A Farewell To Jim Hendry Part 2


Yesterday was Jim Hendry day. More specifically, it was a day for all Cubs fans to celebrate the news that they have been anxiously waiting to hear. That being that now former general manager of the Cubs Jim Hendry has been fired by the Ricketts’ family. The decision to fire Hendry marks the first significant move that the Ricketts’ family has made regarding baseball operations. As I mentioned yesterday, this should mark the beginning of how the Ricketts’ family intends to run the organization. For the past two years, the Cubs’ ownership group was operating with the front office officials that were from the previous owners’ of the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Tribune Company.

But beginning with the hiring of the next general manager, the Ricketts family will finally have “their people” in the team’s front office. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the media yesterday to discuss the criteria for the next Cubs’ general manager, who will come from outside of the organization.

"“We didn’t win enough games,” Ricketts said Friday, before praising Hendry as a baseball man and person. “In a culture of accountability, we need to look at these kinds of results. Secondly, our goal is to win the World Series, and to do that, we have to get better. I just believe that by bringing in new leadership for the baseball organization, we’ll get some different perspectives and maybe some different ideas on where to go in the future."

While Hendry did have a winning record overall, it is no secret that under his leadership, the Cubs have struggled to remain a consistent contender. Going back to the Ricketts’ family introductory press conference, the main goal that they established was that the Cubs should be consistent contenders and be a perennial playoff team. The last time the Cubs were a playoff team was in 2008, but that can be easy to forget, seeing as they were swept out of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The writing was on the wall that Hendry has gone as far as he could with the Cubs as their general manager. Hendry was given the opportunity to have three different managers, hand out big contract after big contract, and has had several disappointing Cubs’ teams over the course of his 9 years as Cubs general manager. There is not much more that Hendry could have done to improve the the Cubs that he hasn’t tried already. Credit the Ricketts’ family for realizing that.

The next step for the Ricketts’ family is to begin the process of finding the next general manager of the Chicago Cubs. Unlike their manager search last year, candidates from inside of the organization will not be in consideration. Meaning the next general manager of the Cubs will come from outside of the organization. The early favorites would appear to be Rick Hahn, assistant general manager of the Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman. Though Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Josh Byrnes of the San Diego Padres have also been mention. Though, the Cubs would be wise to stay away from both Colletti and Byrnes. The famous Pat Gillick has also been mentioned, but, Gillick does not appear to be interested in joining the Cubs’ front office.

But after hearing Ricketts speak about his requirements for the next general manager of the Cubs, it would seem to confirm all the reports that link Hahn and Cashman to the Cubs’ general manager position.

"Ricketts said he’ll be looking for a candidate with strong player development skills and a winning track record.“When I look at the candidates, I kind of see a couple of criteria,” Ricketts said. “I see No. 1 they’ll have to share a commitment to player development, which obviously is the key to consistent success. I think we can look for guys that have a little stronger analytical background than maybe some of the guys we have here. Someone who has worked with some of the new tools, that would be a plus.“And then someone who’s been in a winning culture and who can bring the lessons of that over and has a track record of success. The sabermetric stuff is important, but it’s just a piece. We’re not running the baseball organization by a computer model. ”Ricketts said the new GM will report directly to him, meaning the team will likely not bring in someone else at  the level of team president."

Judging by those comments, Cashman may have the slight advantage over Hahn. While the Yankees have always been known for “buying” championships, Cashman’s ability to develop players should not go unmentioned. While the Yankees do have Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and C.C. Sabathia it may be easy for people to forget that Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Robinson Cano were all players that came from within the Yankees organization. Not to mention that FanGraphs listed the New York Yankees as the top organization in all of baseball this season when you combine their current roster and their future talent a rating of 90.0. So needless to say, Ricketts was describing Cashman without actually saying his name.

With Crane Kenney now being taken out of the baseball operations, as Ricketts said the new general manager will report directly to the him, Kenney will likely remain as the team president. Kenney is a very good on the business side of the Cubs organization, and seeing as the general manager will no longer report to him, Kenney can focus exclusively on the business side of the Cubs organization.

The search for the Cubs next general manager is already under way, though, there is a good chance that the Cubs will not name their new general manager until after the World Series.