Jim Hendry Out as Cubs GM
Wow. CSN's David Kaplan breaks the news on Twitter:
Just a few days after USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported:David Haugh and Jon Heyman confirm:
The Cubs are scheduled to address the media at 11:15, WGN Radio reports.
The long-term problems with the team were well-known, but there's speculation that it's part of Sam Zell's legacy:
The perception that Hendry wasted money on salaries that didn't work out is part fact and part fiction. Certainly the free-agent signings of Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley go on the wrong side of the voucher for Hendry. But the Cubs GM was given a mandate by Zell and then-president John McDonough to spend a lot of money on free agents after a horrific 2006 season.
Zell's perspective was that he wanted the team at top-player and top-performance mode in order to sell the franchise at a peak, which of course he did at $855 million while retaining five percent.
But fans and pundits have been calling for Hendry's head since the Cubs stood pat at the trade deadline.*
Update: Listening to Hendry on WGN radio—he sounds like he's holding back tears—he mentions that he thinks Ricketts wants his successor to have plenty of time to work in the off-season*, which is a pretty classy way of looking at it. He's also going down through the organization, thanking everyone from Andy MacPhail to his assistants. "I will leave here with nothing but gratefulness for the opportunity to have been a part of an organization for 17 years."
* Update II: Sorry, misunderstood what Hendry was saying; the radio cut away from the conference. Apparently Hendry was fired before the trade deadline, via Jimmy Greenfield...
...and that's why the Cubs were so quiet at the trade deadline. That's surprising.
One reaction to that news, via Julie DiCaro:
Update III: Paul Sullivan weighs in:
Good point from Buster Olney, one of my favorite baseball writers:
It's true, but one caveat: the market for pitching this offseason, the Cubs' biggest problem this year, isn't all that great. It will likely be good the year afterwards, though.
Photograph: Chicago Tribune