Blog Entry

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

Posted on: August 1, 2011 5:19 pm
By Matt Snyder

If I didn't know any better, I'd think Jim Hendry was actively trying to get himself fired.

Over the weekend, the Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went. The Cubs traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians along with almost $4 million for two minor prospects. That's all they did. This is the second-worst team in baseball, on pace to have its worst season since 1981. And Hendry held tightly to every player with any trade value.

Reports indicated the Rangers asked about Carlos Marmol. Nope, Hendry's holding onto him, despite the public knowledge that closers not named Hoffman or Rivera usually have a short shelf life and Marmol doesn't have near the stuff he had three years ago.

Reports indicated the Braves inquired about Marlon Byrd. Nope, can't have him. He's only signed for one more season and is 33 years old.

Reports indicated the Pirates had some interest in Carlos Pena. Nope, that didn't happen. Pena's a free agent at the end of the season and superstars Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder could be available as well. The Pirates instead traded for Derrek Lee, who isn't near the player Pena is anymore -- unless you ignore everything but batting average.

Hendry also announced to the public that middle reliever Sean Marshall and utility backup Jeff Baker were untouchable. Marshall is a stud left-handed reliever. He's certainly still young enough to be part of the future core, but what's wrong with seeing what kind of a return he'd bring from a contender? Baker, well, I have absolutely no explanation as to why a general manager would publicly state a backup is not for sale.

Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster may have provided decent returns to varying levels, too, in a weak starting pitching market. Aramis Ramirez said he won't waive his no-trade clause, but it's always a possibility that greasing the wheel would have made Ramirez change his mind.

But no, Hendry instead believes the Cubs can contend in 2012. So he's holding onto nearly everyone. Again, this is a team that is currently on pace to go 64-98. What's going to be different? Don't give me injury excuses. Look at the Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Rangers, Giants, Yankees and ... nevermind. Maybe the Cubs will be major players on the free agent market, but therein lies the issue again. Is Hendry going to land Pujols or Fielder? I don't know, but if that's part of the plan, why is Pena still on the roster Monday? Jose Reyes isn't going anywhere -- grabbing him could allow the Cubs to move poor defensive shortstop Starlin Castro to second or third -- and the starting pitching market is likely to be void of any frontline starters, unless something shocking happens with CC Sabathia. Adam Wainwright and Roy Oswalt might be out there, but one is coming off Tommy John surgery and the other seems to be aging poorly. So Hendry's going to have to trade from the Cubs' uninspiring farm system or just run out virtually the same sad team in 2012. That's an utterly disgraceful plan, one worthy of costing the boss his job.

What should he have done? Well, at the very least he should have said every single player -- save for maybe Castro -- was available and seen what kind of offers came in. Just making guys available doesn't mean you have to trade them. The roster is not close to being competitive, even in a bad NL Central, and a few free agent signings aren't going to change anything. He needs to build the farm system from the ground up and then head into free agency with a plan of building around one or two stars -- like Fielder -- with an emphasis on youth. He also needs to stop backloading deals and crippling the future payroll. Maybe Hendry couldn't have gotten much back for any of the above players I mentioned, but the team as is won't be competing for anything for several years. It was a perfect time to begin the rebuiling process. As far as I can tell, the only thing that prevented that was delusion -- or that a firesale would have been his fault and he doesn't want to admit it.

Now, the Hendry supporters might point to him guiding the Cubs to the playoffs in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Let's remember, however, the Cubs' payroll and baseball's market disparity in this day and age. Prior to Hendry's stint as a GM, the Cubs had a significantly smaller payroll before they were allowed to open the floodgates. This season, the only teams with a higher payroll are the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Angels and White Sox. What do all those teams have in common in the last 10 years? I'll give you hint, the Cubs don't have one in the last century-plus. In 2010, only two teams had a higher payroll. Same for 2009. The 2008 Cubs might have been the best team in baseball during the regular season, but they choked in the playoffs and Hendry overreacted by completely altering the roster -- headlined by dealing clubhouse favorite Mark DeRosa and signing cancer Milton Bradley. It's been all downhill since. I honestly think I'd have fired him after 2009.

The Cubs have over $50 million coming off the books before the 2012 season. If Hendry is still around, he's liable to bury the franchise with more awful contracts -- a la Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, John Grabow and Kosuke Fukudome -- in his typical band-aid-on-a-broken-leg approach. There's no question he should be fired. The only question is if Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has the stones to do so. Ricketts is an incredibly nice man who walks around Wrigley Field shaking hands and asking for feedback. He's publicly supported Hendry and used the injuries excuse. He almost seems too nice to fire anyone.

As a lifelong Cubs fan, I have some feedback for Mr. Ricketts: Quit being so nice.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 3:27 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:06 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:55 am

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

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Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:42 am

Hindsight: Snyder is smart

Just re-read your article Mr. Snyder. You were 100 percent absolutely right. 
Nice job.


Since: Jul 17, 2011
Posted on: August 2, 2011 8:36 pm

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

The best thing the Cubs did for Sandberg was not hire him.  I think he will make a good manager but he couldn't have saved the Cubs from the mess their in now.  I would like to see either Steve Stone or Greg Maddux as GM.  I would also love to see the Cubs somehow bring Grace and Sutcliffe back as announcers.  They should fire Hendry now and let one of the other guys take over and start correcting the mess the team is in.  Keep Quade on as manager for at least one more season until they rebuild.  If Quade proves himself then let him stay otherwise adios.  In a couple of years bring in either Sandberg or maybe Girardi. 
I dont mean to blame this on Hendry, hindsight is 20/20.  A few of these big signings  should have paid better dividends but didn't.  The difference between the Cubs and other big market teams (yankees/red sox) is that the Cubs go into each season hoping to maybe win their division.  The Yankees and Red Sox expect to win the World Series every season anything less is failure. 
  I'm only waiting for the Cubs to make the biggest mistake in franchise history by moving out of Wrigley Field.  The the place is a tourist destination for baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike.  Move the Cubs into some new concrete monstrousity and it would destroy eveything that makes them even somewhat enjoyable.  Granted Wrigley Field is a dump and falling apart but its a piece of history that is alive with the neighborhood around it.  Attendance the first few seasons in a new stadium would be good as you would get curiousity seekers but eventually that would wear off and you would be stuck with a habitually bad team that plays in a park surrounded by acres of empty parking and worse of all NO BARS.  Fans will eventually stop coming unless the team would be in a pennant race (not likely). 

I don't like the Cubs but I still would go to a game there now because the day or night doesn't begin or end with the game.  You can go there on any game day without tickets and still have a good time in the neighborhood surrounding the park. 

Wait a second am I off topic?

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:00 pm

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

Fat dumd & stupid =Jim Hendry.  Only Keny Williams he of the gotta have Alex Rios & Adam Dunn mentality are dumber than you`re fat ass. This is an overpaid slop who has "managed" the sCrubs into oblivion.  The trade gates should be open and at any cost as the current roster is DOG SHIT!!!!!  Hendry you fat, dumb waste of space!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:19 pm

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

If either of you want to further the conversation, you can email me:

Since: Dec 26, 2008
Posted on: August 2, 2011 6:54 am

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity


That is awsome that you are responding to posts, and you are right. Do you really think that people with the Cubs really buy the injuries exuse or is that just a smoke screen? Not trading Gorzelanny, keeping Cashner in the pen where he has been most of his career, or being able have at least one guy capable of throwing 5 innings in the minors could have prevented this mess.

And Fukudome is just another part of the trend of hendry dumping vets for garbage: maddux, lilly, DeRosa (check Archers AA numbers...) I would rather have the Indians pay more than take on what looks like worthless prospects.
Finally does ricketts realize the financial impact of keeping Hendry? Cubs fans are mad this year, but they will be furious if he is still the GM in 2012, and I for one wont be going to a Cubs game next year if Hendry is the Gm, and I am not alone.

Since: Aug 1, 2011
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:07 am

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

Matt, I do apologize for the insults, those were uncalled for.  We can agree to disagree.  After reading the article I assumed you were just a casual fan who collected bits and pieces of information without verifying how legit these rumors are.  I am just a fan who enjoys ready articles by people who know what they are talking about. I would have hoped you had more sources than just tweets from other people.  You start your points with "reports", as if you had multiple sources.  Aren't these reports just one tweet per person? I am tired of reading sports articles from casual fans who do not follow the sport or team.  A great example of this are the writers who call the Red Sox winners because they picked up "a craft left-handed pitcher".  They picked up Erik Berard.  This article seemed to be the same way. Cubs do not make a move so lets rip them.  Do you not think they tried to trade people? Hell Rosenthal and Olney both reported Cubs were willing to eat 80% of Zambrano's salary and a similiar amount on Soriano's contract if someone took them, no one bit.  Why wouldn't you put that in the article?  Another issue are saying Braves inquired about Byrd making it seem like Hendry turned down a good offer.  If they called and offered C or D prospects, I do not see the benefit.  I was able to open those tweets from George but those were never brought up by anyone else, it just seems if Texas asked about Marmol some other media would have picked it up. I also did not see or hear that anywhere else besides the tweet.  And for getting 25 cents on the dollar, Cubs paid all but around $770K of Fukedome's contract and only received 2 organizational prospects.  If you trade the players like Pena, Marshall, etc for 25 cents on the dollar who are you going to get to replace them.  The Cubs minor leagues are not very good.  They would be fighting with the Astros for last place and 100+ losses every year.  Len Casper has said a couple times in the past week that Hendry is looking into bringing Rameriz and Pena back because they do not have a minor leaguer to take ove
Once again I apologize for offending you.  I just wish you would have put that the sources were a single tweet on each player.  To say "reports" gives the reader the impression that there are more than one fact-checked reports,not a single tweet.


Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:44 pm

Jim Hendry's inexcusable, inexplicable inactivity

He's a WGN reporter.

If you read the whole post, you'd know the answer to your last question. Specifically the last line.

I didn't say the Braves made an offer for Byrd. I said there was a report they "inquired."

Look, I'm fine with disagreement. You think the Cubs should hold onto some of those guys instead of trading for what you don't deem great returns. I think 25 cents on the dollar is better than zero cents on the dollar and whole organization needs to be revamped. I'm fine with disagreement. But whatever happened to respectful disagreement. If we have different opinions that doesn't make either one of us a bad person. There's no reason to go nuts and name-call and make baseless conclusions.

I respect the fact that you don't believe any of those guys needed to be moved. I disagree, but disagreement is OK.

See, not that difficult.

Thanks for reading.

- Matt

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