Over the past eight days Cub General Manager Jim Hendry has spent almost $230 million dollars in an attempt to rebuild our Chicago Cubs. During the last eight days we have watched as the Cubs inked players to not one but two contracts that would set the all-time club record. Last Sunday, Jim Hendry signed Aramis Ramirez to a team record $73 million deal. One week later he shattered that record setting deal signing Alfonso Soriano to $136 million deal. In between Hendry was busy signing Kerry Wood (1.75 million), Mark DeRosa ($13 million), Henry Blanco ($5.25 million) he also traded for LHP Neil Cotts.
In the last eight days, Jim Hendry has signed the top two offensive players on the Free Agent market. Something unheard of during the reign of Andy MacPhail.
This flurry of activity is unlike anything I can remember. It looks to this fan like Jim Hendry and John McDonough are on a spend to win crusade. Something we have not seen under 25 years of Tribune ownership. It would be real easy to speculate on the reasons that they are doing this. It is also easy to look at the deals and question the ways in which Hendry is spending the money. I'm not gonna do either. (There will be plenty of time to do that later). What I would like to do is speculate on what will be next.
When the Cubs hired Lou Piniella over Joe Girardi, they committed to getting Uncle Lou veteran players to try and win now. Jim Hendry has done just that with his everyday position players. While a hole still exists in CF (IMO Cruller Jim has not finished shaping his OF) the big issues that everyone will point to are in the starting rotation. The Cubs need at least two starters.
In years past after a big move (never at this level) I would expect to see the Cubs make a few small deals and call it an offseason. But these are desperate times in the winter of Tribune ownership. Hendry and McDonough are trying in one offseason to correct the mistakes and circumstances that have surrounded the Tribs mis-management of the club.
So after signing Soriano, I hope that the Cubs GM is not done. Don't just make a few tweaks and head to Mesa happy. Now is the time for Jim Hendry to make a big play for a veteran starting pitcher that can be a solid number 2 next to Zambrano.
Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito are the big names on the free agent market. Roger Clemens can be had on a one year deal for several brinks trucks filled with cash. Rumors out of Atlanta have Tim Hudson possibly being available. After Hendry has surprised us all, and given Cub fans hope for 2007, he can push this thing over the top by somehow acquiring a top notch hurler.
Here is wishing you well Mr. Hendry in your next quest.