Chicago Cubs Fire GM Jim Hendry: 8 Signings That Got Him Canned
Chicago Cubs broadcaster Dave Kaplan confirmed the firing on his Twitter account.
The news comes as no shock to Cubs fans, who have been calling for Hendry's ouster for many months.
Hendry, who was promoted to the GM position in 2002, was constantly criticized for the contracts rewarded to several players, yet with one of the highest payrolls in baseball, the Cubs constantly underachieved, and after a season in which the Cubs have the second-worst record in baseball, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has finally seen enough.
In a statement, Ricketts thanked Hendry for his 17 years of service to the Cubs.
"My family and I appreciate Jim's dedication during our time with the Cubs and thank him for his overall 17 years of service to the Cubs organization," Ricketts said. "It is time for a fresh approach in our baseball leadership and our search begins immediately for our next general manager."
So, what exactly got Hendry fired? We'll take a look at some of his more controversial signings.
1. Alfonso Soriano
After one season with the Washington Nationals in 2006, during which outfielder Alfonso Soriano hit 46 HR with 95 RBIs, Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry rewarded Soriano with an eight-year, $136 million contract.
The contract was roundly criticized at the time, and Soriano has never even come close to those numbers since joining the Cubs.
The Cubs are in essence hamstrung by the signing, as Soriano is still under contract through the 2014 season.
2. Carlos Zambrano
Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been with the Chicago Cubs for his entire career, currently playing in his 11th season. Following the 2007 season, GM Jim Hendry resigned Zambrano to a five-year, $91.5 million contract, with a vesting option for the 2013 season.
So, what has Zambrano done since signing the contract? Well, he has been involved in several altercations with teammates, has never won more than 14 games in a season since winning 18 games in 2007, and walked out on his teammates in a huff earlier this week after getting hammered for five home runs by the Atlanta Braves.
Now there's some serious bang for that buck.
3. Nomar Garciaparra
Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was shipped out of Boston in a blockbuster four-team deal at the end of the trade deadline in 2004, becoming a member of the Chicago Cubs. In December 2004, GM Jim Hendry signed Garciaparra to a one-year, $8 million, with incentives that could increase the deal to $11 million.
Garciaparra ended up playing only 62 games for the Cubs in 2005, with nine homers and 30 RBI, as injuries continued to take their toll.
Thankfully, the Cubs saved the $3 million in lost incentives.
4. Jason Marquis
In December 2006, Jim Hendry signed starting pitcher Jason Marquis to a three-year, $21 million deal after Marquis had suffered through a 14-16 campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals and posting an ERA of 6.02, one of the highest earned run averages in history for a pitcher who qualified for the ERA title.
So, the Cubs decide to give Marquis a raise? Wow.
5. Derrek Lee
When Jim Hendry and the Cubs announced that they had re-signed first baseman Derrek Lee to a five-year, $65 million contract shortly after the season started in 2006, they were paying for the production that Lee had provided in 2005, when he hit 46 HR with 107 RBI, and led the National League with a .335 batting average.
While Lee did drive in 111 runs in 2009, he never approached the production of that 2005 season, and was traded to the Atlanta Braves in August 2010.
6. Milton Bradley
Cubs GM Jim Hendry signed bad-attitude outfielder Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract before the 2009 season, and the Cubs are still paying for that now.
After just one season, during which Bradley created a multitude of problems in the Windy City, Bradley was traded to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Carlos Silva and cash to help pay Bradley's completely unwarranted salary.
To make matters worse, Silva was terrible for the Cubs, and was released in spring training in March.
7. Kosuke Fukudome
When the Chicago Cubs signed Japanese superstar Kosuke Fukudome to a four-year, $48 million contract in 2008, much was expected from the player who had taken Japan by storm.
While Fukudome started out well that season, making the National League All-Star team and garnering some votes for Rookie of the Year, just as quickly he fizzled, and during his three-plus seasons with the Cubs, Fukudome never hit above .273, and oftentimes was more well-known for his strikeouts, when he would swing wildly and miss in a cyclone-like fashion.
8. John Grabow
When Jim Hendry signed reliever John Grabow to a two-year, $7.5 million contract to start the 2010 season, again heads turned, with many thinking that seemed like an awful lot of money for a journeyman middle reliever.
Turns out they were right. Grabow posted a 7.36 ERA in 28 appearances for the Cubs last season, and this year Grabow has a 4.88 ERA in 50 appearances thus far.
The $7.5 million may not appear like a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, considering some of the other signings by Hendry, but it's just another example of the types of signings that helped lead to Hendry's dismissal by the Cubs on Friday morning.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.