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Paul Sullivan: Jed Hoyer has an unenviable task to fill Theo Epstein's shoes without Cubs' usual resources

By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO — When introduced as Chicago Cubs president 14 years ago at Wrigley Field, John McDonough said his "singular" goal was to win the World Series.

"Not win the wild card or win the division or win the pennant," he said. "It's time to win. It's time to win the World Series. It's time to reward these tens of millions of fans who have waited for a long time."

In case he hadn't made himself perfectly clear, McDonough repeated his mantra eight more times during his 11-minute news conference, quickly separating himself from the corporate-speak philosophizing of predecessor Andy MacPhail.

Despite an offseason spending spree that brought in Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Mark DeRosa and others, the Cubs fell short of that goal in 2007 and were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series. With Tribune Co. putting up the team for sale that April, McDonough resigned after the season to become president of the Chicago Blackhawks, where he oversaw three Stanley Cup titles before his ouster this past spring.

Jed Hoyer never mentioned winning the World Series during his introductory teleconference Monday as Cubs president, and for good reason — no one would've believed him.

"The truth is, given the service time realities that I mentioned, that eye might be a little bit more focused on the future than usual," he said. "But that doesn't take away from the goal ... and the goal is always to make the playoffs and give this organization a chance to go deep in October."

 

The audacity of nope.

That's what the Cubs are selling, and Hoyer has the unenviable task of following in Theo Epstein's footsteps without the requisite wheelbarrow full of cash to bring the organization another championship.

Everyone knows by now the Cubs will be undergoing significant roster changes this winter after three years without a playoff win and an offense so inept, it almost makes the Bears offense look semi-respectable.

Epstein, Hoyer's mentor, friend and fellow curse-breaker, greased the skids for the new reality during his post-playoff autopsy in October, then jumped ship last week so Hoyer could make all the difficult decisions without Epstein looking over his shoulder.

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