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Cubs Shake Up Front Office

The Cubs once constructed the best farm system in the game, which helped set the foundation for a World Series team. But after struggling for years to develop homegrown pitchers—and missing the playoffs for the first time in five years—now club officials are considering the best ways to build scouting and player development from scratch.

To start, the Cubs have now filled two newly created positions with director of pitching Craig Breslow and director of hitting Justin Stone. Breslow—who earned a Yale degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and a 2013 World Series ring with the Red Sox—joined the organization last January after a 12-year big league career.

Stone—who has served as a biokinematic hitting consultant for the Cubs since 2018—ran the Elite Baseball Training facility on Chicago’s North Side.

Both directors are expected to staff up with more data-savvy coaches, while the Cubs are looking externally for a new head of their amateur scouting department.

Cutting ties with Joe Maddon and hiring David Ross as the 55th manager in franchise history is just the beginning of the organization-wide changes.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein admitted the 2016 championship hangover was real. The Cubs were slower to fully embrace the possibilities of new technology, too loyal to certain philosophies, at a time when they were cashing in their trade chips and no longer drafting near the top of the first round.

Jason McLeod, the longtime head of scouting and player development, is now a senior vice president of player personnel focusing on the major league club. Matt Dorey, scouting director for the last six years, is now the senior director of player development.

Jaron Madison, farm director for the last six years, is now a special assistant who will concentrate on scouting amateur talent, professional players and the international market.

Bobby Basham, a former minor league pitcher with a Northwestern MBA, is now the director of player development. Jeremy Farrell, a staffer the Cubs have fast-tracked in their minor league system, is now the assistant director of baseball development.

"Just the process of making clear exactly what we were going to prioritize and build our player development department around has brought great purpose from a lot of people in the organization,” Epstein said. "It’s off to a really good start. We have a lot of dynamic thinkers who will continue to push this thing forward and find breakthroughs for us.”

Joe Maddon Billmitchell

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