Jim Hendry was promoted from assistant GM/Player Personal Director to General Manager on July 5th, 2002. That was nearly 9 years ago. I think it’s fair to say that Hendry has had plenty of time to make his mark on the Chicago Cubs and that he is responsible for the players on the field. The question I’d like to look at today is, Should Jim Hendry be back next season as the GM of the Chicago Cubs? Let’s look at a couple of topics and I’ll make the case For or Against.
Since Hendry’s first day back in ’02 thru Sunday’s extra inning loss to St. Louis, the Cubs are 718-712. During those nine seasons the Cubs have made the playoffs three times.
The first playoff appearance was the fateful 2003 season when the Cubs were just five outs from making it to the World Series before losing to the Marlins. Chicago also made the post seasons in ’07 and ’08, both times being swept out in 3 games in the NLDS. While a .502 winning percentage and only one playoff series win might not seem like much, let’s put things in perspective. In the previous 1430 games before Hendry, the Cubs were 670-760, .469, with only two winning seasons and one playoff appearance, which the team lost 3 games to nothing against Atlanta. Overall, the team has been more competitive the past 9 years and the playoffs always seem to be a possibility before each season.
Is this where we are at? Content with a .500 team, because that’s what Hendry has given us. Look, I’m not asking for 90+ wins every season, which is unrealistic. But there have been 59 teams that have won 90 or more games in the last 9 years and the Cubs have only done it once. Just on average they should have done it twice. And that is just not acceptable for a team that is in the top 10, if not top 5, in revenue. I’m not trying to say that money buys you wins, but it doesn’t hurt.
Over the years Hendry has made several good trades that have helped the Cubs both in-season and over the long run. In 2003 Jim made a trade with Pittsburgh for Kenny Lofton. Lofton made an immediate impact on the Cubs that summer hitting .327 and helping lead the team to the playoffs from the lead-off spot in the lineup. While Lofton turned out to just be a one year rental for the Cubs, Chicago also received Aramis Ramirez from Pittsburgh in that trade. Ramirez has been a cornerstone for Chicago at third base and has now played more games there than any other players except Ron Santo and Stan Hack. During his tenure Hendry has also traded for Derrek Lee and Nomar Garciaparra as well as getting other teams to take disgruntled players Sammy Sosa and Milton Bradley. In 2007 Hendry was able to sign the number 1 free agent on the market, Alfonso Soriano, the first time the Cubs have ever gotten the top guy and then came back in 2008 and signed the top Japanese player, Fukudome, that was out there.
As for the minors, the Cubs Opening Day roster in 2011 contained 16 players that started with and came up through the Cubs system. This includes players like Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and 2008 ROY Geo Soto that look to be mainstays up the middle for a long time to come.
On the other hand, while Hendry’s signings and trades looked good at the time, the Cubs have since been hamstrung under the weight of those deals. But being buried under millions of dollars in deals doesn’t have to be a never ending problem, in fact Chicago will be freeing up huge amounts of salary after the 2011 season. The problem is, the Cubs didn’t win anything while they accumulated all those players and spent all that money. And without winning a championship, what’s the point.
As for the minors, the Cubs have only had 2 of their last 9 number 1 picks in the amateur draft make the team (Colvin & Cashner) and they have come up dry this season when they needed a pitcher or 4 to fill in due to injuries. It might be easy to say that they have a few guys that look good but just aren’t ready, but he has had 9 years to restock the minors, why do we have to wait another couple of years to see if they can play.
Considering the overall record of the Cubs under Hendry, which will probably be under .500 by the time this season is over, I can only think of one reason why Jim Hendry should remain as the Chicago Cubs GM this off-season.
1: Pete Rose ($7.1) and
Tom Seaver ($5.8) combined to make approximately $12.9M during their playing
career. Kosuke Fukudome will make $13.5M in 2011. The value of money changes over time of
course. But to put this in perspective, Roses’ largest single season salary was
$1M in 1986. In today’s money that would be approx $2.1M.
2: The Cubs open the
season on April 1st against the Pirates. Ryan Dempster will probably
be the Cubs starting pitcher. In 45 career appearances against Pittsburgh, Ryan
is 6-10 with a 5.63era.
3: I really think
George Clooney is one of the best actors making movies right now. But even a
great actor can’t save a bad movie. I watched The American a couple of days ago, you shouldn’t bother.
4: 76 players have
made 10,000+ plate appearances in MLB history. Jim Thome (9803), Manny Ramirez (9757), and
Chipper Jones (9654) should join the list this year.
(Bill) Veeck was born 97 years ago today. As the owner of the Cleveland Indians
in 1947, Veeck signed Larry Doby to be the first black player in the American
League. One year later he signed Satchel Paige at the age of 41. Paige went 6-1
in 1948 and went on to play parts of 5 more seasons.
When the Cubs hit homers in bunches, they like to do it
against Milwaukee. Five times this season they have hit four or more home runs
in a game, three of those games came against the Brewers. Yesterday the Cubs
hit four homers, including three 3-run shots, and had their highest RBI day of
the season with 15.
Ryan Dempster got the win and the Cubs ended an ugly 7 game
Carlos Zambrano pitched one scoreless inning as he prepares
to return to the rotation next week and he even had one plate appearance. Of
course it was a dumb at-bat allowed by Piniella. Lou has two lefties on the
bench, Fukudome and Fontenot, that need some at-bats once in a while and Lou lets
Carlos bat and then pulls him from the game after he makes the last out of the
The team gets the day off today and then plays three
afternoon games over the weekend against Dusty Baker and the first place Cincinnati
The ‘I didn’t know that’ stat- Since 1901 the Cubs are
1008-980 vs the Reds.
11 games under .500
Fourth place and 11 games out of first.
They lose 17-2 to the Rockies, including giving up 12 runs
in the 8th.
They are unable to trade Soriano, Zambrano, and Fukudome.
They trade D Lee but he won’t go.
They can trade Lilly to the Dodgers, but LA wants the Cubs
to pay his contract??????? The Dodgers
owner is going thru a divorce and can’t take on salary.