For months now, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Chicago Cubs’ General Manager Jim Hendry would not survive the offseason. Although his current contract, like that of his manager, Mike Quade, runs through 2012, a miserable 2011 season has dramatically reduced the chances he returns as the Cubs’ GM next year – particularly when you consider that 2011 comes on the heels of a terrible 2010 season, and a disappointing 2009.

For all of the Cubs’ financial advantage in the NL Central, they’ve made the playoffs just twice in the last eight seasons (including 2011), and haven’t won a playoff game since 2003 – Hendry’s first full season as GM. If there’s a reasonable case to be made for Hendry keeping his job after such an impressive track record of failure, I still haven’t heard it.

But the tide may nevertheless be turning.

Whether it was the (meaningless) seven-game (August) win streak, or Hendry’s (inexplicable) steadfastness at the trade deadline, the powers that be may be more open to retaining Hendry than they were just a couple weeks ago.

Bruce Miles says (in the comments) that he believes it’s increasingly likely that Hendry is still around next year, though he doesn’t offer a rationale, or whether this is merely a guess. I would have been more willing to dismiss it offhand if a tipster hadn’t emailed me last week, suggesting that Chairman Tom Ricketts, previously all but certain that Hendry had to go, was waffling. There wasn’t an outright indication that Hendry would definitely return, mind you, just that Ricketts might be less resolute now than he once was.

I still believe that, come 2012, the Cubs’ front office will not mirror the current front office. I’m somewhat less certain that Hendry will not be a part of that 2012 front office in some capacity, but I remain confident that there will be changes. Heck, just last week, Ricketts was given a golden opportunity to say that Hendry would be back or that there wouldn’t be significant changes in the front office, and he declined to do so.

It’s not as if Ricketts is blind to fan sentiment, and the way the attendance wind blows. Doing nothing after three seasons like 2009 through 2011 is a great to ensure that those attendance figures keep sagging.

This is a *flawed* organization, and you don’t need to be a “baseball guy” to see it. In fact, all you need to be is a knowledgable baseball fan with $1 billion on the line. Tom Ricketts, although quiet in the media, is no dunce. And until he demonstrates otherwise, I cannot be convinced that there won’t be changes made in the offseason.

  • Fishin Phil

    Where the hell did I leave my torch? Has anyone seen my pitchfork??

    • MichiganGoat

      I’m so torn Kool-aid taste good, but pitchforks are fun (and I really enjoy a trident).

      • Fishin Phil

        Alright, here is the new plan: Scrap the Kool-aid. Pitchforks, torches and a good Michigan IPA.

        How’s that sound MG?

        • MichiganGoat

          Make the pitchfork a trident and I get to choose the IPA and I’m in.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I killed a man with a trident.

        • RoughRiider

          Was that in Reno ?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            The desert keeps its secrets.

            • Cheryl

              But will the front office?

        • Andrew

          You’ll probably want to lay low for a little while…

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Thank you.

          • Michigan Goat

            I love that this site has similar movie/tv references

  • MichiganGoat

    Kool-aid making its rounds… Ah pretty colors

  • Dave

    I think I’d be fine with Jimbo sticking around as a figurehead as long as someone who knows how to run a baseball team is the one actually calling the shots. He’s under contract, so he has to be paid either way, so if they bring in a president of baseball operations who can keep Hendry from doing stupid things, I wouldn’t complain.

  • Toosh

    Oh, oh.

  • willis

    Jimbo/Q-Ball 2012!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Non-Change You Can Believe In.

  • Waveland Ave

    One reason I would want to keep hendry is wilkins
    He has down a nice job recently picking players in draft and doing international scouting

    Also Marco H who is arizona cubs is a monster plays SS

    • hardtop

      Well its not like Hendry is going to take Wilkins with him somewhere… no other team would hire Hendry, not after this season. Unless they are physically attached, I’m sure Wilkins would favor his continued employment with the Cubs organization over bagging groceries after Jimbo scans them.

      That said, if Crane Kenny were replaced by a real baseball guy, Hendry hasnt been all bad… just mostly bad. I definitely think you keep him in organization: to order and stock pens, toilet paper, and coffee….

      • Jim

        … just mostly bad. I definitely think you keep him in organization: to order and stock pens, toilet paper, and coffee….

        Just keep him away from the donuts

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I tend to agree that, if Hendry is canned, Wilkens isn’t just going to quit out of loyalty. If the Cubs want to keep him on board, he’ll certainly consider it. It’s a job, after all.

        • RoughRiider

          Tim, It’s rough out there. Jobs are hard to find!!! Keep the one you’ve got !!! In case you haven’t heard.

  • Toosh

    Hendry’s drafts speak for themselves. Very few players make it to the Cubs and make an impact.

    • Waveland Ave

      I think there is a big difference in the budget that wilkins has had to work with to sign players in the draft (Overslot) with the Trib and with the Ricketts. I think he has gotten a lot more flex with Ricketts

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        Sorry, but I disagree. How else would you explain Hayden Simpson, pride of the South Arkansas Mule Riders, being picked about 50 players above his value? Money. He signed for signigicantly less then all of the other 1st rounders.

        • Waveland Ave

          I am sort of going to drink the Kool-aid on this one and say that Wilkin did not see any players that were sure fire major leaguers and so he took a shot in the dark

          I cannot blame him because there wasnt that much talent left and we have no clue how simpson will do, he might turn into a productive major leaguer.

          This year is a wash for Simpson bc of mono I will want to see what happens next yr

          • Cheryl

            I agree on Simpson. There’s too much of a difference between now and when he pitched in college. I think the mono has wiped him out. If he’s like this next spring then we’ll know he’s a bust. Too soon to tell now. As for Hendry, don’t forget he chose Quade. He knows the ropes as GM, let’s just hope someone else calls the shots.

  • funkster

    All this waffling back and forth is changing making me think that just may in fact be a dumbass.

    • funkster

      And then I go and add an extra word…go figure.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


  • http://Bleachernation Bric

    It’s true that Ricketts is no dunce but he also hasn’t done much in his first two years as owner other than raise ticket prices, role out a new marketing campaign, play the triangle building card and (possibly) given the go ahead to cut Silva. The expansions in Asia and the D.R. were planned before he ever took over. Not an auspicious beginning considering the state of the team when he took over.

    He should look at the Pirates’ blogs. For the last five years their fan base has vilified their owner and blamed him for everything that’s gone wrong. Finally they have a decent season and in the last few weeks as they tank it, the stands are empty again, and they’re back to blaming everything on him. Ricketts has gotta realise his rep and cred are starting to set off some red lights.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ve got to believe that Ricketts cares about his legacy. Why else buy a $1 billion trophy?

  • RY

    if fatboy and baldy are here in 2012, i will root for a different team, like the phillies, an organization that actually knows what the hell they are doing!

  • 1060Ivy

    Like you’ve mentioned, Hendry will be around in some capacity in 2012. It won’t be in his current role but he’ll be attached to Cubs management.

    Expecting significant changes to the front office and a nice cushy little role to open up for Jim in the off season.

    • funkster

      I could live with that as long as he not making major baseball decisions.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        He can go back to minor league scouting. That would be fine with me.

        • Ken

          He’d be welcome to come to spring training and hit a couple fungoes.

          • Fishin Phil

            Well done!!

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Nailed it.

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    I take issue with the “foregone conclusion” part. Right or wrong, there have been a few of us who have said all along that his return next year is, in fact, quite likely.

  • http://www.weareworkers.com Skooter

    Urge to kill….rising.

  • willis

    I’m not a Hendry hater, so if he is back in some capacity I’m ok with that. But there needs to be some accountability and someone else pushing the buttons. But as I have feared all year, Ricketts could very well bring both Hendry and Quade back. Getting rid of Quade to me is more important than Hendry. Hendry is an ok baseball guy, he just doesn’t need to be riding solo on player personnel decisions.

  • Serio
  • Joe Cartwright

    Maybe something happened with whoever was going to replace him?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Interesting you say that – I’m not saying that’s the case, but there will be a bullet tomorrow about the Tigers extending Dave Dombrowski.

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    I love the picture of Ricketts and Hendry at the top of the page. As Hendry is talking, Ricketts looks like he’s giving Hendry this look that says, “What the hell is he talking about? I just don’t know about this guy.” Hopefully Ricketts is giving Hendry that look on a daily basis.

  • Michigan Goat

    Sterns & Bowden on MLB radio were really attacking Hendry for not making more moves at the deadline and brought up that outside of Castro he has done nothing to build a core of players. It gives me hope when the national media continues to be critical of him in light of the win streak, they seem to hint at the lame duck theory, but said if he doesn’t make multiple august moves he is seriously not doing his job.

  • ron

    I can’t believe that they would be willing to eat the majority of Soriano’s contract and then keep Hendry because he under contract. there would have to be another reason.

  • Ty

    Billy Beane – Chicago Cubs 2012

  • CubsFanatic

    Looks like its time to start an online petition to fire Hendry to show Ricketts that we are serious about Hendry being fired.

  • Cheryl

    Its like their baking a cake. Hendry puts the batter together. Quade does the frosting and Ricketts puts on the candles, the kind that come with making a wish. And who watches as the recipe fails and the cake falls – the fans. That may be the scenario for next year.

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