Jim Hendry has had a very up and down run as the General Manger of the Chicago Cubs. The sports writer conventional wisdom is that he is one of the main reasons of that team’s recent struggles and that he has handed out a lot of bad contracts. I have the same feelings about Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, but since I am not emotionally invested in the goings on within the Cubs I think I can help Cubs fans look at this a bit more objectively. I will go ahead and say that in my 20 plus years of watching baseball Hendry has been the best Cubs GM, and we could argue he has been that team’s best GM ever.
I am not the only Hendry supporter out there, but certainly we are in the minority. Let’s take a look at some of the good. Like signing Ted Lilly, and after four productive years working a trade that landed the organization some very nice prospects. That is what good GM’s do. They trade away unsignable guys for prospects and hope prospects pan out. He got Derek Lee, Ryan Dempster, and Kosuke Fukidome all to sign on the dotted line.
Of course there is a lot of bad as well. There was that disastrous Dontrelle Willis trade, he did give Todd Hundley a ridiculous contract that made him impossible to trade, and he ended up with two over paid veterans on the downside of their careers when he finally traded him. However, the biggest stumble in Hendry’s Cubs career has been his inability to shore up the bullpen. It has been an issue in many of the most recent seasons, and a large black mark on his overall record.
In the end I think Cubs fans expected the new Cubs ownership to rid themselves of Hendry, and for the team to be rebuilt in a new way. Many baseball fans feel that way, and I certainly understand those feelings. However, that has to be measured against who the Cubs could hire to actually do the rebuilding. If that option is not better than what they already have then a move is not necessary.
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