Lou Piniella's Destiny Should Be Based on the Remainder of the Cubs Season

Joe SlatonContributor ISeptember 25, 2009

MILWAUKEE - MAY 10: Manager Lou Piniella #41 of the Chicago Cubs watches as his team takes on the Milwaukee Brewers on May 10, 2009 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cubs defeated the Brewers 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Let's get some facts straight...

1a. If the Cubs manage to win three out of their next 10 games, they will have had three winning seasons in a row since Lou Piniella took over as manager.

1b. The Cubs will have had five winning seasons since Jim Hendry took over the role of general manager back in mid-2002.

2a. The last Cubs manager to have three winning seasons in a row was Leo Durocher (whose tenure was marked by six winning seasons out of seven but zero playoff appearances).

2b. The last Cubs GM with that many winning seasons was John Holland, who collected seven winning seasons in an 18-year span (and zero playoff berths).


Not so Sweet, Lou

Piniella has made some bad managerial moves since he's taken over—arguing to the death only to finally acknowledge that Alfonso Soriano shouldn't be hitting leadoff comes to mind.

However, the most frustrating move came against the D-Backs in the 2007 NLDS, when he pulled Carlos Zambrano so we could use him again for Game Four. How about focusing on winning Game One first?! Then we can get to Game Four if and when that day comes (which it never did).


"Who's still on first," but "WHY" now in right field!

Hendry's had his share of questionable signings over his reign, particularly in right field. I won't disagree—obviously Milton Bradley will come up immediately since his signing is a fresh bust. It's hard for any Cub fan to stomach dumping a solid, versatile leader (Mark DeRosa) and then spending $30 million on a head case coming off one good year (in a hitter's park). 

Then you would be fair to mention Hendry whiffing on Jeromy Burnitz and Jacque Jones (pun intended) just to name a few. 

Nomar Garciaparra I would categorize as more of a disappointing deal than a bad deal. Hendry didn't give up much to get him, and Nomar was still productive, albeit injury-plagued, as a Cub.


Bottom Line

The Cubs have been playing some pretty good baseball down the stretch so far. If it wasn't for a few late inning heroics by the Cardinals, the Cubs would be 6-1 on this pretty tough road trip.

The Cubs have gone down fighting, and if that continues, I say re-up Piniella. He's brought the team winning baseball since he's been here. With all of the aforementioned bad personnel moves this past offseason and the injury bug hitting his squad, it's hard blame Piniella for not catching the surging Cards. 

Unlike Dusty Baker, who never gave the young players a chance, Piniella has utilized young promising players like Randy Wells, Jake Fox, and most recently Tyler Colvin. 

Who are you going to get that's better? Last time I checked, Joe Torre was pretty happy in Los Angeles, and Tony La Russa is busy leading the archrival Cards to another pennant.

So where does that leave Jim Hendry? I say sign him to a two- or three-year deal. Let's see how he cleans up some of the bad signings this time around. The last time he tried to fix up the Cubs, he landed Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, who really shored up the pitching staff following a disappointing 2006 season.

What's more, Hendry's version of the Cubs is about winning. No, it hasn't brought a World Series to Wrigleyville, which is what the ultimate goal is for any general manager. But winning baseball and the Cubs hasn't been exactly synonymous in the last 100 years.