Jim Hendry was fired as general manager of the Chicago Cubs Friday. In a sign of the times, the Cubs announced the move on their offical twitter account:
#Cubs today have dismissed Jim Hendry as GM and named assistant GM Randy Bush as Interim GM.
Hendry had served in the position since 2002. In 2003, the team came within a game of making the World Series, but Cubs performance has trended downwards since then.
Many of the personnel moves the team has made during this span have led to the decline.
In 2006 they signed outfielder Alfonso Soriano a $136 million dollar contract that he has hardly lived up to. Dave Sheinin wrote in 2010 that he had spent the previous year as a “limping, slumping out-machine.” And the numbers - a .241/.303/.423 triple slashline - back that up.
Pitcher Carlos Zambrano has generally played up to the value of his own contract. But it’s been everything he’s done off the mound and in a Cubs uniform that has hurt. From getting into fights with teammates to making retirement threats, the team decided that they had endured enough and last week put him on the “disqualified list”.
Add it all up and it was probably only a matter of time before Hendry was replaced. Tom Boswell wrote the following words during the August dog-days of the 2009 season, but they ring just as true today:
“The Cubs, with the best regular season record in the NL in ‘08, got desperate in the offseason after a first-round playoff choke. So they radically changed a team that probably only needed tweaking. Now, the Cubs have a $135 million payroll (behind only two New York teams with new parks) and a record so bad that they’ll be an afterthought by Labor Day.”
They’ll be an afterthought again this September, but with a different leadership worrying about how to push things in the right direction.