Was Crane Kenney The Hold-Up?


Throughout the past decade, there has always been one controversial figure in the Chicago Cubs’ front office. With a new power team in place in President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer, one would have to wonder how much longer that controversial figure will remain in the Cubs’ front office. The controversial figure I am speaking of is none other then Crane Kenney. If there was anybody that should have been fired in addition to former GM Jim Hendry it was Kenney. In fact, Hendry’s firing may have resulted from the actions of Kenney. Hendry has been blamed for the bad contracts and the failure to acquire Jake Peavy–which actually looks like a smart move now–while Kenney has quietly gone about his business as the team president.

With Theo Epstein’s deal now finalized, and officially having the President of Baseball Operations title that would seem to mean that Kenney would be banished from the baseball side of the organization. Indeed, he has been. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Kenney will now operate under the title of President of Business Operations. But before Epstein’s deal with the Cubs became official, Kenney was participating in baseball decisions and tagged along with Cubs’ Chairman Tom Ricketts in the pursuit of Epstein. The Tribune spins Kenney in a positive light. As Sullivan cites sources close to the Ricketts family that the family believes Kenney was crucial in the pursuit of Epstein, as Kenney assured Epstein that he would have full control of the baseball operations and only have to report directly to Ricketts.

That is it how it should be. Kenney is not a baseball man, he is a business. There is no question that Kenney has some value to the front office when he is making business decisions, but over recent seasons, Kenney has been invovled in baseball decisions. News came out towards the end of the season that while Hendry was negotiating the contract for then free agent Alfonso Soriano in 2007, the general manager was working on proposed six year deal worth approximately $100 million. Towards the final stages of the contract negotiations, while Hendry was on an airplane, Kenney stepped over Hendry and signed Soriano to an eight year, $136 million contract. That contract will likely go down as one of the worst in Major League Baseball history, and all because Kenney–with the Tribune Company’s endorsing–wanted to add value to a franchise that was being sold.

Despite the positive light that Sullivan tries to shine on Kenney, I have heard the opposite. Mike Lynch, sports reporter for the ABC in Boston, reported that Kenney was the one holding up the negotiations between the Cubs and Boston Red Sox in an effort to look out “for his own interests.” Lynch also added that Kenney may be in the doghouse of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. This should surprise no one. It is no secret that Kenney is arrogant, and the fact that Kenney probably was the one holding up the Epstein deal is unbelievable. It is no secret that Kenney saw the writing on the wall. After being able to do as he pleases over the past decade, Kenney is now facing a guy in Epstein that he could no longer dictate.

My disdain for Kenney could be causing this post to be biased, but this should be a fire-able offense by Kenney. Granted, I have been looking for just about the past two seasons for anything that would justify Rickett firing Kenney. This latest misfortune by Kenney would certainly justify Kenney being fired. Kenney was interfering with the improvement of the organization by potentially holding up the Epstein negotiations for his own interests.” It is no secret what those interests are, Kenney does not want to be banished from the baseball side of the organization. The attention seeking misfit that Kenney is wanted to continue to dictate the moves of the general manager, and obviously, that is something that was never going to happen with Epstein and now Jed Hoyer in place. There should be more credit given to Ricketts now, as he was the one who probably convinced Epstein that Kenney will be on a leash and not interfere in baseball decisions.

Excuse me while I look for a circus that is interested in hiring Clown Kenney.