At this point it’s hard to call a Cubs’ victory a Big-Win, especially when it snaps an eight-game losing streak.
But Wednesday’s 4-1 win against Cincinnati was just that–at least for Mike Quade and Jim Hendry.
Another loss would have likely set the Cubs on course for an (0-10) road trip given they’re up against Halladay, Lee & Oswalt in Philadelphia this weekend.
So getting this one win is huge, comparatively speaking, to a trip that very well could have turned into a winless nightmare for the manager, GM and ownership.
I’m afraid what lies around the corner for our Cubs.
After Saturday’s 10-0 trouncing against the Pirates, a game in which the Cubs appeared genuinely disinterested and lethargic, it seems only a nightmare awaits us.
To lose consecutive games vs. Pittsburgh, during a crucial homestand, speaks volumes about the Cubs’ character. Watching it has simply been unbearable.
The fire from which they played with last season under Mike Quade has seemingly fizzled out.
There’s no will to win, no comeback mentality, no player holding his mates accountable for sorry effort, at least not publicly.
The storm for a 90-loss season is gaining steam, as are the chances for another Carlos Zambrano meltdown.
Gone Fishing..Gone For Good?
‘I know it’s going to take some time and you have some work to do, but I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me,’” ??? said.
“I knew when I left that restaurant that night that he was our guy,” ??? said.
“The opinion that he wouldn’t be a good teammate or he would be a disruption in the clubhouse couldn’t be further from the truth,” ??? said.
“I’ve seen a lot of cute headlines about me,” he said. “People who have never met me are speaking about me. It’s not very intelligent to speak about someone you’ve never met. That’s something I never do. I’m never going to judge somebody based on what I see on TV or read in the paper.”
“I even looked forward to answering all [the media's] questions today — that’s how much I’m happy to be here,” he said, smiling.
“My whole life all I tried to do was fit in places. I felt like I finally fit. Getting elected to the All-Star team last year by the players was a complete honor. A lot of that changed me. I just felt more comfortable being more open and letting people know who I am.”
“It’s been a lot of years and a lot of pain and grief for the [Cubs] fans out there,” ??? said. “I know with every fiber of my being, I want to win. The Cubs have been on my radar for a while now.
“It’s a new day, new way for this guy,” ??? said.
Relax? There's a goddamn train going through the outfield!
The Bullpen Session is a weekly round-up of my observations surrounding Cubs baseball and much more!
Richard Pryor is one of my all time favorite funny men. Few make me laugh as hard as Pryor does.
I recently watched Brewster’s Millions staring Pryor as a minor league pitcher, Montgomery Brewster. The premise is he needs to waste $30M in 30 days in order to receive a $300m inheritance. But there’s a catch, of course, Brewster can’t tell anyone why he’s wasting his money!
So it’s a bad 80s flick, but I like it nonetheless. John Candy plays a predominate role as Brewster’s best friend and Brewster wears a Cubs jersey throughout.
Now put yourself in Brewster’s position. How would you waste $30M in 30 days, if given the chance? Think about it!
I love the job Jim Hendry is doing this offseason. It’s been a tricky act, finding the right mix of players to compete in 2011 and beyond, but Hendry’s delivered.
Trading Gorzelanny is another feather in the GM’s cap. The deal relieves the Cubs of valuable dollars, about $2M, on Gorzo that can now go towards signing Matt Garza.
In return for Gorzelanny, the Cubs acquire several prospects that help offset the the trade for Garza which sent five potential major leaguers to Tampa Bay.
How his moves shape up, obviously, is yet to be determined. Although fully aware that none of Hendry’s moves, individually or collectively, guarantees the Cubs a winning season, he still deserves credit for his offseason thus far.
And with his job security seemingly in jeopardy, Hendry has also shown he’s a capable GM despite the money crunch the Cubs are under–of course, not all Cubs fans will agree.
Nonetheless, how Mike Quade’s team performs three months from now will ultimately decide Hendry’s fate. But there’s no question the Cubs have improved during the past several weeks under Hendry’s direction. For now, Jim’s job is safe.
How do you feel about Jim Hendry’s off-season so far? The ‘Big Three’ on his to-do list have been scratched off.
He landed Carlos Pena, the left-handed hitting first baseman: Kerry Wood, the quality bullpen arm, and Matt Garza, a solid No.3 starter. And better, Hendry’s done all this for around $16-million.
Of course, Hendry’s taking a gamble on all three–Pena having a rebound year, Wood’s injury history and the prospects dealt for Garza.
But on the plus side, Hendry’s added some much-needed veteran presence in the clubhouse, limited Pena’s deal to one-year, signed Wood for the right price and landed a legit starter under contract through 2013.
Given these moves the Cubs have a chance to compete in 2011. So what’s not to like?
Jim Hendry has a short, but important, to-do list this week at the Winter Meetings.
If Hendry completes his list, the Cubs have a good chance to contend in the Central. If not, it’s likely the Cubs stay positioned behind Cincy, St. Louis and Milwaukee.
Dusty Baker is blamed for the downfall of both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
But what about former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild?
Baker, of course, controlled the reins on how many pitches each threw and when they came out of the game. But does Larry get a free pass for not fixing the mechanical issues of Prior and Wood?
I said Mike Quade has zero chance to manage the Cubs next season. Maybe I spoke too soon?
Ryan Dempster, who became the clubhouse’s unofficial spokesman with the departure of Derrek Lee, gave his vote of approval for Quade following Tuesday’s 5-2 win in San Diego.
“He’s done a great job and I hope that he’s here longer than just this year. I hope he’s managing for us next year because he deserves it. He’s done everything they’ve asked, and everyone in here really likes him.”
Those are powerful words given Dempster’s credibility, and should pull some weight in Quade’s direction this offseason.
Quade deserves some praise, but what do you make of a team playing without any pressure and without fear of losing a job? That, of course, is for Jim Hendry to determine.
If not guilty by association with the old regime, I’d have no problems with Quade as the next Cubs manager.
But I still feel the Cubs need a clean break from the 2010 season, and that leaves Quade out in the cold.
Hiring a higher profile candidate than Quade guarantees nothing, of course. But Jim Hendry is desperate to make a splash hiring. His pick for the 2011 manager is certain to determine his job security.
Signing Quade puts Hendry on a very short leash. He’s not the popular pick, he’s not high profile and his sample size with the big club is small.
If Quade’s success doesn’t carry over quickly next season, Wrigleyville will be in an uproar, and Hendry out the door.
Hire a Ryno or Girardi, however, and Hendry buys more time to right the ship.
It’s a tough position for the Cubs’ GM, and Dempster, although well intentioned, hasn’t made things any easier on Hendry.