The Cubs will be getting their top scouts and baseball people together on Monday and Tuesday to talk about which direction they should take as the trading deadline draws nearer.
According to Bruce Levine on Thursday:
General manager Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush will preside over the two days of meetings. Hendry’s objective will be to give the scouts direction as the team looks to acquire new players or move some off the present 25-man roster.
I know what you are thinking. Yay!! Fire sale! They finally have reached the same conclusion we all reached over a year ago: this version of the Cubs is no good, there isn’t much left worth saving, so we might as well just tear down the whole thing and start over.
Well, no. Not so much.
As Gordon Wittenmyer reports today:
“In other words, don’t believe all the hype surrounding the front-office meetings next week involving top scouts and baseball brass.
“It’s not as complicated as people would think,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “You want to get healthy. You want Marlon [Byrd] to come back [from the disabled list], and [Darwin] Barney, and let Mike manage a club that looks a little more like the one we broke camp with, and see how we play for a while.”
This is why I don’t think Hendry is getting fired anytime soon. Nor is Crane, nor is Quade. This brain trust is who the Rickettseses have picked to go into the future whether we like it or not.
It started with Ricketts giving that little talk about how he doesn’t need a baseball guy watching his baseball guy, which I know MB liked, but I don’t think he meant it how MB took it. He wasn’t saying, “I’m not going to limit the pool of people from which I pick the next leader of the Cubs baseball operations.” He was saying, “I have my leader of Cubs baseball operations right here and I’m not going to bring in anyone to oversee him, overrule him, or otherwise deter him from his plan.”
While I can’t fault that logic from an owner’s perspective, I think the problem we all have with it is that Hendry has pretty much had 16 years to make the Cubs a powerhouse team. He was hired as Director of Player Development in 1995. He has been in a position of power to make the Cubs’ farm system a strength for SIXTEEN FUCKING YEARS. And where are we now?
It’s not like the man has traded away a shitload of awesome talent that went on to star for other teams in the name of contending. You had the occasional flash when Dontrelle Willis was good for a couple of years, or when Eric Hinske won the Rookie of the Year, but what else have we been missing? John Garland? Miguel Cairo? Bobby Hill? Hee Seop Choi?
We mostly still like Geovany Soto, but when he is the best position player to come through the system since Mark Grace, there is a problem. When you have to list Ryan Theriot anywhere on that list, there is a problem.
This is the man that was responsible in some way or another for guys like: Ozzie Timmons, Derrick May, Julio Zuleta, Steve Rain, Kevin Orie, Will Ohman, Cole Liniak, Augie Ojeda, Chad Meyers, Courtney Duncan, Juan Cruz… do I have to go on? Because I’m already depressed.
“It’s no different than I would tell you a month ago,” he said. “My main objective would be to see how we do by the end of July and also make logical decisions that help the ballclub for next year, too.”
I’d agree, Jim. It is no different than it was a month ago. The Cubs sucked a month ago and they suck now. Marlon Byrd isn’t even the difference between making up the seven games they are behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. The only reason the Cubs aren’t the worst team by record in all of baseball is thanks to the Astros (who they can’t beat) and the Royals (for the moment). What the hell is it about this team that demands saving, Jim?
You would think that they would eventually realize that the team isn’t close to contending. You’d think they’d eventually realize that when Ryan Dempster is now part of the problem because we missed the window for him to be a useful part of a good team. You’d think they would learn from that lesson and, while Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol are very good right now, there will be a day (and it may not be all that far away) where they go down the road of age and regression. Then suddenly the strengths become the problems. Again.
Anybody on this team over 25 years old is probably not going to be a part of any true championship-calibre team. So why keep them?
Instead, they will plow forward with this mentality:
The game plan will include going after top prospects and young players from other teams. Three Cubs players — Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez — with no-trade clauses or 5-and-10 no-trade rights have responded to media inquiries about whether they would accept trades.
If they truly think they are going to get “top prospects” for any of those players, they are the only people on the planet Earth besides the people who regularly call into sports radio shows with trade ideas that involve dumping players nobody wants for players everyone wants. These are the guys in your fantasy league who think if they offer enough shitty players, you might give them your MVP candidate in return. Now Jim Hendry is apparently talking like those guys, if Levine is to be believed.
So I hope you all like faux-contending, mediocre teams (at best), and no championships, because that is what the Cubs have ahead of them. We’ll have to see how long it takes for Ricketts to realize that. Or how long it takes for the season ticket holders to finally tell the Cubs to fuck off when they get their renewal notices. It will be even more interesting to see which comes first.