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When people weren’t freaking out about Carlos Zambrano yesterday, they were freaking out about the future of the Chicago Cubs’ front office. It was an appropriate dovetail, given how disastrously Carlos Zambrano’s 2007 extension worth nearly $100 million has turned out.

The source of the freaking was a tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The tweet said simply, “Jim Hendry will stay on as Cubs GM, barring Ricketts change of thinking.”

Oh. My. God. Michael Scott, please share our collective sentiment:

Ok. Take a breath.

First, the tide remains squarely against Hendry, and Tom Ricketts knows this. I can’t count on 100 hands the number of times I saw people writing things like, “if Jim Hendry returns next year, I am done with the Cubs” in various corners of the Internet. Sure, that kind of reactionary explosion is not *directly* going to convince Tom Ricketts that it’s time to move on (nor is Ricketts likely to have seen any of the reactions). But it is reflective of fan sentiment, and of that, I’m quite certain Ricketts is aware. And that is all to say nothing of the flagging attendance.

Second, Nightengale’s is the ultimate prediction with no teeth – “barring Ricketts change of thinking” turns the tweet from a bold prediction into precisely nothing. It now says, “Hendry will be the Cubs’ GM next year, or he won’t.” Thanks for that.

Finally, Dave Kaplan responded to Nightengale’s tweet with a “no chance.” Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but for now, I’ll trust Kaplan’s local sources over Nightengale’s.

The fact is, anything could happen between now and November. There remains a non-zero chance that Jim Hendry will be the Cubs’ GM in 2012. But there is no reason to believe that Ricketts is not currently leaning against retaining Hendry, which is very much what I still believe.

  • John

    I certainly hope you are right Brett!

  • Jason

    Wow I am waiting till the season is over and hope Hendry’s days as a Cubs Gm will be gone by 1 week after the season ends !!!

    Oh 36 hours or so left on draft picks that can sign !!! Hoping we can get a few more signed by the deadline

  • Toosh

    So far Ricketts has shown that he’s only interested in increasing revenue. Until he shows me he knows about the baseball side, I think Hendry will be back next year.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Keeping Hendry doesn’t exactly put asses in the seats, as it were.

  • Jeremy

    With a team with this much money, there is no excuses for him to not put at least a 500. team on the field. We need a new GM so we can rebuild. I think that if we do a major rebuild, we could be really great and make the playoffs often like the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees. Or we could keep Hendry and maybe make the playoffs once (At Best) in the next 5 years. I would rather just do a 5 year rebuild. I would rather have 20 year-old guys playing like a AAA team than 35 year-old guys playing like a AAA team.

  • Caleb

    I’m just reiterating this for more exposure, but I still say it’s 70/30 that hendry is back in 2012 for his final year. Keeping hendry sounds bad by itself, but allowing hendry, a devoted longtime employee, to serve out his contract in 2012 while aggresively pursuing a new GM: that sounds honorable and calculated. Maybe even bill it as using hendry to help choose the new GM, serving as one of several advisors ricketts relies on to make a decision.

    I think that goat and I have already bet a cubs man-thong on this. Anyone else want a piece? (of the action, I mean)

  • funkster

    This pretty much sums up what I was thinking. Why is everyone freaking out over a Nightengale tweet? I thought very little of it, but then MLBTR ran with it…

  • awesome

    so if Ricky fires Hendry, will he then hire 2 baseball guys to watch the other baseball guy?

  • Mike S

    Good news about Z not being back next year is that the Cubs will almost be forced to go after good starting pitching next year instead of committing 200 mil to one player on a team that needs help from more than just 10 extra homeruns…

  • Spencer

    I love The Office.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You don’t know how long I’ve been wanting to include that gif in a post.

  • marc

    My question is why wouldnt they just get rid of him now? Hire a new one so they can get ready for the offseason? My fear is that theyre going to hire someone in the offseason and then theyre so new that theyre not going to be able to put anything togeother….

  • Deez

    Jim Hendry (in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice): “I’LL BE BACK!”

  • pfk

    Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was like you in thinking Hendry’s return was anything but a slam dunk. I also thought that Ricketts had a plan and that he would take the club in another direction, with a new President and new GM. Now I’m not so sure. Given his silence on the matter – especially knowing how upset the fan base is – tells me that he is going to keep him another season but simply can’t announce it now for fear of a riot. So, he’ll wait until the off season. I think he believes that Hendry can turn it around and he will give him one more shot at it through the end of his contract. Yes, Ricketts is a shrewd businessman in his field. But as one who deals with Fortune 500 CEO’s all the time, I never cease to be amazed at how dumb they can be when it comes to something outside their business. Ricketts does believe in building from within and he’s done a great job of that. And, he’s doing a good job of improving facilities. But those are fairly easy decisions that just require a financial commitment. Changing the front office requires a whole different mental approach and, being new to the front office game, he still may not feel comfortable changing the front office.

  • BFM

    Well, the honeymoon is very much so over.
    I hope Ricketts enjoyed it while it lasted.
    I think it will be very difficult for him to ignore everything that is happening.
    I mean, he is a business man.

    The Cubs have one of the highest payrolls and ticket prices in the majors–and one of the worst teams. He needs to makes some huge changes if he is to put a good product on the field. He needs to cut the fat and spend some money on keeping fans in the seats.

    The more he makes on fans, ad revenue and other sources, the more he can spend on updating Wrigley and adding some key pieces (and there are a lot) to getting back to the playoffs.

    I don’t think the market (fans) will support another bottom feeder team, while paying high prices to watch them.

    Fire Hendry or at least Quade and start the cleaning process.

  • Mark

    How is Grabow still on this team?He should have been released a long time ago!

  • ry

    Fucking Grabow, i would rather keep big z on this team than keep trotting this worthless fucking douchebag out there 2 or 3 times a week. Grabow is so fucking terrible; I would love to know how many appearances he has made this year without allowing a run; it cannot be more than 5. If I haven’t made my point clear, fuck you grabow! Also, I really hope we put an emphasis on being able to field the ball and throw it to right god damn base consistently. Shit, little leaguers field better than this team does!

  • KB

    When i first heard of the Nightengale item, I was trying to think of an appropriate response.
    But they all involved extreme profanity.

    Kudos for posting the Office clip that perfectly sums up my thinking.

  • William

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sounds like Ricketts’ approach, though I think he is overly afraid of sounding like a fool.

  • Cheryl

    A businessman would rather be under-estimated than have someone have a clear idea of what his plans are. The financial commitment to the draft and the improvement of minor league facilities were easy decisions compared to what he has to deal with in the front office. He may have conflicting views on Hendry and if he is pursuing a new president and GM that may not take place until well after the season ends. If he does hire a new president, that president will want to put in his own team so that could delay matters even more. The easiest personnel decision will probably be letting Quade go. Unfortunately it looks like it’s a waiting game.

    • Ron Swanson

      Well said, Cheryl.

  • jim

    Is anyone taking responsibility for cubs? Ricketts isnt. Hendry? Quade “what manager?”
    Fans, media, td ameritrade?

  • KB

    I’m not nuts about the Ricketts way of doing things glacially, and planning for 5 years ahead. But what can you do?

    At this point, my entire opinion about him rests on one decision, and one alone. And if he brings back JH, forget it. I will then “follow” the Cubs like I’ve been doing this August…vaguely aware of what’s going on, but not invested at all, and not really caring.

  • Coal

    I have sources – maybe not of “brett/ace” quality, but sources nonetheless, that have suggested to me that Cubs ownership is talking with many many people behind the scenes about just about everything related to the business of the Cubs AND the baseball business of the Cubs. Just because Ricketts isn’t leading the mob doesn’t mean he’s not aware of the Hendry sentiment.

    Somebody (in business) once told me “listen to the noise, but don’t manage to the noise” and I think that is precisely what Ricketts, et. al. are doing and should be doing. The horrible contracts may have been Hendry’s fault, but they certainly aren’t Ricketts’ fault. Firing Hendry because of public outrcy doesn’t help the contract situation – and it screams desperation and dysfunction, which could make it harder to make good personnel moves or front office moves.

    Give the guy a little time. He’s clearly not an idiot. His hands are tied right now, but I really don’t think he’s thinking about much other than the long term viability and success of this organization.

    • Cheryl

      This makes a lot of sense. He has to be talking with several people behind the scenes. It is one thing to be aware of the emotions surrounding the cubs another thing to try and separate yourself from them and make moves that will benefit the cubs short and long term. I agree, Coal, “give the guy a little time!” But I think he has less time with Quade than the others. Quade will continue to play veterans as long as he can despite the need to evaluate minor leaguers during the September callups.

  • Bryan

    If Hendrys back, I’m not back! He needs to go!

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