Monday, August 22, 2011

A Look at Hendry's Worst Moves with the Cubs

On Saturday we counted down the five best moves made by Jim Hendry during his tenure as the general manager of the Chicago Cubs. Click here to read that post. As you know, not all of the moves he made were good. Now it's time to take a look at the five worst moves!

5. Signing Kosuke Fukudome... November 2007
At the time, I'll admit that I was excited about the Japanese import coming to Chicago. However, his offense sputter throughout his four season stay in Chicago. Hendry overpaid for Kosuke, giving him four years and $48 million.

4. Waiving Casey McGehee... October 2008
This move does not get that much attention, but it was the only one on this list that I knew was completely terrible the second it happened. McGehee was a promising prospect who saw some time with the Cubs during the 2008 season. He could have been Ramirez's successor at third base and learned a new spot while waiting for Rami's contract to expire. However, the rival Brewers snatched him off waivers. He had been very productive in the middle of the Milwaukee lineup.

3. Trading Nolasco, Mitre & Pinto for Juan Pierre... December 2005
The Cubs shipped three young arms to Florida to try to add a lead-off man. Pierre was lousy in his only season on the North Side, while Nolasco went on to become a quality starter.

2. Giving Alfonso Soriano 8 years... November 2006
At the time I was very excited about the Cubs picking up one of the top free agent on the market. However, this contract was way too long for an already ageing player like Soriano. The $136 million spent on Alfonso just about single handily led to the miserable 2010 and 2011 seasons. However, Soriano was a key piece to the team during the playoff runs of 2007 and 2008. Had the Cubs won a World Series it would have been worth it, so I don't blame Jim for going "all in." Note: John McDonough was the one who actually closed this deal, not Hendry.

1. Signing Milton Bradley... January 2009
While the winter between '06 and '07 was probably Hendry's best despite the Soriano contract, the 2008-2009 offseason was by far his worst. The biggest and worst move of that stretch was inking Milton Bradley to a $30 million deal. Bradley did not produce and was a distraction with his off the field antics. Bradley was the one big money signing that the Cubs literally got no production out of. During that same winter the Cubs also picked up Aaron Miles, Joey Gathright and Kevin Gregg.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Look At Hendry's Best Moves with the Cubs

Yesterday Jim Hendry's time with the Cubs came to an end. Today, let's take a look back at five of the best moves that he made during his time as the general manager.

5. Signing Ted Lilly From Hospital Bed... December 2006
One of Jim's most famous signings occurred when he finished up a deal with Ted Lilly from his hospital bed during the winter meetings prior to the 2006 season. Not only did the fact that Hendry was in the hospital make this interesting, but it turned out to be a great move. Lilly was a Bulldog who was the most consistent Cubs starter during his four year, $40 million deal.

4. Scrap Heap Pick-ups
Hendry's ability to take a change on guys like Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds helped propel the Cubs to back-to-back division titles. There were other solid signings that flew under the radar (not necessarily scrap heap pick-ups) such as Mark DeRosa, Marlon Byrd and Michael Barrett.

3. Trading Todd Hundley to Dodgers... December 2002
Many Cubs fans may not even remember this deal... but there is no doubt that it helped set up the Cubs success during the 2003 season. Hendry worked out a deal involving three big contracts that sent Todd Hundley to the Dodgers for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros. Both Grudzie and Karros played key roles in '03.

2. Adding Derrek Lee in a Swap with Florida... November 2003
Mike Nannini and Hee-Seop Choi were sent to the Marlins for Derrek Lee, who became a fan favorite on the North Side of Chicago. D-Lee had a few great seasons and many good seasons in Cubbe Blue. Choi never panned out.

1. Acquiring Ramirez & Lofton from Pittsburgh... July 2003
There is not much debate about who won this trade. Hendry shipped Matt Bruback (who?), Jose Hernandez and a PTBNL (Bobby Hill) to the Pirates for Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez. Lofton took over for the injured Corey Patterson in centerfield and in the lead-off spot. Rami helped the Cubs to the postseason in '03 and again in '07 and '08.

Up next, we'll have Hendry's 5 worst moves in his time as GM.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Breaking News: Hendry Out As Cubs GM

Tom Ricketts and the Chicago Cubs have announced today that Jim Hendry has been fired as the general manager of the team. Hendry started his career with the Cubs in 1995.

Hendry met with the team and coaching staff this morning and just finished a meeting with the media to make the annoucement. Randy Bush has been named the interim GM.

From Ricketts: It is time for a fresh approach for the organization and the search for a new GM will begin immidietly.

Hendry knew for about a month that his time on the North Side was coming to an end. Tom informed him of the bad news on July 22. He focused on making moves at the deadline and signing draft picks anyway. Jim said in his press conference that he has nothing against the Ricketts family. "We just didn't win enough games," he said. Jim told his two kids last night. He has been preparing them for awhile by telling him that most people in that bussiness end up losing their jobs.

He also said that he did not make more moves before the trading deadline because he had already lost his job. He wanted to leave those decisions up to Ricketts and the new GM. Bruce Miles tweeted that there was no mention of Crane Kenney in Hendry's fairewell. Jim talked at length about Randy Bush, Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken, among others. The fact that he would lose his job in a week did not change the "Zambrano situation" for Jim.

My Take: While is probably was time for a change, I am still very sad to see Hendry go. I hold the players responsible for underperforming, not the general manager for signing the players. Hendry went for "it" in 2007 and 2008. He knew that guys like Soriano and Ramirez would not be as productive by the end of their contracts, but had the Cubs won a ring that would not have mattered. I met Jim in person several times and he was an extremely nice man. He was always very loyal, firing no manager and just one coach (Gerald Perry) in his 10 years as GM. I will miss Jim Hendry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

More on Zambrano

David Kaplan has been all over the Zambrano situation on his twitter account today. Here's the latest from Kap:

  • Zambrano hopes to remain a Cub. He wanted to return to the team Saturday but could not because he was suspended.

  • Carlos says that he did not try to hit Chipper Jones.

  • He does not think that the punishment is fair.

  • Zambrano did say that he was thinking about retiring but it was because he was frustrated. The comments were supposed to be private.

  • He received text messages of support from Sammy Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Jason Giambi, Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Ozzie Guillen.

  • Soriano and Zambrano are on good terms despite their confrontation.

Believe it or not, I actually side with Carlos Zambrano on this situation. I do not think that the 30 day suspension was in order. I know that they are sick of thing like this, but he did not do much wrong. He was ejected from the game so technically he did not walk out on his team. He cleaned out his locker but returned his things that night. Z told a clubhouse worker that he was thinking about retiring... does that violate a team rule? The only thing that I think he did that was truly wrong was throw at Jones. I'm not buying his claim this the pitches were not on purpose. I think a 3-5 day team suspension would have made more sense than a trip to the 30-day inactive list. What do you think? Please comment with your thoughts!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on everything Cubs as always!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Breaking News: Zambrano Placed on the Disqualified List

In case you missed it last night, Carlos Zambrano exploded again. He was being hammered for home run after home run by the Atlanta Braves and was ejected from the game for throwing at Chipper Jones. He stormed into the locker room, where he claimed that he was retiring from baseball and cleaned out his locker. Today, the Cubs have placed Zambrano disqualified list, where he will not be allowed to have any contact with the team or collect pay for the next 30 day.

Click here for the official press release.

The Major League Baseball Players' Union will file grievance with the Cubs challenging this decision. The Union will probably not allow the Cubs to fine him $3 million, which is what he's owed during the 30 day ban.

There have been a lot of interesting quotes from many of the Cubs players and personnel on Z's latest antics. Here are some of them-

Jim Hendry
"We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward."
Said he took the most stringent action he could short of releasing Zambrano.
Apologized to the Braves for ruining Bobby Cox's nights with Z's actions.

Mike Quade
"I don't know where he's at. He walked out on 24 guys that were battling their (bleeps) off for him I can't have a guy walking out on 24 guys, that's for (bleep) sure."
"I've spent enough time on this, time to get ready for the game."

Aramis Ramirez
"I've never seen somebody just pack up their stuff and leave."

Marlon Byrd
"I have now clue. If we don't see him tomorrow, we might not see him again."

Ryan Dempster
This "may be best for both sides."
"I think the guys in here are upbeat today. He's made his own bed and he's got to sleep in it."

Alfonso Soriano
"He's been doing a lot of things, not once or twice. Gotta think a little bit more. Big man, but mentally he's weak."

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ron Santo Statue Dedication Recap

Last night was a special night for the Cubs organization and the family of Ron Santo. Ronnie's statue was unveiled at the corner of Addison and Sheffield in an emotional ceremony before the Cubs game against the Nationals. August 10, 2011 was deemed Ron Santo Day at Wrigley Field.

Len Kasper was the emcee for the ceremony. Tom Ricketts, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams all spoke before the unveiling. Pat Hughes shared his thoughts and then was at the microphone while the actual unveiling took place. Randy Hundley and Glenn Beckert assisted in the statue unveiling. Ron's wife Vicki and son Jeff spoke after the statue was revealed. Vicki said that Ron got a call during the summer of 2010 from Crane Kenney informing him that his Billy Williams' statue would be done in September and his the following season. Ronnie knew about the statue and he was so excited about it.

The statue itself was really cool. Cubs colors of blue and red were mixed in with the bronze. It was of Ron making a throw from third base. It is the first of the four statues at Wrigley to be of player playing defense. The statue looks just like #10. Most of the Cubs players paid their respects by showing up to the unveiling even though it was just before a game.

Here are some links for more Santo coverage!

I great job by the Cubs organization and the guys that constructed the statue. I only wish that Ronnie would have been there to see it.

Which Cubs legend would you like to see honored with a statue outside Wrigley next? Vote on the poll on our right sidebar.

Well, that does it for our week full of Ron Santo coverage! I'll take a few days off from posting and then return with more Cub related posts. If news breaks, I'll keep you posted as always!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ron Santo Day: August 10, 2011

We'll I've been posting about this day since January. With the poor play seen by the team on the field this season, one of my main goals here on Everything Cubs Blog has been to honor Cubs legend Ron Santo.

I think it is evident based on all of my posts, but Ronnie meant so much to me and so many other people. He was such a unique, caring, funny and tough person. To go through everything he went through with diabetes, be a nine time All-Star thirdbaseman, be an entertaining broadcaster, do charitable work for JDRF and be so kind, it takes an incredible man.

Visit the posts labeled Ron Santo section on my blog to read all my memories of Ronnie. I miss him every time I turn on the radio during the Cubs game.

Today, the Ron Santo statue unveiling will take place at 5:30pm Central Time at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Randy Hundly, Glen Beckert, Milt Pappas, Pat Hughes, Ron's family, the Ricketts family and more will be involved in the dedication. It should be interesting to see what the statue looks like. Hughes has narrowed it down to three possibilities: a) Ron fielding b) Ron hitting c) Ron's hairpiece catching on fire!

The statue unveiling will be broadcast live in its entirety on CLTV with clips shown on the WGN-TV News. Live coverage will also air on WGN Radio at 5:30.

Don't forget that Cubs Corner, a Ron Santo special, will air on WGN Radio today at noon. Hosts Dave Eanet, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas will be joined by Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Pat Hughes. From 1-3 on WGN-720, Nick Digillio will have Santo memories and broadcasting highlights!

Ron Santo Junior joined Greg Jarrett and Dave Eanet this morning on WGN Radio, while Len Kasper stopped by to talk about Ronnie yesterday. Click here for the page that includes both uncut podcasts.

Everything Cubs blog will forever honor Ronnie with his picture on the right sidebar. Our posts about Ron will not end today. Tomorrow I'll recap all the events and then we will return with Remembering Ronnie Roundups once a month for the rest of 2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ron Santo Statue Dedication Time Set

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the statue unveiling will indeed take place at 5:30 on Wednesday. I'd expect some type of coverage during the Garry Meier Show on WGN Radio, and I'm sure WGN-TV News will have it as well.

Schedule to appear during the statue dedication:

  • Members of the Santo family

  • The Ricketts family

  • Ernie Banks

  • Billy Williams

  • Fergie Jenkins

  • Pat Hughes

  • Glenn Beckert

  • Randy Hundley

  • Milt Pappas

According to Barry Rozner, Santo's family will spread his ashes across Wrigley Field on Thursday.

Scroll down on the main page of our blog for much more Santo coverage!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Ron Santo Day Notes

We're learning more and more about Ron Santo Day, which is officially this week! I'm looking so forward to Wednesday!!! I will update this post if any additional information becomes available today. Update 2pm CT: According to several reports, the ceremony starts at 5:25pm Central Time on Wednesday evening.

I will update throughout the day if anything comes up. I'll be posting several more small posts Monday and Tuesday leading up to Ron Santo Day, with a large post Wednesday morning and another one to recap the day sometime on Thursday.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Counting Down to Ron Santo Day

While the Cubs continue their best stretch of play this season, we continue our week long preview of Ron Santo Day, which is coming up on Wednesday at Wrigley. Ronnie would have loved this Cubs winning streak, by the way.

WGN Radio Sports Director Dave Eanet was on the Cubs broadcast today, sitting in for Pat Hughes. He had some addition information about next Wednesday. The statue will be unveiled at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. The ceremony will be carried live on WGN 720. The time has been in question and we are still waiting for an official confirmation, but Eanet said, "I believe it starts at 5:30, if I'm not mistaken."

WGN Radio will also have Cubs Corner to talk about Ronnie on Wednesday afternoon starting at noon. Ernie Banks has been added to the panel, which will also include Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Pat Hughes.

I will update with any additional information on Wednesday's slate as we approach the day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Remembering Ronnie Roundup: 8-4-11

A big event is coming up at Wrigley Field next Wednesday with the unveiling and dedication of the statue in honor of Cubs legend Ron Santo, who passed away last December.

For full details, click here for last week's Remembering Ronnie Roundup. That post also talks about the Ron Santo golf outing, book, a WGN Radio special and more. The time for the ceremony has not yet officially been announced. One report said that it would take place fairly early (between 1:30 and 4:30), but I'm hearing 5:30, which seems to make more sense. I will update as soon as I hear a confirmed time.

According to WGN-TV, the Cubs will give $10 to JDRF for each bleacher and terrace reserve outfield ticket purchased online for August 10 when you type JDRF as the special coupon code. WGN-TV says that Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks will all be a part of the pregame ceremonies that night.

I recommend getting your hands on the August issue of Vineline. There is a great interview with Pat Hughes about Ronnie. In the upcoming events and promotions section, next Wednesday was listed as Ron Santo Day. Here is what Vineline has about 8/10:
The Cubs are pulling out all the stops to honor legendary third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo. Festivities will include the dedication of a new statue, Wrigley Field's fourth, that will be unveiled prior to the game.

The Ron Santo Baseball Voices CD, produced by Pat Hughes, is also on the horizon. According to the Baseball Voices Facebook page, the CD will be released before Thanksgiving!

Lifesource is putting on a Ron Santo Memorial Blood Drive. If you give blood on August 10, you will receive a free copy of the great book Ron Santo: A Perfect Ten. Click here for more information.

There will be much more information released about Ron Santo Day in the next week, and we'll have it all right here on Everything Cubs Blog. Please keep checking back!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Post Trade Deadline Quick Hits

Major League Baseball's trading deadline has passed. The Cubs were not as active as most of us hoped they would be. Click here for my assessment as well as the take of all the other writers on View From the Bleachers. Feel free to jump in with your take in the comments on this post and be sure to vote on our poll about the Kosuke trade on the right sidebar.

During the month of August teams can still trade players that first clear waivers. A year ago, the Cubs were active during the waiver season dealing both Mike Fontenot and Derrek Lee. Will Jim Hendry make a move during the month of August again in 2011? That and more trade deadline follow up in today's quick hits.

  • Carrie Muskat reports that Hendry is not bother by the lack of moves at the deadline. He also said that August could be a busy month for him.

  • Bruce Miles also chimed in on the possibility of moves in August.

  • Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors took a look at why the Cubs didn't trade Carlos Pena.

  • Aramis Ramirez will sit out tonight's game against the Pirates with a quad issue. He's day-to-day.

  • Derrek Lee will be making his Buccos debut against the Cubs, the same team that he made his Braves debut against.

  • Andrew Cashner threw off a mound again today and felt good. The target is an early September return, but he hopes to be back in three weeks.

  • Paul Sullivan tweeted yesterday that Pena was happy he wasn't traded. Sully also said that Tyler Colvin will not get another shot at first base for the Cubs.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.