Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 1:37 pm
We joke about the Cubs and the World Series.
Jim Hendry knew it was no joke. He knew that his job was to end the drought, just as it was Dusty Baker's job, and Lou Piniella's job, and Sammy Sosa's job.
At times, he'd even admit that if his Cubs didn't end the drought soon, ownership would have every right to find someone else to do it.
The drought continues, and now the Cubs will find someone else.
Friday's announcement that the Cubs have fired Hendry as general manager should come as no surprise, despite a few suggestions this summer that the Ricketts family liked Hendry. It shouldn't surprise us, and it can't surprise Hendry.
He had nine years to end a 103-year drought, and he couldn't do it.
In his first full season, the Cubs came within a game of getting to the World Series. In 2007, they won the National League Central. In 2008, they won 97 games and entered the playoffs as one of the World Series favorites.
They went through an ownership change that paralyzed the organization, but that's not enough of an excuse. He had plenty of money to spend, and in too many cases, he spent it poorly.
As he said Friday, "I got more than my fair chance."
It's time for someone else to try.
Who will that be?
The Cubs announced that Randy Bush, Hendry's assistant, will fill in as the interim GM. But theyre expected to hire someone else for the full-time job.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that he will begin the search immediately, and said he wants to find someone who is strong in player development, has an analytical background and comes from a winning culture.
There has been speculation in baseball that Pat Gillick could be headed to Chicago, but Gillick's friends say he wouldn't want to be a general manager again. Gillick apparently would be open to a job as club president, but Ricketts said Friday: "The new general manager will report directly to me."
Other names that are sure to come up are White Sox assistant Rick Hahn, who interviewed last year for the Mets job; Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who grew up in the Chicago area and got his start in baseball many years ago with the Cubs; Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract runs out at the end of the year (but is considered unlikely to leave); possibly Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, who has been more prominently mentioned in Houston; former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, working as an advisor with the Rays (and could also be a possibility in Houston); Rangers assistant Thad Levine; Blue Jays assistant Tony LaCava; and A's assistant David Forst.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, a Chicago native, could well have been on the list, except that he just signed a four-year extension to remain in Detroit.
By this winter, there will likely be other GM openings, as well. Andy MacPhail is thought to be on his way out with the Orioles (either by his choice, ownership's or both), and it's expected that incoming Astros owner Jim Crane will replace Ed Wade. It's also possible that there could be a change in Seattle, where Jack Zduriencik's team is having another disappointing season.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington is also in the final year of his contract, and while he is expected to stay, the team's recent slump has caused some people to wonder what will happen.
Posted on: July 23, 2008 4:02 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2008 7:26 pm
The Phillies, who had been among the more aggressive teams pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, have shifted their attention to Pittsburgh left-hander John Grabow and Baltimore lefty George Sherrill, according to sources.
Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld has been in Houston watching the Pirates, and the Phillies had three different scouts in to watch the Orioles during their current homestand. While the Phillies have also shown interest in Pittsburgh outfielder Xavier Nady, a deal for Grabow is considered a much stronger possibility.
As for Fuentes, there's still some question about whether the Rockies will trade him. Even if they do, the Phillies now consider him too expensive in terms of the players they would have to give up.
The Orioles seem increasingly likely to trade Sherrill. The Baltimore Sun reported that both St. Louis and Milwaukee have shown interest, but the Angels might have a better chance to get him by offering shortstop Erick Aybar. As one scout who has followed the Orioles said: "Baltimore is dying for a shortstop, and Aybar could be a regular for them."
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has told people that his phone has been ringing off the hook since Sherrill pitched so well in the All-Star Game last week.
"That's who he needs to pitch with, because he needs runs," the scout said. "He's another Bill Bavasi mistake. If the Mariners can get rid of Washburn, they should. If they get rid of him, that would help whoever gets that (Seattle GM) job next year."
The Mets know they have little chance of winning without closer Billy Wagner, and they also know there's no way they have enough chips to trade for someone who could successfully replace Wagner if he can't pitch. That's why they still list a corner outfielder, preferably one who bats right-handed, as their primary need, with relief help and even another starting pitcher behind that.
The Mets have talked about Nady and also Jason Bay, but it's doubtful they have enough to get either one from the Pirates. It might be more realistic to think that they could get Casey Blake from Cleveland, or Austin Kearns from Washington. Seattle's Raul Ibanez has also been discussed, even though he bats left-handed.
Tags: Andy MacPhail, Angels, Austin Kearns, Bill Bavasi, Billy Wagner, Brewers, Brian Fuentes, Cardinals, Casey Blake, Charley Kerfeld, Erick Aybar, George Sherrill, Indians, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Bay, John Grabow, Mariners, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Pirates, Raul Ibanez, Rockies, Xavier NAdy, Yankees