I've always been a Jim Hendry fan. He took risks when appropriate, liked to utilize a combination of farm-team talent and veteran-free agents, and knew what it took to compile a winning roster.
That is, until this year.
There's been enough talk about Hendry's offseason blunders (losing Mark DeRosa, signing Milton Bradley, Kevin Gregg, Aaron Heilman, and Luiz Vizcaino). So, I won't go too much into them, but they are in fact the root of the problem.
The Cubs have been struggling, but when you look at the moves Hendry has made, how can you be surprised? Hendry took a fairly inconsistent offense from the 2008 team and made it even more inconsistent by losing one of the most consistent hitters (DeRosa) and the solid closer (Kerry Wood). He then proceeded to fill the roster with oft-injured/personality-challenged Milton Bradley and three bullpen pitchers, who have never had an ounce of success in their careers, and somehow thought that he had improved the team.
Well, as Cubs fans are finding out, he in fact destroyed the foundations of the Cubs and the end result is an erratic bullpen, numerous injuries, and suspect hitting.
Sure, the players can be blamed. After all, there's no excuse for Milton Bradley, Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee to be hitting around and under .200 at the beginning of June.
Then again, Hendry should have seen Derrek Lee declining and done something about it. And, perhaps more significantly, shouldn't have given 30 million dollars to a player who has never played more than one season on the same team and who has never put up numbers as good as DeRosa's were last year (Oh, that's right, did I mention DeRosa's gone now? What a replacement).
Furthermore, you can't blame Hendry for injuries to Bradley, Rich Harden, Carlos Zambrano, and Aramis Ramirez. Except for the small detail that Hendry signed both Bradley and Harden while knowing their vast history of injury issues.
But, hey, at least you can't blame Hendry for the bullpen's abysmal performance. Oh wait, he signed Gregg, appointed him closer, signed Vizcaino (and then promptly released him), and signed Heilman, all while knowing the sub-par careers these pitchers have had.
In short, Hendry is singlehandedly responsible for destroying the foundations from 2008 and masterminding the mediocre franchise the Cubs have become. Unless he shapes up or packs his bags, the Cubs are at his mercy and are helpless at becoming a contender again, no matter how hard they play on the field.
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