The Chicago Cubs’ brass plans to meet early next week to discuss their pre-trade deadline strategy. Specifically, reports have them meeting to plan which players they would like to move, and which young players and prospects they’d like to target.
But Jim Hendry says that the rumors of the 2011 Cubs’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.
“It’s not as complicated as people would think,” Hendry said. “You want to get healthy, you want Marlon [Byrd] to come back and [Darwin] Barney and let Mike [Quade] manage the club that looks a little bit more like the club we broke camp with and see how we play for a while.
“We were just a little short of seeing a little more light at the end of the tunnel,” Hendry continued. “If we would have won one more [against the White Sox] and maybe another one against the Yankees, all of a sudden you have a pretty good 10 days. We’re playing a lot better baseball.”
With that, Hendry suggested that the Cubs aren’t ready to throw in the towel on 2011, despite losing seven of their last eight series. The team, Hendry says, is getting healthy and playing better.
For years now, I’ve used a phrase with respect to Jim Hendry’s stewardship of the Cubs: hope is not a strategy. And it sounds like Hendry is riding on a whole lot of hope right now.
If the Cubs had won another game against the Sox and another against the Yankees? What kind of reasoning is that? Ok, Jim, I’ll do you one better. If the Cubs had gone 4-4 over their eight-game losing streak. If the Cubs hadn’t lost those two miserable games in Cincinnati. If the Cubs had actually won three games in a row at any point this year. Are we really getting anywhere with this?
I highly doubt Hendry is actually as confident as his hope sandwich would suggest. What is he going to say when asked about reports that he’s meeting next week to discuss unloading the team? “Yup, we are. Come to the Chicago Cubs garage sale! Buy Carlos Pena, get an Alfonso Soriano free!” Neither can he say that the team definitely will make some moves, because, well, what if they don’t? It sounds like Hendry has been taking lessons from Tom Ricketts on managing expectations.
When the Cubs’ front office personnel and scouts meet next week, I have no doubt that they will discuss the plans for sell-trades, rather than buy-trades. But my only hope is that they don’t let their own hope get in the way of executing a reasonable plan for the future.