Today, the Chicago Cubs and General Manager Jim Hendry agreed to a four-year contract extension through the 2012 season. Now Hendry begins work on making sure these next four years continue to be competitive ones.
“It’s an honor to receive this long-term commitment from the Chicago Cubs,” said Hendry. “We know there is work to be done in reaching our goal and I thank my staff for their commitment to this organization. We’ll continue to do everything it takes to reward our great fans for their dedication to this team.”
This off-season, Hendry will try and reward his fans by keeping Ryan Dempster around. Hendry said during today's conference call with reporters that while he hasn't had any serious discussions with Dempster or his agent, both sides have expressed interest in keeping Dempster in Cub blue. Dempster was unquestionably the Cubs most consistent pitcher this past season and led the clubs in wins (17), ERA (2.96) and strikeouts (187).
Other notes from the conference call:
- Hendry is also interested in keeping Kerry Wood in the fold, although admits the two sides will have to have a discussion about what Wood wants in the future (i.e. is he willing to remain a closer? Or does he want to try returning to the rotation?)
- The Cubs GM had a conversation with Kosuke Fukudome in which he expressed his belief that the Japanese import has the potential to be the player they thought he could be when they signed him last year, but that his second half is concerning and the club wouldn't hesitate to add another outfielder if a good opportunity to do so arose.
- Jim Edmonds thanked Hendry for the opportunity to play for the Cubs this past season, but hasn't let the Cubs in on whether or not he'd like to return to the club or possibly retire.
- Finally, Hendry doesn't feel there's any advantage in trying to shape the roster for October, saying the Cubs simply played bad baseball for three days, and all you can do is get there and keep taking your shots.
Hendry, who enters his 15th season with the organization, has been the club’s general manager since July 5, 2002. With more than six years in the position, he already is the third-longest tenured general manager in franchise history, trailing only John Holland (1957-1975) and James Gallagher (1940-49). The club is 537-513 (.511) with Hendry as general manager, including four winning records in his six full seasons.
In 2008, Hendry, 53, became the first general manager in franchise history to assemble a Cubs team that made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, as the club in 2007 and 2008 qualified for post-season play in consecutive campaigns for the first time in 100 years (1906-08). Overall, he has seen three of his six clubs make the playoffs (2003, 2007 and 2008), the lone general manager in club history to take three teams to the postseason.
Following a last-place, 66-96 finish in 2006, Hendry has helped orchestrate a 31-win turnaround the last two years as the club won 85 games in 2007 and recorded an N.L.-best 97 wins in 2008 to earn consecutive National League Central Division titles. In addition to resigning Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano to long-term deals, Hendry has landed notable free agents in the last two offseasons such as Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Mark DeRosa and Kosuke Fukudome while making key in-season acquisitions last season such as Reed Johnson (in March), Jim Edmonds (in May) and Rich Harden (in July).
Hendry joined the Cubs organization in November of 1994 and spent his first seven seasons with the Cubs as director of player development (1995), scouting director (1996-2000) and assistant general manager (2000-02), overseeing a minor league system that signed and developed current Cubs stars such as Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol and Zambrano.