkins, who was named general manager last month, has a background in player development from his time in Cleveland. The team also hired Ehsan Bokhari from the Astros to be the team’s newest assistant general manager.

Now that their front-office hirings have stabilized, Hoyer has expectations for how he wants to lead his new group.

“I think that it’s our job to create a culture for the organization,” Hoyer told the Sun-Times. “Like, that’s really important. So I want to create a culture of winning and inclusion. I also want us to be excellent decision-makers and excellent player-developers.

“When I think about what our job is in the simplest form, we need to make really good decisions, and we need to make players better.”

Hawkins still is getting adjusted to life with the Cubs as GM, but he has high hopes of putting his stamp on the organization. That impact won’t be felt overnight, but he knows the team’s desire to grow starts with making the front office a priority.

“Winning is the ultimate goal. But what are the attributes that are actually pushing towards that?” Hawkins said on Wednesday. “The Cubs are doing great work. They existed without me for a full year. Without a GM for a full year. So my hope is that I’m additive to the process and additive to getting towards that ultimate vision of bringing back champion baseball to Chicago.”

When you consider the Cubs’ hires over the last few months, including new hitting coach Greg Brown from the Rays, the desire to look outside of the organization for improvement is apparent.

The Cubs now will attempt to take their fresh ideas and combine them with their new resources. As they try to improve the roster this offseason, having perspectives from different organizations should help that process.

“I mentioned a little bit about bringing people together and bringing some of the resources together and thinking through some of the structures that can do that from some of my experiences,” Hawkins said. “Thinking about how to hire and develop people in a really effective way, sort of bringing people on currently, and will bring on people in the future.

“I think those are probably two areas that I would hope to look back a year from now and say, ‘Hey, I helped out in those two areas.’ But again, the guys and girls that were doing that beforehand are doing a pretty darn good job of it. So really, I’m here just to enhance a little bit of the BASF [TV-commercial slogan] — just not making your products, making your product better.”