Jim Hendry Is Fired as the Chicago Cubs GM: Tom Ricketts Finally Gets a Clue

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIAugust 19, 2011

I couldn't believe I was hearing what I have been waiting to hear for several years now: Jim Hendry is out as the Chicago Cubs general manager.

Tom Ricketts finally woke up from his coma to say the words that Cubs fans have been waiting seemingly forever for, "It's time for a fresh approach." Asked why he made a change, he said, "We didn't win enough games."

He mentioned that he was looking for a "different perspective and a different direction for the future."

Hopefully that means no more back-loaded contracts and the total disregard of OBP that was a hallmark of the Hendry regime. Does this mean there is finally a plan in place?

Fans had become disenchanted with owner Tom Ricketts and his reluctance to make any changes.

Keeping Hendry when he took over was bad enough, but not getting rid of him after the disastrous season they had last year, and allowing him to hire Mike Quade over Cub legend Ryne Sandberg was the last straw for the Cub faithful.

His legacy was leading the Cubs to three division championships, but always falling short when it counted. He got off to a great start picking up players like Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee to bolster the team in his early years, but those days are in the rearview mirror.

What you see now is the destruction left from signing players like Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley and Kosuke Fukudome to outrageous contracts, and giving no-trade clauses to everybody from the clubhouse boy to the ushers.

Hendry was a giving guy, because whatever a player asked for, he gave more.

Assistant GM Randy Bush will be taking over the team on an interim-basis while the search for a new leader is underway.

According to Hendry in his press conference today, he said Tom Ricketts told him about the decision on July 22, but they decided it was best with the trade deadline coming up, and trying to sign their draft picks that he stick around until now.

It seems rather shocking when all of the talk recently has been that Hendry would be back for the final year of his contract in 2012. Perhaps Ricketts finally heard the fans and their displeasure for the current regime, and the lack of movement in the organization.

During his press conference, Hendry mentioned he didn't make more deals other than getting rid of Fukudome so that the person taking over wouldn't be stuck with the moves he made.

Unfortunately for the organization, that handcuffed them when they could have started the rebuilding early by filling the system with prospects they could have received from trading veterans.

Hendry teared up realizing his days were over running the team. He took over the job in July 2002, though he was thought to be making decisions before he was officially given the title.

Now the rumors start about who will be taking over. Pat Gillick has said he would be interested in becoming the president of the organization.

Yankee GM Brian Cashman's name has come up. Former Diamondback GM Josh Byrnes has been mentioned, along with White Sox Asst. GM Rick Hahn.

I like Andrew Friedman, who has done a great job running the Rays' organization. Considering what he has accomplished having little money to work with and playing in the toughest division in baseball, it's exciting to think what he could do with the Cubs.

A total reshaping of the structure and philosophy of this club has to take place. Tom Ricketts constantly harps on about wanting to be the best organization in baseball.

To do that, everything the Cubs are currently doing has be evaluated. The culture has to change. 103 years of losing is not easy to overcome, and that change of culture has to start from the bottom up.

Players are proud to play for the Yankees, and they are always told about what it means to play for the pinstripes. That attitude and culture has to be adopted by the Cubs.

The lax attitude and comfortable feel of the organization that makes players want to stay despite constant failure has to end. This needs to be viewed as a destination for players who want to win.

Kirk Gibson changed the atmosphere this year in Arizona, letting the players know in spring training what was expected of them. He put his foot down that what they were used to would not be tolerated under his leadership.

That's what the Cubs need—a leader.

Ricketts mentioned during his press conference that he would not be hiring from within. He also mentioned while he valued sabermetrics, there were other things he was also looking for, including coming from a winning culture.

He mentioned the new general manager reports to him, so that possibly means he might not be hiring a new team president.

Hendry losing his job means that Mike Quade should be counting the days until the end of the season, because he surely will not be back next year.

Names will also pop up about who the new manager will be, and Ryne Sandberg's name will be one of them, but that will be up to the man in charge.

It's questionable if Ricketts will make the right decision with the person he brings in, based on his history so far.

While I thought he should have made a change immediately after taking over, he explained he needed to come in and get a feel for the organization before making any moves. Otherwise he thought he would be making a rash decision.  

Finally he did the right thing. Two years were wasted, but when you're a Cub fan, what is two years?

It's a great day for Chicago Cub fans, because even though things won't change overnight, it gives you hope for the future

I've heard "Wait until next year" my whole life as a Cub fan.

It's about time that I'm finally looking forward to it. .



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