Jake Peavy returns from a couple week stint on the disabled list with a strained groin, and who better to face than the Cubs? Despite what Ozzie Guillen might say about the Cubs’ lineup, they are frequently the rehabilitator of struggling or injured starters.

  • Michael Wilbon, among other things in a meandering piece that is not one of his better efforts, says Jim Hendry can’t be blamed for the state of the current team, as his hands were tied for three years while Sam Zell and the Tribune Company worked to sell the team. Eh. To whatever extent that make be true, you have to look only as far as the money he was given to work with in those three years, and the moves he was permitted to make, to see that Hendry was permitted adequate leeway to succeed, were success in the offing for him.
  • When told that Ozzie Guillen had said the Cubs have a lineup that can win the Central, Mike Quade had a curious response: “There’s a lot of things we have to get straightened out. Our pitching hasn’t been what we thought it would be. I think this lineup will be OK as the summer goes along. I still think we’re a club like most clubs that need solid pitching. We like the back end of our bullpen, especially when we get [Kerry Wood] back, and our starters are starting to do what we expect them to do to give us an opportunity to win every day.” Mike, your team’s lineup is great. Oh yeah? Well, our pitching sucks!
  • Andrew Cashner will soon return to Chicago from Arizona where he’s been rehabbing his shoulder (rotator cuff). He’ll be reevaluated, and the Cubs will determine at that time if he can start a throwing program. The earliest you can hope to see him back in game action is late July, but you’re safer just assuming he’s done for the year. If he does come back, he’s more likely to pitch out of the pen than the rotation.
  • Jeff

    The lineup is okay, except for that glaring black hole that is the three spot.

    I have a hard time taking anything Wilbon says without having skepticism and a big grain of salt ready. He’s even more fairweather than Jay Mariotti. He wrote a piece about how great it was to be a Bears fan and how good the defense was the week before the NFC title game. The day after, he runs a piece about how great the old time Packers are and how the Bears should model the franchise after them. He’s also very shifty on his baseball coverage and vehemently protects his “boys”, Of course, him being a native Chicagoan, and a sports fan, I’m sure he and Hendry are buddies, so of course, Wilbon’s got his back, no matter how stupid they both look.

  • EQ

    Well I’ll say this about the current state of the Cubs’ problems.. I think people do look at this team and think that they should be good.. really, I still look and think we’ll put together a run of some sort and end up with a decent season, by decent I mean, better than the Pirates.

    Thing is, this team should win 3 straight at some point, right? Aramis should get hot and end up with 25-30 HRs right? Garza, Demp, BIg Z, etc. should put together a stretch of quality starts at some point right?

    Guillen is right in one way, this SHOULD be a good lineup, but it hasn’t been.. and this SHOULD be a good pitching staff but it hasn’t been… I just keep waiting for guys to start playing like they SHOULD but it keeps not happening.. what a strange yet, for the Cubs, normal season we’re in.

    • Toosh

      Very well put! When the season started, I thought if Cub players had (their career) average seasons, this team could have contended with the Reds and Cards and Brewers. Look at the numbers some of these guys are putting up. It’s ridiculous. The top 4 SPs have really been a disappointment. And I don’t believe in making excuses for a bad start or two making their stats look bad.

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      “by decent I mean, better than the Pirates. ”

      That’s exactly how you define decent. Nice.

  • willis

    The problem is not 100% Hendry, nor 100% Zell, Trib…whoever. It’s a combination of things and I think the simple answer goes back to allowing a GM in a top tier market with a top tier payroll to rebuild 3 seperate times. And, even with the high payrolls, the results when bad have been real shitty.

    It doesn’t take a genius to realize it’s time for a change at the top and a new direction. Hendry has done some good, but things are spiraling out of control at this point. With not a ton of hope for the future. Hendry is neither an idiot or a bad baseball man, but there comes a time where enough is enough and change is needed.

    • EQ

      I think Hendry’s problem is that he panics and over commits contracts..all the no trade clauses, back-loaded contracts, etc.. he’s made some good moves, some bad, but the “panic” contracts have caused for it to look worse. just imagine if we didn’t have all the no trade contracts right now how different this would be viewed.

      It is time to go.

  • MichiganGoat

    I can agree with the notion of Trib/Zell driving up the price of the Cubs is not Hendry’s fault, BUT it is his fault for choosing the players, creating the contracts, and making the deals that have put the Cubs in the situation they are in. I have no doubt that he was told to spend, spend, spend because Trib/Zell wanted to have a winner to sell and specifically an expensive winner, but again it is Hendry’s job to spend that money wisely– which he did not. However lets pretend, Hendry was told who to sign, the price to sign them, and the details of the contract by Trib/Zell– then he is just a lame duck GM. Either way he has shown he cannot handle the large checkbook of the Cubs and should not be around for the next spending spree.

    • awesome

      lol, you got my vote. he picked the players, gave the years, NTC’s, etc.

  • Patrick

    Jim Hendry shouldn’t just get “excused” for the past few years in my opinion. He had some money to spend and he didn’t use it wisely. Fukudome, Grabow, Aaron Miles and Soriano (Don’t know if Hendry was handcuffed when he signed Soriano) are example of this. I do think the Cubs should keep Hendry because most GM’s do like him and if the Cubs hire a new GM at the end of the year it may be hard for that person to come in right away and big name like Pujols, Fielder or Reyes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

      Depends on the GM, but I’m not sure newness will preclude a big-name signing. Cash looks the same no matter who’s throwing it at you.

    • Michigan Goat

      It won’t be a problem if Ricketts is planning now for his next GM.I’m confident that he has an exploratory committee that is preparing for the change and hopefully some of those discussions involving spending the upcoming payroll. I expect the change to happen at the end of the season with a smooth transition to either a new or interim GM that is prepared to go after the big name FA as soon as free agency begins.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

        I can’t fathom that he isn’t at least thinking about how he would go about reaching out to prospective candidates. Shit, half of his reason for firing Jim Hendry might be that he feels like he can “get” a specific someone better.

        • Michigan Goat

          Exactly all large companies plan secretly about successions and recruitment of top tier executives. There is no way Ricketts doesnt have people (most likely outside private consulting firms) thinking, planning, and preparing the next move.

  • Scarey

    “money he was given to work with in those three years, and the moves he was permitted to make”

    I just want to ask, do you think it’s more likely that Zell told Hendry to go spend $136 million in the 2006 off season, or to go sign Alfonso Soriano?

    • Michigan Goat

      I sure it was a little bit of both. I sure Zell wanted the top FA that year and told Hendry to spend whatever it took, but regardless is ultimately responsible for the terms and length of the deal. In one’s job performance is measured irregardless of the who/what/why that may have impacted the performance. In the end this is just an excuse, and an excuse that does not excuse the behavior or results.

  • Spencer

    At least Quade isn’t being delusional. 4.74 ERA = last. 26 Quality starts = last. 1.49 WHIP = last. .268 BAA = second to last. the pitching does suck.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

      Ha. True.

  • die hard

    Did new pitching coach ruin Cashner and set back Wells by over looking or missing their arm issues in spring training because he was more interested in showing hes better than Rothschild..so he pushed these kids as veterans they were not so he could build a starting staff….never saw the obvious that they werent ready for the grind yet….either incompetence or negligence…shows again and again in how staff is doing since…..Mark Prior redux ?