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.