Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grading the 2010-2011 Off Season

We've reached the All-Star Break of the 2011 season. Every year, about midway through and again at the end of the campaign, I like to grade the job that Jim Hendry did the prior offseason. Here is a list of each move and how they look now!

December 8: Cubs Sign Carlos Pena
Spending a good amount of cash on Carlos Pena did not make much sense to me at the time, and it still does not. He hit under .200 a year ago, so nobody should be surprised about his .225 batting average. Although he displays great defense, will hit the long ball and is a great guy, spending money on a first baseman for a one year contract was not smart. The Cubs could have given a guy like Bryan LaHair a look this year. Since they knew it was going to be a rebuilding year, they should have saved the cash and allowed for more playing time for a young guy.
Move Grade: C-

December 17: Cubs Sign Kerry Wood
The one good move made by the Cubs this past offseason was inking Kerry Wood for practically nothing. Woody gave Hendry a huge hometown discount after the two talked at Ron Santo's funeral. He has been a pretty serviceable setup man for the Cubs, posting a 2.48 ERA. Having him back in Chicago has been the feel good story of the year.
Move Grade: A

January 8: Matt Garza traded from Tampa Bay to the Cubs
I am surprised that this deal is not receiving more attention from Cubs fans right about now. I was confused when they pulled the trigger to acquire Garza, because the Cubs were sending mixed signals. Were they going for a division title this year of rebuilding for the future? As it turns out, dumping five farmhands for a middle of the rotation starter was not a good idea. The Cubs sent SS Hak-Ju Lee (.330 average at Class-A Advanced, playing the Futures Game), pitcher Chris Archer (4-4, 4.72 ERA at Double-A), catcher Robinson Chirinos (.268 average at AAA), outfielder Brandon Guyer (.318 average at Triple-A) and Sam Fuld (.238 average for big league team). The Cubs also received outfielder Fernando Perez, who was released last week, and Zach Rosscup, who's pitching well for the Daytona Cubs. Hendry is probably going to regret this move when several of the young stars (Lee, Archer and Guyer) pan out into qualility major league players. By the way- Garza is 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA. This could go down as one of the worst trades in Cubs history.
Move Grade: F

January 12: Cubs Ink Reed Johnson to Minor League Deal w/ S.T. Invite
This turned out to be another solid signing for the Cubs. Although they probably would have been better off giving younger guys (Campana, Snyder, Colvin, etc) his playing time, Reed is still a fan favorite in Chicago and does a great job. He's hitting a robust .328 to go along with his glovework.
Move Grade: B+

January 17: Tom Gorzelanny Traded to Washington
In order to make space in the rotation for Garza, the Cubs shipped Gorzelanny to DC. The Cubs took on money to acquire Garza and didn't get near the quality of prospects in the Gorzo trade that they lost in the Garza trade. In addition, the now Nats' left hander has a 3.94 earned run average, better than Garza's. I realize that this move trimmed salary and netted the Cubs some decent prospects (A.J. Morris, Graham Hicks and Michael Burgess) but the Cubs traded the wrong guy. They have searched for a veteran presents in the back end of the rotation all year, going through guys like Rodrigo Lopez, Doug Davis and Ramon Ortiz. The Cubs thought they had plenty of options for the back of the rotation, but instead they found themselves without a No. 5 guy after a strange turn of events that included an injury to Andrew Cashner.
Move Grade: D

Jim Hendry's Offseason Grade: D+
I'm going with the same grade that I gave Jim during July of 2009 after the Milton Bradley inking, but this one could have an even more detrimental effect on the future of the Chicago Cubs.

All Star coverage and more coming up the next few days!

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