Tag:Jim Hendry
Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Yankees hire Jim Hendry as special assistant

By Matt Snyder

Jim Hendry was the Cubs' general manager from 2002 until last August. He was notified he would be fired last July, but stayed on until late August to aid in the transition. He wasn't unemployed for long, however, because the Yankees have hired Hendry as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. The news was first reported by ESPN Chicago.

Hendry, 56, led the Cubs to three NL Central championships (2003, 2007, 2008), but the latter two teams were swept in the NLDS and Hendry left the cupboard pretty bare for the new Cubs administration, headed up by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Hendry started working for the Cubs in 1995 and there aren't many people in the business who dislike him as a person. He's also known to have a very strong work ethic.

It's possible this job will be a stepping stone for Hendry getting another shot at GM, as Kevin Towers was fired from being the Padres' GM post in 2009 and took a similar position with Cashman and the Yankees. Towers was then hired as the Diamondbacks' GM, his current job.

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Posted on: November 5, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Cubs continue rounding out brain trust



By Matt Snyder


Late Friday night, news broke that the Cubs had hired Joe Bohringer as director of pro scouting (ESPN Chicago). And the praise on Twitter soon followed. Keith Law of ESPN.com noted the Angels were also after Bohringer's services. Baseball author Jonah Keri said "Joe is GREAT, Cubs fans should be thrilled." Baseball America's Jim Callis noted it was "another tremendous hire by the Cubs." Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus said it was a "fantastic" hire.

The hiring possibly completes the major front-office moves in Wrigleyville, where they've added president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod and now Bohringer. Already in place were assistant general manager Randy Bush, scouting director Tim Wilken and personnel director Oneri Fleita.

One takeaway from the Bohringer hire is how much a Mickey Mouse operation the Cubs were previously running. Bush had reportedly been pulling double duty, serving as both the pro scouting director and assistant GM. This coming from one of the biggest money-making teams in the bigs. What a joke. But the laughs are beginning to subside now.

Allow me to formally apologize to Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. Back in early September I said that Ricketts locking up Fleita could possibly sabotage his search for a general manager -- namely that it took the possibility of a "home-run hire" off the board. Boy, was I wrong. It could be argued Ricketts has hit several homers these past few weeks.

Epstein won two World Series with the Red Sox. Hoyer and McLeod have left the Padres' farm system in great shape and had helped Epstein build the Red Sox foundation (say what you will about spending, but Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard -- just to name a few -- were homegrown). Bohringer has 21 years of scouting experience (after graduating from MIT) and has been a lead scout for the Diamondbacks since 2006. Fleita was being courted by the Tigers before the Cubs re-signed him.

Obviously, front office personnel don't immediately pay on-field dividends nor do they necessarily equate to championships in the future. Further, these hires don't necessarily mean the Cubs have the smartest front office in the bigs. But the fact is that the Ricketts family has done absolutely everything they could possibly do this offseason to put a brilliant baseball brain trust in place. Success is not even close to being guaranteed, but simply seeing the effort is a departure from how things have been throughout Cubs history.

Now Cubs fans just need to be patient with the new brain trust -- as it's going to be a long process -- in hopes that on-field history is made as well.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Chicago Cubs

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Chicago Cubs
Record: 70-90, 24 games back in NL Central
Manager: Mike Quade
Best hitter: Aramis Ramirez -- .306/.360/.506, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 79 R, 35 2B
Best pitcher: Matt Garza -- 9-10, 3.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 189 K, 191 IP

After the 2008 season, the Cubs were in the middle of a bit of a golden era in the franchise. They had been division champions three times in a six-year span. That isn't saying much for a lot of teams, but this franchise hadn't had that kind of success since playing in the World Series four out of five seasons from 1906-1910. Alas, they were swept in the NLDS in 2008, despite having the best regular-season record in the National League, so general manager Jim Hendry decided to do some tinkering. The Cubs finished just five games over .500 in 2009 before coming in fifth place in 2010 and are currently in fifth again. And Hendry's out of a job, likely to be followed by Quade and some other coaches.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They were 9-8 and tied for first place after the first game of a doubleheader on April 20, but that was the high point in the standings. The Cubs would go on to lose six of seven games and never be a serious threat the rest of the way. They fell to 10 games back on June 4 and never got closer than nine back in the Central from that point forward. They actually moved up to fourth place September 19 for the first time since May 26, but the overwhelming majority of the season has been spent in fifth place, thanks to the lowly Astros. The biggest positives: Starlin Castro is well on his way to being a major-league star, Darwin Barney appears an adequate option at second base, Matt Garza had a good season, Sean Marshall is still great in middle-to-late inning relief and Jeff Samardzija finally doesn't look like a huge bust. The biggest negative is that this appears to be a badly flawed roster with not near enough help on the way from the minors.

2012 AUDIT

This is the toughest assignment of the R.I.P. series, because there's no way to know the direction of the ballclub until a new general manager is hired. The club is not immediately set up to compete, but there's a stipulation: With more than $50 million in payroll falling off before 2012 and even more off the books before '13, the Cubs could decide to be a major player in free agency. The franchise has enough money to grab, for example, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and still have money left over to bolster the bullpen and find a fill-in at third base. On the other hand, many would argue that still isn't enough to make the Cubs immediate contenders in the National League. If the new GM agrees, he might be more in favor of leaving the payroll low for a season or two while building the system with a youthful foundation before pouncing on big-name free agents to fill holes in 2013 or 2014. One thing that should scare fellow franchises in the NL Central if the Cubs choose to spend big in the near future, is that the Cubs are clear of all big contracts except Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol (and Matt Garza likely has a deal by then, too, I'd guess) prior to 2013 and Marmol's off after '13. They have the resources to be the Red Sox of the NL. It's just a matter of if the Cubs can put the correct plan in place, and that all comes down to who chairman Tom Ricketts hires as his next GM.

FREE AGENTS

Aramis Ramirez, 3B (mutual option)
Carlos Pena, 1B
Reed Johnson, OF
Ryan Dempster, SP (player option for '12)
John Grabow, RP
Jeff Samardzija, RP (club option for '12 and '13)

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Where to even begin? This roster is a mess. First of all, I'd listen to offers for everyone except Starlin Castro. That doesn't mean you have to trade guys like Barney, Marshall or Soto, but you never know if the return might work with the game plan of the new GM. Let's sort through some of this and see what can be done short-term with the eyes on the future. My goal would be to contend in 2013. If it happens in 2012, that's just gravy.
  • Get Prince Fielder. He's 27 and incredibly durable (has never played less than 157 games in a full season). He'd then be the anchor for the Cubs for the foreseeable future, even if it takes a few years to build around him and Castro. Also of importance, if you bat Castro second and Fielder third, Castro's strike zone woes become less an issue (though he has walked more times than he's struck out in September, so it's getting better already).
  • Give Andrew Cashner one last shot to stay healthy in the rotation and also see if Samardzija can be successful as a starter. Having a rotation of Garza, Dempster, Randy Wells, Cashner and Samardzija won't be winning any championships, but Dempster is gone after 2012 and there'd be plenty of money to go after free agents. By then, they Cubs will know if they need just one guy or up to four with Garza. And the list of free agent starters after next season could have some big names -- assuming they aren't granted contract extensions -- like Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Shaun Marcum and James Shields.
  • Read the riot act to Carlos Marmol. Considering the Cubs likely can't contend in 2012 and Marmol is signed through 2013, he has one year to fix himself. Marmol has blown an MLB-high 10 saves (he's tied with Jordan Walden). You can't count on closers to be perfect, but let's say Marmol only blew four saves, which is a very reasonable percentage. The Cubs would be 76-84, which isn't awful at all considering some of the injury issues and poor roster construction.
  • Give Bryan LaHair a shot in right field. LaHair is 28, so he's hardly a prospect, but it's possible he's a late bloomer like Ryan Ludwick or Jayson Werth. LaHair had 38 home runs, 109 RBI and a 1.070 OPS in 129 Triple-A games. He's hitting .309/.391/.545 in 19 games for the Cubs this season. Again, the eyes are on 2013 here, so if he flames out as many expect, you can address the position next offseason. But he's at least earned the chance to get an extended look in the bigs.
  • If the Cubs do fall out of contention in 2012, Marlon Byrd needs to be traded at the deadline and prospect Brett Jackson can then take over in center field. If Jackson is deemed ready earlier in the season and LaHair doesn't pan out, Byrd could be moved to right. 
  • I'd personally bring back Aramis Ramirez for two or three years, assuming the Cubs don't have to break the bank. The last thing they need is another albatross contract, so if he's demanding something like four years and $50 million, it's time to move on. But if it's reasonable, it makes sense to keep him. He's only 33 and has shown has can still swing the bat. He's got to have two to three years left of above-average production at third base. Prospect Josh Vitters had completely fallen off all prospect rankings prior to this season, but rebounded with a decent showing in Double-A this season (.283/.322/.448 with 14 homers, 81 RBI and 28 doubles) and he's still only 21. In two years, the Cubs will have an idea if he is going to be the next third baseman or not. If not, they can look outside the organziation or perhaps someone in the farm system will have emerged. Keeping Ramirez is a natural bridge to when it comes to that.
And there's a lot more, too, but those are the big ones.

The main thing here is the hire a new GM that puts the main focus on building the minor-league system. That way in a few years free agency won't be the only avenue to fill out a winning ballclub. Remember, people complain about the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies in free agency, but lots of players -- Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and several others were developed from within the respective systems. The Cubs have been terrible at developing their own in recent years and leaned on trades and free agency to bail them out. It needs to be a combination or everything will eventually fall apart like it did this season. From there, they can start to think about breaking a faux-curse and easing the pain of the legions of true fans.

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 9:56 am
 

Pepper: Penny the language enforcer



By Matt Snyder


In Thursday's Pepper, we passed along the story of Tigers pitcher Brad Penny yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez while he ran hard after an infield popup. Rays manager Joe Maddon -- the most popular manager there is -- was furious after the game, believing Penny took issue with Rodriguez's hustle. I thought it was pretty ridiculous myself.

But Penny wanted to clarify things, obviously having heard the story spread a bit. He actually says he took issue with Rodriguez "screaming and cussing" in anger after having popped up.

"To me, that's a sign of disrespect if you're screaming that loud," Penny said (TampaBay.com). "All these kids can hear you, it's not too loud in here. So to me, that's not really professional."

Penny also noted he was disappointed anyone thought he didn't like hustle, saying he loves hustle and would be mad if players did not hustle.

It's hard to take issue with Penny trying to keep the ears of youngsters in Tampa Bay clean, but it's a bit odd to start yelling at an opposing player for it. As far as I could find via Google, this has never happened with Penny before. He's faced 7,819 batters in his career, so it's hard to believe an opposing batter has never cussed in frustration before. What about teammates of Penny over the years? Also, Penny currently plays for Jim Leyland -- have you ever read his lips when he's getting tossed from a game?

Again, I don't find fault with Penny wanting to prevent kids from hearing what is, frankly, going on in every single baseball game of the season. It just seems a bit odd that "watch your mouth" would ever be part of a major-league baseball game. As a parent, I'd like to express that it's my job to teach my children about inappropriate language and be their role model, not Penny's.

Berkman wants to come back: Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman is enjoying a resurgent season for the Cardinals and he told reporters this week he wants to remain in St. Louis, if they'll have him. He said staying was his "first choice." (MLB.com)

#4TRUTH: That hashtag is what jailed ex-MLB player Lenny Dykstra uses on Twitter after most of his tweets. It's seemingly to help promote that he's innocent in the multiple crimes for which he's been charged. Add another to the list, because he's now being charged with indecent exposure (Associated Press). He would allegedly place ads online for housekeepers or personal assistants and would expose himself to responders.

So long, Jim Hendry Way: It's been a rough six weeks for Jim Hendry. Not only did he lose his job and have to act like he still had it for nearly a month, but now he's losing his street in Park Ridge -- where he lives. A portion of Northwest Highway was renamed Honorary Jim Hendry Way back in 2009, but now it's being changed back. Apparently, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich forced the name and the town never wanted it in the first place. Now that Blago is headed for the slammer, the sign is coming down. To rub salt in the wound, check out this quote: "Of course, if he had brought us a World Series, I would have built a monument to him at the intersection. But, alas, all he brought us was Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano," mayor Dave Schmidt joked in an email (ChicagoTribune.com). Zing!

Crafty lefties: In honor of the recently-deceased Mike Flanagan, Joe Posnanski came up with a Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame. Pretty cool stuff, as usual, from Joe.

25 things you didn't know: Yahoo's Jeff Passan compiled a really interesting list of 25 things we didn't know about baseball. For example, Michael Young and Howie Kendrick haven't popped out all season, Jonny Venters gets the highest percentage of grounders in a decade and Brett Gardner is the best defensive player in baseball.

Add another name to the list: Thursday, I presented several rumored names on the Cubs' wish list to be the next general manager. We can add Dan Evans to the list, as the Chicago Sun-Times makes a good case for him. Evans is a Chicago native who grew up near Wrigley Field. He was an assistant general manager for the White Sox and then the Dodgers GM before the McCourt family took over and got rid of him. Evans was at the helm when Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton were drafted.

Futility: Twins catcher Drew Butera has a chance to do something pretty remarkably bad. He's hitting .160 with 200 plate appearances. Since 1975, no player in the majors has hit .160 or worse with at least 250 plate appearances. (Hardball Talk)

88's the goal: Blue Jays manager John Farrell wants to reach 88 wins this season. The significance is that it would tie the 1998 mark for the most wins since the Jays won the World Series in 1993 (MLB.com). That won't get them anywhere near the playoffs, but would an 88-74 record be enough for the haters to stop saying Jose Bautista plays for a "loser?" (See comments)

Happy Day-versary: 10,000 days ago, Jack Morris threw a no-hitter and Dwight Gooden made his major-league debut. (Hardball Times)

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:39 am
 

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search



By Matt Snyder


Friday will mark exactly one week since the Cubs announced they had fired general manager Jim Hendry. Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts asserted he wants to find a GM with a strong track record, an analytical background and with an emphasis on player development. The latter two criteria would seem to point to someone opposite of Hendry -- who had a recent history of big contracts and trading prospects for veterans. The former criterion points to an experienced general manager, not a first-timer.

So many names have been tossed around for what is absolutely an attractive job. Now, this is where the Cubs haters all jump up and down and start screaming about how bad the Cubs "suck." No one in his right mind can deny nearly any general manager would want this job, though. As the Cubs' general manager, one would have the capability to work with a payroll that dwarfs any other in the NL Central. One would have a rabid fan base that is absolutely desperate for a World Series, so residing over one would be the ultimate sports accomplishment. Also, in the present, the Cubs have more than $50 million falling off the payroll next season, so there's a chance to basically start over. No ballclub can compare to the resources the Yankees have, but there's no reason the Cubs can't eventually be the Red Sox of the National League -- and there is no Yankees in the NL.

With this in mind, you'd have to figure almost every name is initially in the mix with few exceptions. And it sounds like that's true. Let's sum up the recent rumors:

ESPN's Buster Olney said earlier this week that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein "could" be a name for the Cubs to consider. What Epstein did under John Henry's ownership group is something similar to what the Cubs want under the Ricketts family, so it makes sense. Of course, Epstein also has very strong Boston roots and is currently in a better situation than what he'd be taking over with the Cubs. Unless he wants a fresh, new challenge or is simply tired of competing with the Yankees, it doesn't seem like he'd have any incentive to leave. For what it's worth, Henry emailed Red Sox reporters about the speculation:

“This kind of speculation happens from time to time to successful GMs and managers,” Henry wrote (BostonHerald.com). “The Cubs have one of the best presidents in baseball. I think this shows how highly regarded Theo is by the media and baseball in general.”

• Speaking of AL East powers, a "long-odds" option is Ricketts calling Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and trying to convince him to head to Chicago as a package deal with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman's contract does expire at the end of the season. (SunTimes.com) This is total speculation on my part, but there's not much more Cashman could accomplish with the Yankees and he could very well be tired of ownership forcing his hand (a la the Rafael Soriano contract this past offseason that he didn't want to give). Also, keep in mind Girardi had two different stints with the Cubs as a player and was born and raised in Peoria, Ill. This scenario makes sense, if Ricketts could convince the two to leave New York. But, again, this was reported as a long shot.

• More AL East: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been named by pretty much every reporter in the business as a possibility. Friedman should be incredibly attractive because of what he's helped do with the Rays. He now has experience building a farm system basically from the ground up and in Chicago he'd be able to sign and keep higher-priced players. He also wouldn't have to worry about attendance or moving. ESPN's Olney wrote about Friedman's tough decision this coming offseason.

• Another small-market guy who might enjoy getting to have a few extra payroll dollars for once is A's general manager Billy Beane. According to Susan Slusser of SFGate.com, Beane "might consider an offer" if the Cubs came after him. Slusser also reports the Cubs are "expected" to talk to Beane. Another reason Beane might want to bail on Oakland is how long it's taking to get the A's stadium situation resolved. Beane is signed through 2014, but the report indicated owner Lew Wolff would let Beane out of the deal if he wanted.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an option, despite that he's a bit more old-school than Ricketts seemed to say he preferred. In the case of Colletti, one reported benefit would be that he'd bring Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs' manager, the job which Sandberg didn't get last season. (SunTimes.com)

• On the flip-side of much of the above notes, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported that the big names -- Cashman, Beane, Epstein, Friedman -- are not likely to take the job. Heyman instead reports it's going to come down to Rick Hahn and Josh Byrnes. Hahn is the vice president and assistant general manager of the White Sox and is considered a true up-and-comer by several in the business. In fact, several outlets have ranked him as the top GM candidate in baseball (excluding current GMs). The issue, of course, is he doesn't have experience as the top dog. Byrnes is the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and has previously been the GM of the Diamondbacks. He had a hand in putting together the 2007 playoff team, but when things fell apart afterward, he was fired in 2010.

• According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Cashman is "very unlikely" and the Cubs might have to pay something like $10 million a year to pry Epstein away from Boston.

So there you have it. Several huge names, a hot-shot up-and-comer and lots of things we don't know. We need to keep in mind that initial interest in either side doesn't necessarily mean a job offer -- or acceptance of the job offer -- is coming. We also have to keep in mind that guys presently on the job, especially those in the middle of pennant races, will publicly deny interest no matter what.

Ricketts will likely want a new GM in place very quickly once this season ends, but until then -- about five weeks -- we'll continue to see the names swirl.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:35 am
 

Pepper: Pirates send small message with Tabata



By Matt Snyder


The Pirates announced Sunday that they agreed to terms with outfielder Jose Tabata. He'll be paid $14 million over the next six seasons, with options that could keep Tabata in Pittsburgh through 2019 (Associated Press). The deal buys out the remaining three years of arbitration, but that's not the important part -- which is that the Pirates made a long-term commitment to a young player.

Tabata, 23, has a .356 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases and 44 runs this year in 75 games, serving mostly as the leadoff man.

He is certainly no Andrew McCutchen and he's been signed for a pretty cheap deal, but the signal is the same as it was when the Pirates were buyers at the trade deadline: These Pirates aren't a laughing matter anymore. No longer is ownership content to simply be a virtual Triple-A team, developing players only to have them traded or leave via free agency. When they lock up McCutchen, which I fully expect, the signal will be even louder. Granted, the Pirates will never be a large-market spender, but the increased attendance this season shows the fans are still there, should the team become a legitimate contender. Expect the Tabata deal to be the first of several.

Strasburg Watch: Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth rehab start Monday. He'll pitch for Class-A Hagerstown again, where he was shelled last time out. He was dominant in his first two outings, however, so Monday will be a good gauge to see if that was simply an off-day. He's going to be working toward four innings and 65 pitches (Nationals Journal). That's a huge sign, because from 65 pitches, a lot of pitchers jump to 80 next time. Presumably, 80 pitches is enough to get back to the bigs. Strasburg is scheduled to have a fifth rehab start August 27, but if everything goes well in these next two outings, that's likely all he'll need before joining the Nats.

Joe on A.J.: Yankees manager Joe Girardi and struggling starting pitcher A.J. Burnett appeared to exchange some pretty heated words Saturday night, but both Girardi and Burnett said the issue was Burnett's anger at the home plate umpire. Girardi reiterated that sentiment Sunday, but also noted Burnett is on shaky ground due to his pitching performance. "The reality is he needs to pitch better," Girardi said (New York Times baseball blog).

Pronk injured: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single late in Sunday's game, but when he rounded first base, he pulled up lame and limped his way to getting tagged out and back to the dugout. He has a right foot strain, which is a similar injury to one that kept him out for five games earlier in the season (MLB.com).

Time for revenge: It's been a while since the Rangers and Red Sox played. In fact, it was the first series of the season. Many of us may have forgotten the Rangers kicked the Red Sox teeth in for three games, sweeping them and outscoring them 26-11 in three games. It's the only team the Red Sox have played this season and not beaten. Reliever Daniel Bard certainly hasn't forgotten, though, as he said "we owe them something for the first series of the year," Sunday (BostonHerald.com). The two teams square off for a four-game series in Texas, beginning Monday.

Winded Grandyman: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run at Minnesota Sunday, and he was a bit tired after the trip around the bases. “It was good until everyone wanted to talk,” Granderson said (LoHud). ” As we’re coming in, everyone was asking about it, and I couldn’t really talk too much.”

Action Jackson: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson ended Sunday's game by throwing out the would-be tying run at home plate. A game-ending double play scored 8-2 hasn't happened since 1988 when Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke pulled it off, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Swarzak in, Blackburn out: Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn injured his right forearm early in his start against the Yankees Sunday, and it looks like he's headed for the disabled list, as the Twins have already named a replacement in the rotation. Anthony Swarzak will get the spot (Around the Majors). Swarzak is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts this season.

Love for Hendry: Recently-fired Cubs (former) general manager Jim Hendry has been beaten down pretty good in terms of fans, message boards, Twitter, etc. But you rarely hear anything bad about him as a person from his own players, media who know him personally or even opposing players. Former Cubs shorstop Ryan Theriot -- who Hendry traded last season -- joins in, calling Hendry a good person who has a good heart (Chicago Tribune).

Leyland tossed again: Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a pretty nice ejection Sunday, marking the fifth time in the past two months he's been run. The Detroit Free-Press has a list of the five ejections.

On this date: Mark McGwire made his big-league debut 25 years ago today. (Hardball Times)

Oh, Nails: Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra is currently serving time in prison because he filed for bankruptcy and then tried to sell off part of his estate for profit -- which is otherwise known as embezzlement -- and was also accused of lying under oath and trying to hide some of his assets from the bankruptcy court. Apparently, however, Lenny doesn't believe the law applies to him because he was good in the 1993 World Series. Seriously: Read his post by clicking here and let me know if I'm wrong, but I believe that's kind of his argument -- warning, the post has the grammar and spelling of an eight year old. The best part is that Dykstra is delusional enough to believe he's been targeted by a government that wants to redeem itself for the O.J. Simpson case by nailing a celebrity. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. It's amazing.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Which other GMs could be on the way out?

Ed WadeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jim Hendry is the first general manager out heading into this offseason, but it's unlikely he'll be the last. What other GMs could be on the move?

Here's five possibilities ranked from most likely to least likely:

1. Ed Wade, Astros: A new owner often means a new general manager, and if the sale to Jim Crane ever goes through, Wade can expect to find himself on the way out with current owner Drayton McLane. Not only do the Astros have a shot at a historically bad season, there's little hope on the way. That said, Wade did get a nice haul for Hunter Pence, but Pence was still under team control for two more years. The trade of the team's best player wasn't a popular one. 

2. Andy MacPhail, Orioles: Hendry's predecessor with Cubs hasn't had much success in Baltimore, either. MacPhail has the title of "President of Baseball Operations" but is in effect the general manager… for now. MacPhail was hired in June of 2007 and since he's taken over the team has gone 285-413 and lost at least 90 games in each of his three full seasons at the helm and the team is on track to reach that mark again.

3. Jack Zduriencik, Mariners: Zduriencik made a splash in his first season as Mariners general manager, putting together a team that surprised everyone by going 85-77. As good as 2009 was, 2010 was a disaster. Zduriencik was praised by many (myself included) for his offseason moves leading up to the 2010 season, but the Midas touch was gone. The signing of Chone Figgins and trade for Milton Bradley turned out to be disasters, while Ken Griffey Jr. clashed with manager Don Wakamatsu and retired mid-season. The Mariners started 2011 off well, but since their last day at .500 on July 5, the Mariners have gone 10-16 and went from 2 1/2 games out to 18 games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Furthermore, Zduriencik angered many in the organization after denying knowledge of the criminal past of reliever Josh Lueke, who was part of the Cliff Lee deal last year.

4. Neal Huntington, Pittsburgh: Speaking of former darlings, Huntington was the toast of baseball at the All-Star break. The Pirates appeared to be on track to end their string of 18 consecutive losing seasons. Since sitting alone in first place atop the NL Central on July 19, the Pirates have gone 7-20 and sit 14 games back just a month later. There were rumors that Huntington was close to an extension earlier in the season, but recent events could mean instead of a raise for 2012, Huntington is looking for a new job.

5. Brian Cashman, Yankees: While the others on this list may be getting pink slips, Cashman could decide to leave on his own. Former owner George Steinbrenner was infamous for his quick temper and firing employees, but his sons' signature move so far was the undermining of Cashman by signing reliever Rafael Soriano after Cashman said the team had no interest in the former Rays' closer as a setup man for Mariano Rivera. Cashman had a rough offseason with the negotiations with Derek Jeter and Rivera, and could also look for a new challenge to show that he's not been successful only because of the Yankees' deep pockets. Basically, he could be sick of being the GM of the Yankees and decide to move on.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Big contracts defined Hendry's reign

Alfonso SorianoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

During Tom Ricketts' press conference announcing the firing of general manager Jim Hendry, the Cubs owner made it a point that the next general manager would have to focus on "player development," which means (relatively) cheap draft picks and young players under team control instead of quick-fix, big contracts.

The latter are the types of moves that Hendry's tenure in Chicago will be remembered for, and here's the four that he will be remembered for:

1. Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136 million: After the Cubs went 66-96 in 2006, Hendry made a splash in the offseason giving Alfonso Soriano a long-term deal. But like the fat kid doing the belly flop, the splash was just an opportunity to point and laugh. Soriano is a natural designated hitter, which is a problem in the National League. Soriano is in his fifth year with the Cubs and has hit 126 homers in that time, but coming off a 46-home run season in 2006, he's not hit more than 33 in any year with the Cubs, despite playing in homer-friendly Wrigley Field. As a Cub, he's hit .267/.320/.499 and become a favorite whipping boy for Cub fans who have no shortage of players to complain about. He's also due to make $19 million each of the next three seasons and will be 38 in his final season in Chicago.

2. Carlos Zambrano, five years, $91.5 million: The Zambrano contract is the albatross that just keeps on giving, isn't it? Currently on the disqualified list, the Cubs may get $3 million back from Zambrano's lost income during the 30 days he's on the list, but that also puts it into perspective that the Cubs are paying him $3 million a month. When Zambrano signed in Aug. of 2007, he was 26 and coming off a 16-7 season with a 3.41 ERA. However, that was 2006. In 2007 he was 14-9 with a 3.86 ERA on the season and was less than two months removed from a fight in the dugout with his catcher and had just weeks prior blasted Cubs fans. You can't say there weren't warning signs that a five-year deal may not have been the best idea.

3. Milton Bradley, three years, $30 million: If Zambrano's temper wasn't evident enough, there was no doubt that Bradley was a time bomb that wouldn't last three years in a Cubs uniform. The supremely talented outfielder had never spent three full seasons anywhere when Hendry handed him a three-year deal. Hendry gave Bradley the deal on the strength of an American League-best .999 OPS, but he had played in just 126 games and hit 22 homers at Rangers Park, a hitter's paradise. He hit just .257/.378/.397 in 124 games for the Cubs in 2009 and lived up to not only his reputation, but the standards of clubhouse buffoonery set by another Cub to play right field and wear No. 21, Sammy Sosa. In June of 2009, Bradley threw a temper-tantrum in a game against the White Sox and manager Lou Piniella told him to just go home. The Cubs suspended him for the rest of the season late in September after Bradley blasted the Cubs organization. He was traded to Seattle for another horrible contract (Carlos Silva) after the season.

4. Kosuke Fukudome, four years, $48 million: Searching for the next Ichiro, Hendry instead got the next Kaz Matsui. Fukudome got off to a hot start with the Cubs in 2008, but quickly faded. He never became much more than a decent player, if that. In three-plus years with the Cubs, he hit .262/.369/.403 with 37 homers before being traded to the Indians at the trade deadline for two minor-leaguers.

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