Risky Business For Jim Hendry


Ever since it has been reported that team chairman Tom Ricketts will be holding a press conference to discuss the Cubs future, there have been daily rumors involving the job security of general manager Jim Hendry. The Hendry rumors began last weekend when Bob Nightengale tweeted that Hendry was safe barring a change of thinking by the Ricketts family. But that tweet by Nightengale has been received with a lot of rebuttals by local reporters who believe Hendry is on borrowed time in the Cubs front office.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated acknowledges that Hendry has a good rapport with the Ricketts family, and the respect that the Ricketts family has for Hendry may be enough for the long-time Cubs general manager to keep his job. However, Heyman now believes that it is far from a certainty that Hendry will be back next season as the Cubs general manager. Heyman suggests that many reporters have misread the “nice comments” about Hendry and took those comments as if it meant Hendry will be back next season. In fact, Heyman cites a source familiar with the situation that suggests that Hendry is “at risk” of losing his job.

To use a popular facebook phrase, the truth is…we just do not know what is going to happen with Hendry after the season. The only thing we know is that Tom Ricketts is indeed very cautious when making business decisions, which would be why the Cubs chairman has always deferred questions about Hendry’s status until after the season. Even with the upcoming press conference about the Cubs future, I’m not so sure we will have an answer on Hendry until after the season. Because it is my estimation that the Ricketts press conference will be about how the Cubs plan to improve as an organization for the future, and not necessarily what changes will be made within the Cubs’ front office. Coming off of a very successful draft, and touring the minor league system, it would make sense for Ricketts to focus on the improvement of the organization rather than the front office.

Having said that, there are some things to look for when Ricketts takes the podium to address the Cubs future. There is no question that Ricketts will be asked about Hendry, and his response to that question will be key. There is one of three things that Ricketts will say: Hendry is under contract for the 2012 season, thus, he will enter the season as our general manager; we will evaluate our front office officials after the season and then make a decision; or Ricketts avoids the question completely. The key is whether or not Hendry is given a vote of confidence by Ricketts. If he does, then there is a good chance that Hendry will indeed remain in place. But if Ricketts for whatever reason does not address Hendry’s status, then that may signal that Hendry’s time as Cubs general manager will be coming to an end.

There still is no official date for the Ricketts press conference, but the fans are anxiously waiting for changes, make it happen Tom.