First of all, what a great baseball man. I had the chance to spend almost two years with Jim and loved everything about him. There aren’t many guys like him in the game who are completely honest with their players, they love their players, they love their team. What impressed me the most is not him bringing three division titles here — ’03, ’07 and ’08 — or almost getting to the World Series, or everything he’s accomplished in this game, being here for 17 years. I have even more respect for him because of how he handled this situation. Knowing he was going to be out, handling the trades, doing what’s best for this organization, signing all the guys he signed from the Draft, working as hard as he did. He signed our first rounder 15 minutes before the deadline. He worked hard for the Cubs knowing he’s not going to be the GM — that’s something that is so impressive to me.
There are probably a lot of fans happy that he’s gone and are mad at Jim and mad at the Cubs but at the same time, it’s not his fault. You have to look at the moves he made over the years. You have to look at the hard decisions he had to make, like trading Sammy Sosa, and the good decisions he made, giving guys money who really deserved it, making trades to bring guys over here like Aramis Ramirez — you can’t forget about that. Working with no money like he did this year and going to get Matt Garza and Carlos Pena and bringing back Kerry Wood. He signed Mark DeRosa, and traded him because they wanted a left-handed bat, and brought in Milton Bradley. He thought he was the guy and it didn’t work out. At the time, it was the right move and everyone agreed it was. He put all that together.
He’s a good baseball man. Regardless of what anybody says about him, he did his job the right way. He worked harder than any GM I’ve ever known and I’ve been around a few. It’s a credit to him how he came into the game, 17 years with the Cubs, and how he ended up with this organization. I think Tom Ricketts and his family have a lot of respect for him. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when he takes over another organization and we’ll see what he does over there.
Everyone sees what Q’s done. He’s done an unbelievable job. We played hard for him — he made it easy for us to play hard for him. Following a legend and an icon is not an easy thing to do and he did it very well. I don’t know if he’ll be here next year, but the way we played will make it tough on Jim — actually, it’s a good thing to make it tough on Jim, because he has a lot of quality guys to interview. We took a step forward at the end of the season. It’s all about development — guys getting better, work their butts off this offseason and get stronger, better, faster and up their baseball IQ and we’re going to be fine.