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Thoughts on the Fleita firing
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:02 PM
When Ricketts dumped Hendry his justification for doing so was he wanted to change the "culture" of the organization. There was a guy named Tischy who wrote an entire book about culture change. He defined corporate culture as, "The unwritten, norms, beliefs and values that define appropriate behavior."
I highlighted the word unwritten for this reason. In bringing about a culture change you would ask an old timer why they do something this or that way and the likely response is "That's the way we have always done it." Most often the method is not in some clearly defined policy manual; but rather it had evolved over time and that was just the behavior that was expected and considered appropriate.
When you look at a minor league system, the two components are finding the best possible talent, and then developing that talent into top level players. In my opinion it was quite clear just what was possible when folks look at the 1995 World Series Champion Braves. As I recall 15 of the 25 players on their World Series roster had come through the Braves farm system.
The draft is 50 rounds. On average each team will have two per draft make the major leagues, and one last long enough to qualify for the MLB pension plan. That makes the Braves results in 1995 spectacular to say the least.
When looking at Cubs history, the term player-development is an oxymoron, honestly it did not happen; particularly when you compare it to other small market teams who have turned it into a science. One of my often repeated pet peeves is how could a player with the size and speed of Tony Campana make it to the major leagues without being able to drag bunt consistently? That is a complete failure in the part of player development. Had he been brought up in the Braves organization, my guess is he would be a lot more like Juan Pierre.
Fleita and Hendry fit similar molds. Well respected in baseball, good knowledge of the game, and very likeable. At the same time, under their watch scouting and player development was terrible as compared to teams like Oakland and Tampa.
When I first read what Brett posted yesterday I felt badly for Fleita and I still do. At the same time, when I heard Ricketts say he needed to change the culture, for me the light bulb went on and I said of course, makes perfect sense. I look at the Fleita firing as a direct analogy.
The culture regarding player development has to change. We need someone in that capacity to shake things up in the same way Theo has when replacing Hendry. What a damn shame that Brett Jackson, on our major league roster, is learning how he must change his swing to survive. A good player development organization would fix that while he was in the minors.
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