CUBS MOVING WISELY
Phil Rogers writes today about what he thinks Jim Hendry must do in order for the Cubs to find success. It’s an odd bit of advice. One that I hope gives Hendry a hearty chuckle.
One point he makes is that the Cubs should have extended Baker last year or canned him. I see the logic in that–except not how Rogers sees it. He speaks of the Astros recent move:
They just extended Phil Garner, their known quantity as a manager. Now that he won’t enter next season in the final year of his contract, the focus will be on the field rather than the dugout.
That’s one of the more ridiculous things you’ll read. Baker was in the final year of his deal. The effect it had on the Cubs? Zero. The ‘focus in the dugout’ came only when the Cubs reeked up the NL again. By then it was too late and fait accompli that Baker would be gone. To think that if he had been resigned the Cubs would have been more relaxed and played better is really a stretch. He also mentions that if Baker had been extended that Hendry could have been ‘working with Baker to get things fixed’. But Baker was part of the problem. A big part.
Here’s another piece of wisdom regarding hiring a new skipper:
Hendry, however, already appears to be moving too slowly.
Ideally, Hendry would have announced Baker’s replacement at the same news conference in which he announced he wasn’t welcome to return. That is the way the Florida Marlins handled the Girardi situation, naming Fredi Gonzalez.
How does he know how fast or slow Hendry is moving in on candidates? We’ll not know that until later. He calls for the Cubs to break MLB rules by skipping the mandatory hiring processes and just naming a successor to Baker. Not wise–and not right.
He also chides Hendry for being quick to give up on Rafael Furcal.
Yes, new Dodgers GM Ned Colletti offered Furcal almost as much ($39 million) on a three-year deal as most teams—the Cubs included—thought he was worth for four, maybe even five, years. Instead of matching that aggressiveness, Hendry became offended.
He should have held true to his original belief, which was Furcal was a special player who could help the Cubs more than any other free agent on the market. Maybe Furcal would have chosen the Dodgers anyway, but Hendry shouldn’t have been so quick to take no for an answer. The loss of Furcal led to the Juan Pierre trade and everything else that followed last winter, none of which was very good.
Rafael Furcal is a good player. He has many skills. He is maybe even an All-Star player. But he is not worth $13 million a year for 4 or more years. He’s just not. Compare Furcal to the rest of the players making that type of money and it’s crystal clear.
Furcal made 27 errors at short this year and has a lifetime OPS of .766. “Special” players dominate the game. Furcal does not. He is a piece, not the main cog. I applaud Hendry for not giving Furcal that type of money.
And Rogers logic that because the Cubs didn’t get Furcal led to “everything else that followed last winter, none of which was very good” makes no sense at all.