The Cubs announced Wednesday that they had hired former outfielder Will Venable as Special Assistant to the President/General Manager. Best know for his time as a Padre, Venable spent part of 2015 with the Rangers and then bounced around the Indians, Phillies, and Dodgers organizations before retiring. Though he was a solid player over the course of his nine-year career, it wasn’t his on-field performance that spurred the Cubs to bring him in.
Venable’s time with the Padres coincided with Jed Hoyer’s tenure there, so they no doubt got to know each other well in SoCal. We’ve seen in the past how the Cubs front office is loyal to those co-workers and players of whom they’ve grown enamored, so it makes sense that Hoyer would want to bring an old charge back around. Then you’ve got the fact that Veneble’s an Ivy League guy, starring in both baseball and basketball for Princeton.
“I’m extremely grateful Jed and Theo have given me the opportunity to learn from them and all of the great people in the Cubs organization,” Venable said in a press release. “As my playing days have come to an end, I look forward to exploring new ways to have a positive impact on the game. I am excited to be part of the Cubs family and their amazing tradition.”
The title is a little amorphous, as are Venable’s duties in Chicago. As a special assistant, he’ll work in all aspects of baseball operations, including traveling around to the various affiliates to instruct minor league players. He will also help out with the evaluation of amateur players and will “spend time around the major league club among additional responsibilities and opportunities.”
The Cubs have done a great job of bringing in former players in various capacities, whether it’s to serve more as ambassadors or members of the front office. How much of an impact Venable will actually have on the organization has yet to be seen, but you can never have too many smart baseball minds around.