Quite similar to the way Jerry Angelo handled the offseason of the Chicago Bears, Jim Hendry has made every move at his disposal this offseason in the hopes of saving his job, albeit with considerably less money.
Heading into the winter of 2010-11, most fans and experts knew that the Cubs did not have much money to invest. They'd have to sign players on a budget and would have to do much of their improvement through trade.
Hendry's first splash of the offseason was signing first baseman Carlos Pena. While many questioned the move due to Pena's .196 batting average, Pena brings a presence to the left side of the plate that has been lacking in Wrigley Field for the last few seasons.
The other notable move for the Cubs' general manager was the signing of fan-favorite Kerry Wood. After two years away from the Windy City, Hendry brought back his friend Wood on a bargain $1.5 million contract.
While a pair of moves like that don't scream division title, Friday's deal for Matt Garza showed that Hendry still has a move or two left up his sleeve. While some felt that the Cubs traded away their future to get Garza from Tampa Bay, many experts feel that the package, which included pitcher Chris Archer and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, was unimpressive.
Make no mistake about it, Friday's trade shows that the Cubs plan to contend in 2011. Jim Hendry knows what's at stake this season and has acted accordingly, with three strong moves despite very little fiscal flexibility.
Garza is a pitcher who has performed well in his three seasons in Tampa Bay, despite the fact that he plays in, arguably, the toughest division in baseball. The fact that he's kept his ERA under four in the three seasons pitching against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox shows the type of pitcher the Cubs acquired.
Whether or not Garza will be the missing piece for this Cubs team remains to be seen. It's certainly a step in the right direction, and, if it pans out, may just be the move that saves Jim Hendry's job.