Why Is Jim Hendry Still Here?


New Chicago Cubs Manager Mike Quade may already be doomed, and yet, this is only his first day as the official Chicago Cubs manager. This is not to say that I think the Chicago Cubs made the wrong choice be hiring Mike Quade as their Manager for the next years. I actually feel the complete opposite, that Quade was the right man for the Chicago Cubs position. His baseball knowledge, longevity in the game, and player relations made him the perfect choice to become the next Chicago Cubs manager. However, the reason that Quade may be doomed already, is because the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs is still Jim Hendry.

To begin, Jim Hendry has been the General Manager for the Chicago Cubs for nine years. During that time, he has hired three managers in Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, and now Mike Quade.

In 2003, Hendry decided to give the managerial spot to Dusty Baker after Baker led the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 World Series. And, no surprise, the main thought in bringing Baker to Chicago, was that he would be the manager to lead the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory since 1908. The Baker regime got off to a great start, as they led the Cubs withing 5 outs of the World Series in 2003. However, that would be the last time that Baker would lead the Chicago Cubs to the postseason.

The following seasons of 2004,2005, and 2006 were Baker’s downfall with the Chicago Cubs. In 2004, while the Chicago Cubs were considered a lock to win the National League Wild Card, they choked the Wild Lead away during the last week of the season. But, perhaps, the most disappointing news that resulted from the Cubs missing in the playoffs was the reaction that the Cubs made after the season. Instead of putting the blame on his coaching staff or even the players, Dusty Baker put the blame on the broadcasting crew for the way they ridiculed the team down the stretch in 2004. General Manager Jim Hendry seemed to agree with Baker, as the Cubs replaced fan favorite Chip Caray and Steve Stone.  The following season in 2005 and 2006 were really no different. Baker lost control of the team, and those two of the worst years the Chicago Cubs have incurred over the past decade.

Then came 2007, when Jim Hendry passed on Joe Girardi, and decided to hire Lou Piniella as the next manager of the Chicago Cubs. In almost a deja vu, the goal of the Piniella regime was to for Piniella to finally be the manager to lead the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory since 1908. Hmmmm, sounds a lot like the goals that Dusty Baker had for the Chicago Cubs.

Whatever Lou Piniella wanted, General Manager Jim Hendry essentially gave him. In 2007, Hendry went spend happy and signed Alfonso Soriano, to and extremely outrageous and overvalued contract. Hendry hyped Soriano as being a 5 tool Center Fielder, considering that Soriano is now the Left Fielder for the Chicago Cubs, that just shows how much Hendry mis-evaluated Soriano when he was a free agent. In 2008, Lou Piniella wanted a left handed run producer. Consequently, Hendry signed Kosuke Fukudome to a 4 year deal at $48MM. Hendry hyped Fukudome as being a hitter who can hit for a high average and drive in a lot of runs. With that said, entering the final year of his contract, Fukudome is considered the Cubs reserve outfielder and the Cubs are looking to trade him. In 2009, Lou Piniella wanted to add “attitude” to the team. So, Hendry said bye bye to fan favorite’s Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa, and said Hello to Milton Bradley in a 3 year/ $30MM type of welcoming. Seriously, do I even have to say how Hendry was wrong with that decision?

Then, we welcome a new owners in the Ricketts family, and the Chairman Tom Ricketts. I remember, Ricketts saying there would be sweeping changes the Chicago Cubs front office, and yet, the Front Office has gone untouched since Ricketts took over the team. Ricketts also mentioned that he wanted the Cubs baseball organization to be ran like the Boston Red Sox. Well, that can never happen as long as Jim Hendry is still the General Manager.

There are plenty of differences between Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry. For one, Epstein is an excellent baseball mind. During his regime, the Boston Red Sox have enjoyed success through both their farm system and making smart investments through free agency. Hendry on the other hand, has depleted the Cubs farm system until recent years, and handcuffed what the Cubs do financially with the massive and unwarranted contracts that he gave to players he seemingly overrated.

So, with all this in mind, I would like to issue a warning to Mike Quade. While he may seem as your friend, and be willing to give anything you need. He would not hesitate to get rid of you, if it meant keeping his job. So Good Luck Quade, considering how much Hendry demolished any chance of winning within the next two or three years.