Cubs GM expresses optimism - chicagotribune.com
Chicago Cubs GM expresses optimism Jim Hendry says club significantly improved from disappointing 2009
As if Jim Hendry didn't have enough problems this winter, it recently was revealed former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he missed dispensing advice to his old pal, the Cubs general manager.
So was Blagojevich pushing the Milton Bradley signing? Was he the one who pointed out Aaron Miles' sterling batting average during day games? Was this alleged ''bromance with Blago'' the real deal?
Hendry shook his head and laughed.
"Well, the governor was a big Cubs fan," he said. "He came around every now and then and was always friendly and nice. He showed his passion for the club, and every now and then he'd say: 'What about that guy? Can we get that guy?' There were few instances like that, but no, I didn't take his advice."
Hendry shoulders all the blame for the Cubs' busts of 2009, which included Bradley, Miles, Aaron Heilman and Kevin Gregg. Because of budget restraints and a contract that proved difficult to move, he wound up making only two significant offseason additions -- Marlon Byrd and Xavier Nady -- along with new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
"We may do one more thing before camp or during, but … we knew a couple of years ago this would be a year a lot the contracts we did would restrict us," Hendry said. "But I feel good about the guys we've brought in. And, as I've said since the end of last season, we need a lot of the guys who didn't play well last year to play better."
Last season was labeled a disaster because of the high expectations placed on a team who had won two straight division titles with a $135 million payroll. Yet the overall trend appears better than it has been in decades. The Cubs have won 83 or more games six times in the last nine years after winning 83 or more only four times over the previous 28 seasons.
Yet the lack of big-name acquisitions has left some wondering whether new ownership is as serious about winning as it asserted when it took control in October.
"The dollars leaving the door is not the issue," Chairman Tom Ricketts said. "It's the third-highest payroll (in baseball). The issue is getting the right performance for the number of dollars you spend."
The Cubs moved into the heavy rent district in the winter of 2006-07, when former team President John McDonough sent Hendry on a $200 million long-term spending spree.
When McDonough left to run the Blackhawks after the '07 season, Crane Kenney took over as president and said the team would continue to do what it takes to stay competitive.
"Our track record is we'll grow the payroll as we grow the business," Kenney said of the spending that has gone from about $80 million in 2003 to the $135 million of last season.
Seven players -- Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Derrek Lee and Kosuke Fukudome -- will be paid more than $102 million this year.
Thus Hendry has left himself with little room to maneuver this offseason. But he wound up $6 million ahead after the Bradley-Carlos Silva deal, back-loaded the $15 million contract to free agent Byrd and signed Nady for $3.3 million plus incentives. That $6 million basically will offset the salaries of Byrd and Nady.
"It's not like we had a lot of room for new bodies," Hendry said. "We just needed to get a couple of pieces, and we really think Byrd and Nady are going to help us in a lot of areas, especially offensively. And I'm optimistic some of the people that didn't hit last year will. Rudy is going to help us. … I think we're quite a bit better."
You just don't want him to manage the Cubs because he is a good manager, and you are a Reds fan. You want the Cubs to fail.
Damn you Scuba Steve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Cubs are doomed to fail with Lou
Originally Posted by The Benjamin
Not as bad as the Reds are doomed to fail with Dusty
Please, this thread is about Cubs not the Reds, thank you. Fire Lou
Originally Posted by The Benjamin
Dust Bag was once the Cubs manager. The Reds are a division rival of the Cubs. There for we can discuss the Reds in here.
That being the case...
I hope the Reds give Dusty a life time contract