I look at the Arizona Diamondbacks this year and think ‘why not the Cubs?’
After two straight seasons of finishing last in the NL West, the organization made swift changes in 2010 firing manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes in favor of a gritty Kirk Gibson and savvy GM Kevin Towers.
The cost of doing such business was extremely high: both Hinch and Byrnes were under multi-year contracts. But the turn-a-round, again notably expensive, has quickly paid dividends in 2011.
Perhaps most importantly was the revamping of the Snakes coaching staff. Gibson surrounded himself with former All Stars and well respected baseball minds.
Former Cubs coach, Alan Trammell, joined as Gibson’s bench coach. Don Baylor the hitting coach. Charles Nagy the pitching coach. Eric Young and Matt Williams man the baselines.
No question the coaching has strongly contributed to the D-Backs surge atop the NL West where they currently lead the Giants by 2.5 games.
Their 69 wins already surpass last season’s mark of 65. And wouldn’t you know, attendance at Chase Field is on the rise.
So why couldn’t the same formula work in Wrigleyville?
Ditching Mike Quade and Jim Hendry wouldn’t come at the expense it cost Arizona to make management changes.
A Hall of Famer like Ryno could lure the experience and expertise of some of baseball’s best coaches. Add a GM the likes of Pat Gillick and the Cubs could win again—and soon–packing Wrigley Field from the bleachers to the rooftops.
This offseason presents a perfect opportunity for Tom Ricketts to make his first bold move as owner of the Cubs.
Following Arizona’s lead would send the Cubs organization and its fans a clear message that enough-is-enough, losing is no longer tolerable on the North Side.
If the D-Backs can do it, so can the Cubs. Right?