Carter Hawkins was formally introduced to the Chicago media today, stating he was thrilled to be named general manager and second in command to Jed Hoyer for the “first-class” Chicago Cubs. In his first meeting with Chicago’s finest scribes, Hawkins said all the right things and provided the obligatory sound bites, though he didn’t generate a great deal of excitement. In that respect, he mirrors his boss in tone and temperament.
Carter Hawkins addresses the media as he is introduced as the 16th GM in Cubs franchise history. https://t.co/MNtvYR3xyn
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 18, 2021
“The leading indicator is having great people with great processes who are disciplined in those processes,” Hawkins said. “All of those processes have to lead back to developing players better than the other 29 teams.”
That’s three “processes” in two sentences if you’re keeping score at home. Though no one expects him to carry a pocket thesaurus to every presser, it would be nice if he colored a little outside the lines.
“There is no secret sauce,” Hawkins continued. “Everything we do has to come back to winning at the major league level. I know that it can happen here for two very good reasons. One, it has happened here. And two, it is happening here.”
The new GM will be moving his family to Chicago. His wife is currently expecting and the couple has twins, named Henry and Ivy, who will turn two soon. The irony wasn’t lost on Hoyer.
“When you have a daughter named Ivy, I feel like this moment was almost fated,” noted the Cubs’ president of baseball operations.
Hawkins continued saying all the right things and covering the necessary talking points.
“What Jed and Theo started to put together roughly 10 years ago today, has raised the bar in Chicago for baseball to an incredibly high level. The challenge is, how do we raise it even further?”
The correct answer would be to develop great, if not at least dependable pitching, for starters (pun obvious and intended), and Hawkins covered that glaring weakness, too.
“The secret [to] developing pitchers is that there is no secret,” he said. “What the Indians were able to do really, really well was to take all the information that’s available out there, and synthesize that into digestible information that the player could be on board with, the staff could be on board with. It is so easy to skip steps. It is so easy to take the path of least resistance.”
That sounds like a shot across the mast of the steamship Theo Epstein and his propensity to simply buy starters on the open market, doesn’t it? It also makes one wonder if changes may be coming to the team’s minor league instructors, whether it is personnel or, um, processes.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are working every single day, 364 days out of the year to bring those moments back to Chicago over and over and over again,” Hawkins said. “I cannot wait to roll my sleeves up and be a part of that process.”
The 37-year-old executive made sure to mention the passion of Cubs fans, too.
“I have this vivid memory [after Game 5 of the 2016 World Series] of being on the team bus, driving away from Wrigley Field to the airport and we were just inching along,” Hawkins said. “Barely going anywhere. All I could hear was ‘Go Cubs Go’ over and over and over and over. And it was annoying at the time, but I also had this moment of clarity of just how unbelievable a moment that was for the organization, for the city, for Cubs fans all over the world.”
Hawkins earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007 from Vanderbilt University, graduating magna cum laude. He also played baseball there with David Price, serving as the team’s catcher.
When Carter Hawkins was a catcher at Vanderbilt, he still had dreams of playing baseball professionally.
"Until David Price walked through the doors and made it pretty clear to me that one of these things doesn't look like the other."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 18, 2021
Luckily, he shares the same passion for developing pitchers as he did catching them.
“With Cleveland, we were forced to be disciplined in our processes,” Hawkins said. “I think that’s something that’s applicable to any size market. Obviously, your range of options when you have more resources is a little bit wider, but the ability to be deliberate in those decisions and building up great processes in those decisions should be just as good.”
The new GM said his immediate goal is to spend the coming weeks with front office personnel up and down the organizational chain. Hoyer said the addition of Hawkins will also help him determine the duties of his staff based on their personal strengths. The team’s new executive is essentially replacing Hoyer, who served as GM under Epstein.
“He does have incredibly big shoes to fill,” Hoyer joked. Only time will tell just how snug the fit is.