It's an understatement saying that the current management team in charge of the Chicago Cubs is unpopular among the team's fan base. Some have been calling for Hendry's head for years; many had had it once the Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva fiasco resolved itself.
In the meantime I tend to consider myself an apologist. "Trading away Mark DeRosa made sense," I've said in the past, along with other gems like, "Milton Bradley had a great OPS with the Rangers," or, "The 2011 Cubs might have been competitive had it not been for a handful of injuries." In other words, I fully acknowledge that hindsight is 20/20, and up until now have tried to give Jim Hendry the benefit of the doubt.
But the way this team has handled the trade deadline makes no sense to me. At best, the approach has been half-assed and confused; you might even say the management team has been acting like a chicken with its head cut off.
Let's start with something that I'm pretty sure we can all agree on — including Jim Hendry — and go from there.
FACT: The Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series in 2011.
Say what you want about next year, but this team freaking sucks. So that means high-paid veterans with expiring contracts no longer fit on this roster, right? Carlos Pena, Reed Johnson, maybe even John Grabow — you have to try to get something back for these guys now, because, why keep them?
This should have been the reason the Cubs pointed to when they dealt Kosuke Fukudome. "This team is hopeless," they should have said, "so getting back any prospects we can for our players with expiring contracts is the best we can do."
But no. When Hendry et al spoke to the media about moving Fuk, they said the main rationale was to give Tyler Colvin a shot at regular playing time in the bigs, to "see what he can do."
Let me tell you what Tyler Colvin can do: he can hit a meaty fastball and/or a mistake breaking pitch a country mile, and he can strike the eff out. Tyler Colvin had a shot at regular playing time earlier this year — in AAA, which most people consider to be an easier place to hit than MLB — and he did nothing with it: a .275 on-base percentage, and a 26% strikeout rate. And that's with a BABIP of .319!! Put another way: Colvin, who's already 26 years old, is toast.
So here we are at 6pm on July 31, a team 20 games under .500 that just traded away the only guy on its roster that can get on base with any sort of consistency. The Pirates, desperate for offense, added Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick, while Carlos Pena and Reed Johnson remain Cubs. Several other teams added relief pitching; John Grabow is still a Cub.
What's going on here? Does it make sense to anyone? I've given Hendry every benefit of the doubt up until today, but I think this might be the straw that breaks my back.