Lilly joins front office as special assistant
Longtime big leaguer, former Cubs lefty will scout and aid in player development
MESA, Ariz. -- Ted Lilly knew he couldn't pitch anymore, but he wanted to stay in the game. And on Tuesday, he was named to a job in the Cubs' front office.
Lilly, 38, will be a special assistant to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and he will do a variety of tasks, such as helping with scouting and developing young players. Epstein, Hoyer and Lilly discussed the job at the Cubs Convention in January.
"His reputation with the Cubs is sterling, which is fantastic, and not only as a person but as a competitor," Hoyer said. "I really liked what he had to say. A lot of guys want to get back in and don't want to work that much, and he made it clear he wants to work and wants to get involved in scouting.
"I think we'll use him in a variety of ways," Hoyer said. "He feels he has a pretty good eye and likes to try to evaluate but also was really humble and knows he has to learn how to do it. He was excited to get back involved and I think we'll feel out how to use him."
Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry hired Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux to a similar role in 2010. Hoyer said Lilly will watch the Minor League pitchers, visit the Cubs' affiliates and scout some amateur players.
"It was pretty clear after a few conversations that he had something to add," Hoyer said of Lilly. "I like the fact that to finish it off, he was with a Cubs team that won 97 games and they had success, and as we try to figure out how to build a winner in Chicago, he was part of it."
Lilly pitched for 15 seasons with the Expos, Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays, Cubs and Dodgers. He was in Chicago from 2007-10, helping the team win back-to-back National League Central titles in 2007-08.
"I wanted to stay in the game," Lilly said. "I would love to keep playing, too, but at this point, I'm sure that I'm retired from being on the field. I want to be around the game and I feel like I have something to offer. This is an organization that I'd prefer to be with, so it worked out."
Lilly was limited to 13 starts over the past two seasons with the Dodgers because of injuries. He started thinking about doing something other than pitching during that time.
"The last couple years, when I had a lot of free time to think, I did start thinking about when my career was over," Lilly said. "I wanted to keep playing, but I definitely started thinking about this [type of work] at the end."
Lilly has two young children, a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, and another child due in September, which makes a job as a pitching coach difficult because of the time commitment needed. But he is committed to the Cubs.
"The experiences I had the first couple years here winning were incredible in the sense that we put together a team that was expected to win," Lilly said. "We didn't accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a World Series, but it was such a great experience. We had so many professionals in the clubhouse and guys who went about it the right way. I think that's why I'll always refer to those two years in Chicago as the best years I've had as a player."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.