Chicago Cubs' Hendry Cool on the Hot Seat

Jack StentwillerContributor IDecember 28, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 17: General Manager Jim Hendry of the Chicago Cubs talks to manager Ozzie Guillen and manager Lou Pinella before an interleague game against the Chicago White Sox on June 17, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I will give General Manager Jim Hendry and the rest of the Chicago Cubs front office this.

They are not overreacting.

This offseason, after a largely disappointing 2009 campaign, the Cubs have made no significant additions to their 83 win team. They also are only rumored to be looking at tweaking, bringing maybe a bottom of the rotation starter or center fielder in.

In an era where those in player personnel often overreact to disappointing seasons, I wish it was more refreshing to see a GM who stays patient and plays for the long term.

The Cubs are in need of some roster change, and considering Hendry's job could be at stake following 2010 under new ownership, it is very surprising to see him concentrate mostly on dumping players (i.e. Milton Bradley and Kevin Gregg) rather than adding players.

The free agent market is thin, and the Cubs are close to maxed out on payroll. Hendry, however, has proven in the past to be pretty creative (pulling one-sided deals for Clement, Alfonseca, DLee, and ARam).

It is interesting that he has chosen to stay with this nucleus, especially since they have not won a postseason game in two trips.

This is the very reason why some additions/changes are needed. Even if you feel the 2009 club underperformed compared to talent (I would argue they are closer to an 83 win team than a 95 win team), this team was still not a World Series contender, which is the club's stated goal.

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Yet, Hendry has stuck with Piniella, and the core group of guys like Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Zambrano, Lilly, and Dempster.

I like many of those players, but even at their best, this team was first round playoff, central division champ team. They did not even sniff the League Championship Series.

For many teams and cities, competing for divisions and three straight winning seasons would be great. Heck, the Cubs would have killed for the past three seasons 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

The second highest payroll in the league, however, raises expectations. I think it is fair to expect this team to contend for the NL Pennant.

The current roster, however, does not seem capable of winning a pennant, and so far this offseason, the Cubs have tried for addition by subtraction.

Even if that works, it will only get them back to the level of play that got them swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Hendry is not gambling on anyone this offseason. Which is a surprise, since he could be gambling with his job.


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