Manager Dusty Baker issued an appeal Sunday to the Cubs organization, including general manager Jim Hendry, to re-sign all of his coaches for 2006.
As for himself, however, while Baker emphasized that he is not opposed to the idea of re-signing with the Cubs after 2006, he believes any talk about a contract extension is premature.
"What I would like to happen to quiet some people is sign my coaches and let us know we are going to have continuity of leadership going into next year,'' Baker said. "This year and next year are big years for all of us. My contract and Jim's end at the same time. As long as ownership is satisfied with the job I'm doing, that's all that matters.''
Hendry left no doubt about that Friday when he reiterated that Baker is the right man for him and the Cubs. Teams typically don't re-sign coaches until their jobs are reviewed after the season.
this seems an odd time to begin contract negotiations, with the cubs finalizing their slide into an october spent raking leaves, now in an anticlimactic race with the brewers for third in the division. but baker clearly is insecure regarding his tenure in chicago -- he can read the paper as well as anyone. if he can force a reaction by the cub front office, it will clarify his situation as he probes other 2006 managerial openings around the majors. dusty's looking here either for an honest-to-god material commitment to 2006 or a clear indication that he's not coming back because he knows he's in jeopardy -- something far more than the judas-kiss hendry gave him this weekend. either way, he gets clarity.
odds are he'll get a mix of stony silence and empty platitudes. and that will be all he needs to keep looking for a new job for next season. i sincerely hope he's successful.