(CBS) Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts doesn’t think the Cubs are too far away from returning to their status as National League contenders.

Before the Cubs’ final game of the season Wednesday, Ricketts told the Chicago Tribune the Cubs turnaround could be coming sooner than expected.

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“One thing you’ve seen in baseball over the last few years is turnarounds can happen pretty quickly,” he said. ‘So I don’t think it’s meaningful to describe a year as a rebuilding year or a reloading year or any of that. The fact is, if you get the right players on the team and they all stay healthy and they play hard, a team can go from 70 wins to 90 wins.

“It happens pretty frequently. Look at the Diamondbacks. Look at the Cubs a few years ago (in 2007). Things turn around fast, so that’s the way we look at it for next year.”

Before the Cubs can work on that quick turnaround, they’ll first need to hire a new general manager after the mid-season dismissal of Jim Hendry.

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“We’ll do it as officially and as quickly as possible, but it’s a big decision,” Ricketts said. “There’s no point in rushing it. We’ve got to have the right guy, and at the right time, and however long it takes, it takes.”

A potential snag in finding a qualified candidate could be the fact that Ricketts elected to extend the contract of player personnel director Oneri Fleita before giving his new GM the power to do so.

Ricketts doesn’t believe that will be an issue in finding the Cubs’ new GM.

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“The fact is that Oneri really is a valuable part of this organization,” he said. “I think that any general manager coming in would agree with that. It was just a step we took to make sure that we had good continuity and made sure we kept building on the things we think we’re doing well.”