Even though Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has already issued public support of his general manager, that has not stopped fans from wanting Jim Hendry to be fired. In fact, there is a chance that Ricketts may still fire Hendry after the season. When Ricketts issued his state of the team address a few weeks ago, the chairman stated that Hendry would be re-evaluated after the season. Meaning that while Ricketts supports Hendry as the Cubs general manager for the rest of the season, he may decide to go in a different direction after the season. Ricketts may already be leaning towards a general manager change once the season concludes.
Tom Loxas of Cubs Insider cites two sources–one “very close” with Tom Ricketts and the other was a “high level Sam Zell” guy–that the consensus is that there is little chance that Hendry is retained as the Cubs general manager after the season. In fact, the Sam Zell source says that Hendry would have been fired if the Tribune held onto the Cubs longer than they did. For those that are not familiar with Loxas or Cubs Insider, I consider the site to be very credible. But as the case with any rumor, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
If Hendry was on the verge of being fired when the Tribune still owned the Cubs, I find it a little surprising that Ricketts opted to hold onto Hendry after the sale from the Tribune was finalized. This exploits Ricketts’ main flaw, and that is that the Cubs owner does not appear to have any knowledge when it comes to the team’s daily baseball operations. Hendry must have been able to successfully convince Ricketts that he was the right guy to lead the Cubs. This seems like the right time to mention that the Cubs have yet to make post-season since the Ricketts family became the owners of the team.
As for who Hendry’s successor would be, according to the sources in the report, White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn was the name mentioned when asked about a potential replacement. I have been a big fan of the White Sox regime. Hahn and White Sox general manager Kenny Williams have had their fair share of successes during their time together. The biggest difference between Hahn and Hendry is that Hahn is a supporter of saber-metrics and modern ways of analyzing players, whereas, Hendry is not a fan of the modern nuances of baseball statistics. That may be the reason why the Cubs have been sitting at home in recent Octobers while smaller-market teams enjoyed post-season success.
The biggest hurdle that would prevent Hahn from coming to the North-Side is the fact that he is beloved on the South-Side, especially by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. There has been some speculation that there may be a clause in Hahn’s contract that prevents him from becoming the general manager of the Cubs. Even if no such clause exists, Ricketts would still have to ask Reinsdorf and Williams for permission to interview Hahn. The common belief is that Reinsdorf would never allow Hahn to jump ship and go to the North-Side.
However for the time being, Hendry is still the general manager of the Cubs. Meaning that Hendry will be the man in charge when handling the Cubs approach at the trade deadline. Most speculation has the Cubs wanting to trade Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, and Aramis Ramirez. But in the same report from Tom Loxas, the source close to Ricketts indicates that the Cubs will try to trade Fukudome and Soriano, and have little interest in moving Zambrano.
The source indicates that the Cubs will “push hard” to trade Fukudome this season. Considering that Fukudome is on pace to have the best season of his career, this would be an opportune time for the Cubs to trade Fukudome. Especially with top prospect Brett Jackson right around the corner. If Fukudome were to get traded, that would allow the Cubs to have an outfield that consists of Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Brett Jackson.
Though, if the Cubs had their wish, Soriano would also be out of the outfield picture. As noted in the report, it appears that Ricketts is “willing to eat some of the money necessary to make Soriano disappear.” That should be enough to perk the ears of any American League team looking for a DH. By moving Soriano, the Cubs would be creating an opportunity for Tyler Colvin to be an everyday player at the major league level.