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Monday, September 19, 2011
Source: Wilken's spot secure with Cubs

By Bruce Levine

Chicago Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken met over the weekend with chairman Tom Ricketts and was reassured that his job is as secure as any in the organization, according to a major league source.

But Wilken was told an extension at this time was ruled out due to the fact Ricketts wanted to wait for a new general manager to be in place before making any executive decisions.

"I'm extremely happy with my status with the team," Wilken said. "As supportive as Tom was during the draft, he was just as supportive in our meeting [Sunday], telling me I would be back with the Cubs in 2012 and that I'm in the team's plans in the future."

There has been speculation that Wilken will receive the same four-year extension that vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita received two weeks ago. When former general manager Jim Hendry was dismissed, Ricketts said at the news conference that he would recommend Wilken and Fleita as A-plus performers to the new GM.

Wilken, who has one year left on his contract, was told his contributions are vital to the Cubs' player development going forward, however the Fleita situation was different. The Cubs signed him to a four-year, $1 million-plus deal because of his status as the point man on the team's new Dominican Republic complex, which will be erected in 2012.

Fleita also runs two separate departments, the minor leagues as well as well as being Latin American coordinator. The Cubs had to react to Fleita due to the fact the Detroit Tigers offered him a four-year deal. Fleita took that offer to Cubs ownership, who tore up his 2011 contract and proceeded to give him the four-year extension.

Sources said if the new GM wants to redefine Fleita's duties, he'll be able to after the first of the year.

Wilken has done well with the Cubs' drafts since being hired before the 2006 season. Some of the players drafted under Wilken's watch were Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, DJ LeMahieu, Tyler Colvin and Tony Campana. The team's top prospect, Brett Jackson, is also on the cusp of a starting job in 2012.

"[Ricketts and I] talked for an hour and a half Sunday and he told me to go ahead and get the scouts we need in the fold for next year," Wilken said. "He also gave me the autonomy to hire new guys."