With most recent articles somehow ignoring how scorchingly hot Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry’s seat was early in the year, it can be easy to buy into the idea that Chairman Tom Ricketts, who reportedly likes Hendry very much, is planning to retain Hendry for 2012. Indeed, a recent report from Bob Nightengale said just that.
I was circumspect about that Nightengale report then, and I’m even more suspicious now, thanks to a report from SI’s Jon Heyman:
Longtime Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is said by many people connected to the Cubs to have a good rapport and the respect of relatively new owner Tom Ricketts. And several reports, including one here, suggested Hendry is probably safe because of that.
But, apparently, that is far from a certainty. While Ricketts has spoken positively about Hendry to some other owners, Hendry, in his ninth year at the helm, is said by people familiar with the situation to be “at risk” of losing his job.
There is no evidence that something has changed or that the Zambrano case is the key to Hendry’s tenuous situation. It just may be a simple matter of others misreading nice comments regarding Hendry as proof that he would stay. That doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case now.
Of course, it shouldn’t take a report from a national writer to tell us what our guts have been screaming for months: in no universe can a 10-year GM with a laundry list of offenses continue to underachieve in the face of falling attendance and keep his job.
I’m sure that Jim Hendry is indeed an affable, great guy. And I have no reason to doubt that Tom Ricketts likes him. But Ricketts is a savvy business man, who has spent the better part of a year really getting his head – and his hands – around the Chicago Cubs organization. Suggesting that he’ll retain Hendry because they’re friendly is to ignore all other evidence.
I’m not willing to do that. I remain steadfast in my belief that Jim Hendry will not return as the GM of the Cubs next year. I’ll leave open the possibility that he could be “promoted” into another role with the organization, but I cannot see Ricketts risking the fandom by keeping the status quo after another miserable year.