Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry was quite the busy man this past week. As he took part in three radio interviews as the Cubs get ready for Spring Training. So lets take a look back, and see what Jim Hendry had to say about the off-season, and the 2010 season.
ESPN Radio 1000 w/ Waddle and Silvy
First Up on Hendry’s tour, was a stop with ESPN radio 1000’s Waddle and Silvy. One of the main things he touched on was the lack of chemistry in the clubhouse due in large part to Milton Bradley. Hendry believed that had Bradley gotten off to a better start, some of things that Bradley did would have never occurred. Hendry did admit though that this off-season he wanted to go back to the Cubs having a good clubhouse, and not only have good role players , but quality people.
Hendry said that he still would like to add another veteran late inning reliever to the bullpen. The two names the Cubs have been linked to the most over the past couple of weeks have been Blue Jays pitcher Jason Frasor, and Padres pitcher Luke Gregerson. They also remainn in contact with Chan-Ho Park and Kiko Calero, who are both free agents. However I think the Cubs may not go after Gregerson as much as the other three, due to Hendry saying that he wants it to be a veteran, and last year was Gregerson’s first year in the majors.
670 The Score
Next up on the Jim Hendry radio tour, was a stop with Mully and Hanley on Friday Morning. While Hendry was not quick to say that new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was the biggest addition the Cubs made this off-season, he did say that he was the most important addition to the Cubs. Hendry feels that Jaramillo should be a big help to the “Aging Veterans” that the Cubs have, and Hendry still believes that those veterans still have a couple good years left in them.
Hendry also had nothing but good things to say about the Ricketts family. He says that so far they are doing a great job by continuing to improve Wrigley Field and the outside of the park. He also is glad that it is a familly ownership instead of a company, and compared it to when the Dodgers were owned by the O’Malley family.
Hendry believes that the reported timetable for Ted Lilly may be a bit exaggerated. Again he said that there was no significant damage to his shoulder, and once again he hinted that he could return within the first two weeks.
Jim Hendry also touched on the fact that are 40 players already in camp, and the one with the most interest is Starlin Castro. Hendry admits that he is an impressive player, but that their is a fine line with how the Cubs are going to develop him. He feels that Castro will let the Cubs know when he is ready for the big leagues. However, the Cubs have not put any expectations on him making the team out of spring training. I still feel that if Castro has a good spring, then he should be the Cubs opening day shortstop, and move Ryan Theriot to second base.
Sports Central W/ David Kaplan
Hendry finished his radio tour, by visiting with David Kaplan of WGN 720.
Hendry says that he feels that the Cubs have enough to win the world series this year. And that if they are still in the race in July, he knows the Ricketts will allow him add payroll to the team, something Hendry could not do in the past two trading deadlines. He feels that it is important to be in a position to win early in the season, and then make some additions to the roster around the the trading deadline, much like what the Cardinals did last year.
I found it interesting though that as they were talking about the Cubs bullpen, Hendry said that he feels really good about Angel Guzman. Guzman, had been linked to trade rumors over the past month in order for the Cubs to get a veteran reliever, so maybe the Cubs will look trade a Tom Gorzelanny, or Micah Hoffpauir instead of Guzman for a relief pitcher. Hendry also did add that he really thinks Jeff Gray (Acquired by the Cubs in the Jake Fox trade) will have an impact on this team. He credits him with a power arm, and feels that he could very well end up in the late inning situation for the Cubs.
There also was a quick discussion regarding the statuses of Ted Lilly, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez as they all have expiring contracts after the season except for Ramirez who holds a player option. Hendry said that it is a bit too early to talk about it, but when the time comes he will sit down with Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts to discuss the futures of those players. Many feel that the Cubs will give Lee an extension of one to two years. And many expect Aramis Ramirez to accept the player option, and return next year making $14.6 million.
Both Hendry and Kaplan believe Carlos Zambrano will have a bounce back season, and they think he will win 17-20 games for the Cubs this year. Something Zambrano can easily do, if he stays healthy.