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The Cubs Announce They Just Hired A Wiz Kid* From The University Of Illinois To Be The Assistant GM

note: 34 year old Wiz Kid*

NBC Sports Chicago - The Cubs announced Monday they've hired Astros executive Ehsan Bokhari as assistant general manager.

Bokhari, 38, joins the Cubs after three seasons in Houston's front office. Houston hired Bokhari as director of research and development in November 2018. He took over as senior director of player evaluation ahead of the 2020 season, and in 2021 was senior director of strategic decision making.

Prior to joining the Astros, Bokhari spent four seasons with the Dodgers as a senior analyst in Los Angeles' R&D department (2015-18).

I don't know a lot about what it takes to be the senior director of strategic decision making for the Houston Astros but I imagine you gotta be one smart dude. Needless to say that's a good thing for the Cubs which had slowly devolved to a front office of old friends and unimaginative roster construction. Now we look up about a week later and there's two fresh faces that give me some hope the Cubs are moving in the right direction. They're years away from realizing that truth but it certainly feels refreshing. 

A large part of that has to do with Ehsan Bokhari representing everything the Cubs have overlooked the last 6 years. He was a founding member of the Dodgers strategic analysis department. They built that shit up in the mid 2010's as a way to stay ahead of the ever growing baseball curve. The Dodgers bulked up the quantitative side of their front office to match every other high functioning aspect of their organization. While the Cubs were talking about doing things The Cubs Way and human capital and wholesome emotions, the Dodgers were building out a team of data analysts and researchers and all this crazy shit. Obviously we know how that's turned out for them: 

The Dodgers created a system that worked from the amateur draft and scouting levels all the way up to the big league roster. From grooming international signees to identifying lesser-seen talent to signing big name free agents to midseason blockbuster trades. The Dodgers have always had the players and depth and contract flexibility to compete at the top of baseball - something that largely hamstrung the Cubs as they progressed through the rebuild.

From there, Bokhari went to Houston to run their R&D department. He was 1 of 8 guys when he started with the Dodgers. It went so well that Houston built their own department and tabbed Bokhari to quarterback its progress. They just finished their 5th straight ALCS en route to their 3rd World Series over that time. I don't need to suck his dick for you guys to know he's pretty good at building strategies for MLB clubs. 

Now the Cubs get to add his pioneering minds to the front office. That's great news when you match him up with Carter Hawkins being a pitching development savant, allegedly. That's how you build some infrastructure. 

Big takeaway - the Cubs are going to spend the next two years building up depth and the farm system before any material splash with position players in free agency. Just not worth it if you're bringing in a brain to do a reset. I think the dumbest thing to do would be commit a chunk of the budget in his first year. You didn't see that from Theo until his 4th offseason. Just something to think about as you map your offseason emotions. 

Another big takeaway? Ehsan Bokhari is a University of Illinois grad. The guy studied statistics and got his PhD in quantitative something. He was set to be an academic and teach statistic for the rest of his life until the Dodgers hired him. That's what it took to get him off the campus in Champaign/Urbana. Coming off a big upset win over Penn State you just know this is good juju. All bullshit aside I love having an Illini in the mix. Just makes everything more familiar and connected. 

More importantly though he's a bonafide genius. One of the smartest quant minds in the game and he now reports to Jed Hoyer. Keep stacking these kinds of moves and we'll be back before you know it. Until then go watch the Bulls. 

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