Mooney/Sharma: Attention will be paid: Inside the Cubs’ detail-laden plan to get their edge back

From Patrick Mooney at Sahadev Sharma at The Athletic on March 25, 2019:

Maybe the Cubs just weren’t that good last season. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

But Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still wanted to know why.

What went wrong in the clubhouse? What did the players need to do differently going forward?

Almost immediately after the Cubs lost last year’s National League wild-card game, they began exit interviews that would force changes to Joe Maddon’s coaching staff and set the stage for a make-or-break 2019 season. Then Epstein, Hoyer and other front office executives hit the road for a listening tour, meeting with players like Jon Lester, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo on their home turf. The Cubs communicated in some form with just about everyone to discuss how they could make sure their contention window doesn’t shut on their collective fingers. 

The players who enjoyed all the perks from winning the 2016 World Series had to reevaluate their priorities while hard hats, not batting helmets, dominated Wrigley Field in October.

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Originally published: March 25, 2019. Last Updated: March 25, 2019.