As most of you know, Jim Hendry has been the Cubs’ GM since July of 2002. Most of us have an opinion on how well Hendry has done his job, mine is admitedly not a positive one. But what exactly should a GM be judged on?
I think a GM’s job can be broken down into four main areas – 1. Motivating the dugout leadership to drive results at the major league level; 2. Developmental leadership, i.e. choosing the right minor league prospects and coaches and developing young players; 3. Hiring free agents and retaining top players and 4. Trades i.e. bettering your team at the expense of other teams or at least breaking even.
So how does Hendry measure up? In the first area I would give Hendry an F; with the exception of 2003 he has nothing to show for his efforts. From a developmental standpoint Hendry deserves a D – we can be thankful for the efforts that Theriot, Pie, Zambrano, Hill and Wuertz have given us but what else do we have to show for the past five years? Maybe Colvin and Sammardzija and a coupla other guys will pan out, but what happened to the days when the Cubs were considered a top five farm system?
Hiring free agents and retaining top players is largely a function of how much money the team gives you to work with – in this respect I would give the Tribune an A+ and Hendry a B-. If there’s one thing Hendry can do it’s spend money! But what exactly do we have to show for all the money?
In my opinion trades are where you separate the men from the boys when it comes to MLB general managers. Let’s take a look at the names of the players that Hendry has obtained since 2002:
Obtained: 2002 – Chad Hermanson, Jared Blasdell, Jason Karnuth, Travis Anderson, Mike Nannini, Paul Bako, Damian Miller, Eric Karros, Mark Grudzielanek; 2003 – Jose Hernandez, Doug Glanville, Tony Womack, Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Randall Simon, Derrek Lee, Jose Macias; 2004 – Andy Pratt, Richard Lewis, Shawn Sedlacek, Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Murton, Andrew Shipman, Ben Grieve, Eric Eckenstahler; 2005 – Stephen Randolph, Roberto Novoa, Scott Moore, Bo Flowers, Dave Crouthers, Jerry Hairston, Mike Fontenot, Cliff Bartosh, Mark Johnson, Jerome Williams, David Aardsma, Jody Gerut, Matt Lawton, Todd Blackford, Angelo Burrows, Justin Berg, Olivio Astacio, Juan Pierre; 2006 – Freddie Bynum, Zach McCormack, Lincoln Holdzkum, Clint Brannon, Phil Nevin, Jose Ceda, Cesar Izturis, Fabian Jimenez Angulo, Joel Santo, Chris Robinson, Adam Harben, Neil Cotts; 2007 – Gregory Reinhard, Andrew Lopez
And here are the players that Jim Hendry has traded since becoming general manager:
Traded: 2002 – Darren Lewis, Jeff Fassero, Bill Mueller, David Noyce, Gary Johnson, Todd Hundley, Chad Hermanson; 2003 – Mark Bellhorn, Travis Anderson, Jason Fransz, Emmanuel Ramirez, Ray Sadler, Hee-seop Choi, Damien Miller, Wilton Chavez; 2004 – Juan Cruz, Steve Smyth, Francis Beltran, Justin Jones, Brendan Harris, Jimmy Anderson; 2005 – Kyle Farnsworth, Sammy Sosa, Cody Ransom, Ronald Bay, Travis Ezi, LaTroy Hawkins, Jody Gerut, Todd Hollandsworth, Matt Lawton, Mike Remlinger, John Liecester, Reynel Pinto, Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco; 2006 – Jon Koronka, Todd Wellemeyer, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Todd Walker, Greg Maddux, Scott Williamson, Phil Nevin, Neifi Perez, Carlos Vasquez, David Aardsma, Josh Hamilton, Freddie Bynum; 2007 – Jae-kuk Ryu
What strikes me about these lists is the fact that the Cubs have not really obtained and kept any quality players since 2004 (the July trade that netted Nomar and Murton;) in fact since that date Hendry has not gotten the Cubs anything except a dazzling array of no-names and non-performers while giving up a certain amount of talent, most notably a certain future first ballot Hall of Famer and a pretty decent utility bat or two. Thusly I would have to grade Hendry as a D- on trades, especially since none of his trades have panned out in recent years. The artfulness of a GM certainly includes making wise trades and ours has pretty much been hoodwinked since trading for Aramis Ramirez.
So I give Hendry an F, D, B- and a D-. Had I brought home a report card like that my father would have grounded me for months! My conclusion is that Hendry is a below average GM; changes should be made when the new ownership takes over, if not sooner.