Since his dismissal as general manager of the Chicago Cubs in July (and then again in August), Jim Hendry has kept a relatively low profile. He’s offered a short sound byte here and there as the Cubs finished a dismal 2011 season, got new management, and fired his former manager, Mike Quade. But, other than that, Hendry hasn’t offered a full post-mortem on the season, his firing, and his tenure with the Cubs.
He started that process with an interview with Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago last week.
“I feel wonderful,” Hendry told ESPNChicago.com. “I’ve cleared my head and paid attention to my family and friends, as well as my health.
“I’ve been able to enjoy all the things I haven’t had time for the last 17 years.” …
Hendry and Epstein took GM positions at the same time and developed a strong working relationship and friendship.
“Tom Ricketts did the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization a great service by hiring Theo,” Hendry said. “He’s a great baseball man and a great person.
“Besides bringing in his good people, he’s also inheriting terrific people who are working for the team. Tom and his family certainly hit a home run in their choice. If you had to choose someone to replace you, Theo would be at the top of the list.”
Hendry agreed with Epstein’s statement on Oct. 25 that after 10 years in a baseball position things may start to deteriorate. Epstein was referring to his own situation with the Boston Red Sox.
“I agree with what Theo said,” Hendry said. “[Former Cubs president] Andy MacPhail first told me the shelf life in this job is no longer than 10 years. I had almost every front office position in my 17 years with the Cubs. It was a long time with a lot of different roles, including three different owners.
“Looking at it now, I think [Ricketts' decision to fire him] was the right thing to do. We got close a few times to winning, but now a change of scenery looks good for everyone involved.”
As far as that change of scenery goes, for Hendry, he isn’t quite sure what he’ll be doing. He’s gotten some calls about TV and radio gigs, and Commissioner Bud Selig has reached out to Hendry to discuss the future.
And, of course, there are plenty of organizations interested in adding Hendry to their front office or scouting department, many of whom called shortly after Hendry was fired. One of those calls, Hendry said, came from none other than Theo Epstein, then the GM of the Red Sox.
Hendry was always a good scout, molded in the “old ways,” and he could still have a successful number of years left in the game.
Just probably not as a GM.
Hendry also spoke to Levine on the radio on Saturday morning, adding, among other things, his thoughts on the firing of Mike Quade.
“Mike texted me within an hour after Theo talked to him before it was announced,” Hendry told ESPN 1000′s “Talkin’ Baseball” on Saturday. “We’ve missed each other a couple times. Basically just been exchanging texts. I’m sure he’s out fishing and clearing his head a little bit. I would think sometime within the next couple days we’ll have a chat. He is a good baseball man. He will land on his feet. He’s been a good coach for a long, long time. I think he handled it well, as well did Theo in the exit for both of them. It’s certainly understandable from Theo’s side. It certainly was a classy way I think that Mike handled it too, knowing that and appreciating the way Theo went down and saw him.”
Like Hendry, Quade will find a job in baseball if he wants one. He’s well-respected, and has had a long, successful career in a variety of positions. He’ll fin another.
Just probably not as a manager.