what have you done for me lately?
Baseball is very much a "what have you done for me lately" kind of sport. How else could you explain the firing of a World Series champion manager, or the trading of a once-loved future Hall of Famer?
Hell, look at the Red Sox. There's no other team that exemplifies "what have you done for me lately" better than them. (Ok, maybe the Yankees.) The Red Sox have a long history of firing successful managers and letting go of their superstars. They didn't bother to resign Carlton Fisk, Roger Clemens, Mo Vaughn, and many others.
With that said, it should be no surprise that we Cubs fans are very much of that mentality. We were prepared to give Jim Hendry a life-time's supply of free drinks after he acquired Aramis Ramirez. We were ready to fellate him after he traded for Nomar last year. We were ready to give him our first born children after he unloaded Sosa and Farnsworth.
Then, very quickly, Jim Hendry fell out of favor. We suddenly realized that he never really got us a leadoff guy. Rather than upgrade the newly depleted outfield, he brought in Jeromy Burnitz and we were told that Todd Hollandsworth was our starting left fielder. Rather than acquire a desperately needed closer (or upgrade the bullpen in any way), we were told that it could be Borowski's again, or Hawkins if that doesn't work, or Dempster's. But none are really viable choices. And let's not forget that Dusty Baker was hired by Hendry. And we hate Dusty Baker these days.
It feels like Hendry went from "Saint Jim" to "Fire Jim" almost overnight. But there are some things we need to realize. First, it takes two to make a trade. No GM can magically snap his fingers and find himself with a closer and leadoff man for next to nothing. The Cubs may have a very loaded minor league system, but not many teams are looking to rebuild in February, or for that matter, June. No team is looking to trade their pricey-but-talented superstars by the end of May.
So, we can unleash the fury on Saint Jim, but we have to realize it isn't really his fault. At least, not all of it. Because whether we like it or not, he's handcuffed by his bosses at the Tribune. He's only allowed to spend so much money. He's not allowed to go and just sign any available player. And teams were clearly playing hard-to-get this winter with Sosa and Farnsworth. In a way, it really is a miracle that he unloaded them at all.
So, let's take it easy on Hendry. He's doing what he can. He did make a hell of a trade with Hawkins. Hopefully more will come. I really don't think it's his fault that we haven't gotten more in trades or free agency. Although I admit, I share the "what have you done for me lately" mentality, and if nothing more has happened by July, I'll probably be pissed. And if no one is signed this off season, I will be calling for Jim's head.
But until then, let's chill. It's not over yet.