Hendry is credited with upgrading the farm system, with bringing back Greg Maddux and with raising expectations so high that anything less than a contending team is considered a failure on the North Side.
Last year's fourth-place finish was a low point on Hendry's résumé, but the team won the Central Division title in 2003 and was in contention for a National League wild-card spot in '04 before falling apart in the final week.
The Cubs have a .527 winning percentage in Hendry's first three full seasons on the job, and no real speculation has surfaced that he'd be gone after '06
So all of that is good enough. A .527 winning percentage for a GM who has made the same mistake for three consecutive seasons. That is what it has come down to on the Northside. Goodness gracious. Being mediocre is being rewarded.
What does all this mean for the Cub skipper?
The ball then would be in Hendry's court regarding the future of manager Dusty Baker, who is expected to receive an extension as well.
How long Baker will have to wait for a new contract remains to be seen. It could be poor public relations to give Baker an extension if the team gets off to a poor start, even though Hendry and MacPhail remain in Baker's corner. If the Cubs start well, Baker could ride the wave of good vibes to a two- or three-year extension.
As usual, I'm "Out-of-Step-Charlie" on this thing. Take a look at this chicagosports.com web poll. I guess he's coming back, and most of the fans are all for it. Man, you guys are easy! Where's the parade at if the Cubs win on Friday?