The firing of general manager Jim Hendry by Cubs owner Tom Ricketts didn't come as a total shock, but some aspects of the move were curious.
Now, Ricketts will move forward on his search for a new GM to lead a team that has fallen on hard times since winning back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008.
The surprising aspect of the situation was that Ricketts told Hendry on July 22 that he would not be back. He allowed Hendry to oversee the period leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, and Hendry personally put the finishing touches on signing the Cubs' key draft choices from this year.
Then he was shown the door.
"The reasons for this decisions are twofold," Ricketts said before the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in 10 innings. "First and foremost, we just didn't win enough games. The team performance over the last two years was not where it needs to be. In a culture of accountability, we need to look at these kinds of results.
"Secondarily, our goal is to win the World Series. To do that, we have to get better. I just believe that by bringing in new leadership for the baseball organization, we'll get some different perspectives, and there will be some different ideas on where we go in the future. Nothing that happens today should diminish Jim's great legacy as general manager of the Chicago Cubs."
Assistant GM Randy Bush was named interim GM, but Ricketts made it clear Bush would not be a candidate for the permanent job. Ricketts plans to look outside the organization for a fresh approach.
"The search for a new general manager effectively begins today," Ricketts said. "I will be reaching out over the next few days to industry veterans and people who have been through this situation before to get their thoughts, their opinions on what I should be doing and what I should be looking for."
What Ricketts wants is a commitment to player development.
"We feel very strongly that the way to build consistent success in an organization is through identifying talented young players, bring them into the system and developing them into being productive players at the major league level," Ricketts said.
Hendry took over as GM in 2002 and spent big bucks in recent years only to fall short of a World Series.
"Obviously, I've been very fortunate to be with the people I've been with," Hendry said. "At the end of the day, I'm not leaving here with any problems. Tom Ricketts is a good man. We just didn't win enough ballgames. That's the bottom line. It's professional baseball. You don't win enough games over a couple of years, you can't fight change."
Up the air is the fate of field manager Mike Quade. Ricketts did not give him a vote of confidence, saying he'd defer to the new GM. Quade said he's given no thought to his situation. He's completing his first full season as a major league manager.
"Nothing," Quade said. "This is not a day for me. It's the furthest thing from my mind. You work for a guy. He's a friend. This is a tough day for all of us, but I have no time to concern myself with me on a day like this."
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