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Jim Hendry Not As Bad As Advertised

By bullpenbrian - February 1, 2013 - 1:35 pm Leave a comment.

Jim Hendry

Linked at the bottom of this post is an interesting article by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports talking about former Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry…which got me thinking…

Jim Hendry still takes a lot of slack from Cubs fans. Granted, much of it is deserved. But Hendry still wasn’t the garbage GM many fans believe him to be.

To be fair, Hendry brought the Cubs painfully close to a World Series appearance in 2003. And soon thereafter, while under pressure from the Tribune ownership to increase the team’s sale value, went all-in to sign free-agent Alfonso Soriano and lure big-name manager Lou Piniella to Chicago–all with the hopes of breaking the Cubs’ long championship drought in a hurry.

It’s hard to know if Hendry would’ve taken a different approach had the Tribune not been operating in the self interest of adopting a win-at-all-cost mentality, which directly came at the expense of the organization’s future success on the field.

The mindset of the Tribune Company is what led, and allowed Hendry to spend wildly on veteran players, and to dole out heavy, back-loaded contracts. All of which has hamstrung the team in recent seasons.

For certain, the meticulous and tedious transition the Cubs are currently going through under Theo Epstein wouldn’t have sufficed under Tribune ownership.

The results of Hendry’s play-now, pay-later moves were hard to argue with. The Cubs won back-to-back division titles (2007-08), something the club had not done in 100-years, and in 2008 tied a major league record with 8 All Star representatives while the team won 97-games during the regular season.

Had the Cubs won the Fall Classic in either one of those two seasons, all of Hendry’s sins and shortcoming as Chicago’s GM would’ve been absolved. Instead they were magnified, and soon the consequences of Hendry’s actions took its toll on the overall health of the franchise.

Panic stricken after being swept out of the playoffs in consecutive years, Hendry signed world renown malcontent Milton Bradley in 2009, which was arguably the biggest bone-headed move during his tenure, and what ultimately set in motion his undoing as general manager.

I always gave Hendry credit for owning up to that mistake. He never shied away from the fact it was a horrible decision to sign Bradley, and accepted full blame in being the one to do so.

But it should be recognize Hendry’s body of work with the Cubs wasn’t completely awful. He did makes smart moves and trades that paid off handsomely in the Cubs’ favor. One could argue he didn’t make enough of them, but this wasn’t just all dumb luck carrying the Cubs to the postseason under Hendry’s watch.

More specifically, given the circumstances surrounding the strange ownership of the Tribune Company, I thought Hendry did what almost any GM would’ve done in his shoes: followed the orders of the people paying his salary, and those orders instructed Hendry to win immediately, the future success of the organization be damned.

Here’s the catch, though, had Hendry won his World Series there would be no Theo Epstein, no Jed Hoyer, no ‘New Cubs Way’…nor any of the other positive changes that have put the Cubs on path to becoming a top-notch organization for years to come. 

To trade all this recent progress under the Ricketts’ regime for just one–one–world championship with Hendry would be a deal many Cubs fans would’ve gladly accepted just a few years ago.

But in doing so you better love’ya some Jim Hendry . For all the flack he took, and still takes, you can bet ol’ Jimbo would’ve been elevated to rock star status in Chicago, an untouchable cog of the Cubs’ organization, even with the new ownership, had his gambling ways paid off in the ultimate prize of winning a World Series championship.

And to think how ever close Hendry actually came to pulling it off.
***
The phone rang in the visiting clubhouse after Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. The Bartman series. The one in which Redmond’s Marlins defeated Hendry’s Cubs, winning Game 7, 9-6.

Hendry was on the line, calling to congratulate Redmond.

“I know he was devastated,” Redmond said. “But he was happy for me. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

via Mike Redmond has been paying dividends for Miami Marlins since Jim Hendry discovered him in 1992 – MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN.

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Cubs Transactions: Bryan LaHair, Milton Bradley & Corey Patterson

By bullpenbrian - January 9, 2013 - 2:15 am Leave a comment.

Milton Bradley
Cubs transactions history January 9th
:

  • 2010: Sign free agent Bryan LaHair
  • 2009: Sign free agent Milton Bradley (3-year, $30 million) Ugh.
  • 2006: Trade Corey Patterson to Baltimore for LHP Carlos Perez & 2B Nate Spears
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Big Z On The Big ‘DL’

By bullpenbrian - August 14, 2011 - 1:11 am Leave a comment.

Can’t say I remember the last time the Cubs placed a player on the DL, as in ‘Disqualified List’…not the disabled list.

Apparently it’s the same list our favorite former hot-head, Milton Bradley, landed on in 2009 with Chicago…but it seems I only remember that as a being labeled a suspension. Nevertheless…

As Paul Sullivan of the Tribune put it “In a virtual reenactment of the end of Milton Bradley’s Cubs career, the players had few positive things to say about what might have been Zambrano’s last act with the team.”

According to the MLB Rule book: Disqualified list includes those who play with or against a club which during the current season has had a connection with an ineligible player or person; and the Ineligible list collects those involved with attempts to throw games, bribe players or umpires, or bet on games, and those convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude seems to sum up Zambrano nicely. He’s obviously well deserving of the list and left Jim Hendry no other immediate choice but to release him.

The 30-days suspension without pay is meaningless for Zambrano. But it does give the Cubs some time to think through its next move for the troubled pitcher.

Releasing Carlos is still a viable option, of course, but maybe Zambrano does decide to retire letting the Cubs off the hook for the rest of his super-sized contract, which is easily worth waiting 30 days for.

It’s also possible another team could be interested in acquiring Z. The Mariners, after all, traded for Milton Bradley. And if Z clears waivers, there’s a chance Hendry could move him in September, although Z wouldn’t be playoff eligible for any contenders.

Whatever the case may be, Carlos returning to the Cubs, this season or beyond, should not be considered. How could it be?

I can’t even imagine a scenario where Zambrano pitches another game for the Chicago Cubs.

Heaven help us if he does.

+++

Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times talks about Zambrano and The ALL Time HR List For Pitchers.

For now, here are the top ten all-time at hitting homers while pitching:

HR    Pitcher
37    Wes Ferrell
35    Bob Lemon
35    Warren Spahn
34    Red Ruffing
33    Earl Wilson
29    Don Drysdale
24    Bob Gibson
24    John Clarkson
23    Walter Johnson
23    Carlos Zambrano

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Who Said It?

By bullpenbrian - May 17, 2011 - 1:03 am 1 comment.

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.

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Bullpen Session – Brewster’s Millions

By bullpenbrian - January 20, 2011 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

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!

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Silva For Bradley A Steal For Cubs

By bullpenbrian - September 8, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Carlos Silva has won me over this season.
And that’s saying something because I didn’t give the guy a chance at first blush.
Over-weight, over-paid and over-valued, I thought.

Never thought Silva would make it past spring training, and I said as much!
Sure as heck didn’t think he’d win 10 games or have 13 quality starts, either.
Heck, I was content just seeing ‘Milton the Terrible’ depart Chicago–forget about gaining Silva.

But Silva’s been respectable for the Cubs.
He’s pitched well, carries himself as much, and says all the righ things, too.
Had he not suffered the heart setback, which cost him a month, he could be working on a 15-win season, which is outstanding given the circumstances.

Getting Silva for Bradley, who’s been a dud for Seattle, was a steal for Jim Hendry. Didn’t know it last December, but I’m all in for Silva as a Chicago Cub.

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Milton Bradley Is Emotional Stress

By bullpenbrian - May 8, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Milton Bradley isn’t the only one who should have his head checked this week…so should Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik.

Seattle, at Milton’s request, placed him on the Restricted List so he can seek treatment for ‘emotional stress.’

Bradley must sit for a minimum of five games…although his teammates, I imagine, probably wish he doesn’t return at all.

As expected, Milton’s been up to his usual antics in the great northwest…strained calf…strained middle finger…and a strained relationship with his current employer.

Zduriencik ruined the one of the best offseasons of any club by trading for Bradley. Now he’s paying for it…the same way Jim Hendry did and all other GMs before them. So excuse me for not feeling sorry for the guy.

It’s not like Bradley is the best kept secret in baseball…when you buy him, you buy problems…and Milton has a boat-load of them.

In fact, Bradley’s really no different than all the expensive yachts I see docking at Belmont Harbor…the second best day of owning a boat is the day you buy it…and the first is the day you sell it.

Couldn’t ring more true for Milton The Terrible, either.

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Milton Bradley Quotes

By bullpenbrian - April 24, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

No surprises from Milton Bradley during his return to Chicago–this time on the South Side as a member of the Seattle Mariners.

As expected, Milton threw some more blows at the city…ripped the fans…ripped the Cubs…ripped the media…and of course…sat out the game due to injury.

Some things, as they say, never change!

I’ve pasted some quotations from M.B. below…make of it what you will.

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Credit Hendry For Defending Cubs

By bullpenbrian - March 11, 2010 - 2:00 am 2 comments.

Milton The Terrible is at it again, this time jabbing the Cubs in his interview with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez.

Jim Hendry, appropriately, is taking a stand against Bradley, sticking up for himself and the Cubs organization. I say, good for him.

“We’re all brought up in life to accept responsibility when we fail, and to judge people by how they act and how they carry themselves when things don’t go well.” “Bradley needs to look in the mirror,” Hendry said.

Who better than Hendry to joust Milton back. It was Hendry, after all, who risked his own neck to sign Bradley, and who stood along side Bradley despite his struggles.

And when the whole fiasco turned into a dumpster fire he did the only thing he could, which was the only option Bradley left him–trading the disgruntled outfielder.

It’s not that Hendry wasn’t deserving of the heat. I called for his head at the time. But this wasn’t the first time or the last time Hendry will hear the backlash of Cubs fans.

But criticism comes with the territory–especially in a baseball-savvy market like Chicago.

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Who Is Carlos Silva?

By bullpenbrian - December 21, 2009 - 1:15 am 2 comments.

Milton Bradley had to go, that was a given.

Whoever the Cubs got in return didn’t much matter; just making Bradley Cubs’ history was sufficient.

As it turns out, it’s right-hander Carlos Silva, who’s been dead weight (and over weight) for the Mariners the past two years.

Silva, however, is better than his 5-18 record in Seattle.

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