After much consternation and internal debate (mostly among ourselves), it seems Jim Hendry is going to be given the contract extension he so desires. The Cubs have awarded him with a four-year extension through 2012, the terms of which the Cubs aren't going to tell you, so just mind your own business you pesky little people. If you want to know the truth, Hendry will be paid primarily in grilled cheese sandwiches. (Note: This is probably not true.)
Anyway, Hendry has provided plenty of data on which to assess his ability and forecast what he'll do next. This isn't a statistically obvious thing. But it is pretty obvious what kind of general manager Hendry has been and what he'll try to do in the future to deal with the Cubs World Series drought. So what, exactly, will that be?
For starters, he won't be afraid to use payroll. Since the Cubs' 2003 collapse -- which was, as Cubs teams go, not super expensive -- Hendry has thrown plenty of money around in grasping at that elusive World Series. The obvious inclusion is Alfonso Soriano (and maybe, this offseason, Manny Ramirez), but Hendry has also spent big bucks on Kosuke Fukudome, Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly, and so on. The Cubs payroll has ballooned in recent years, and Hendry is to blame.
Hendry will also be fearless when it comes to trading prospects. The unlucky bit is that the Cubs don't have too many prized prospects to trade. Felix Pie is one, and he might be the best candidate, as he has failed to ingratiate himself with manager Lou Piniella. Other than that, only Geovany Soto (and, eventually, Kerry Wood) have emerged as truly top-notch home-grown players under Hendry's watch. (Ryan Theriot is a step or two down from that level.) In any case, Hendry is not afraid to mortgage the future, insofar as that future even exists.
Finally, expect trades. Maybe lots of them. One or two of them will fail (Nomar Garciparra), but more than likely they will succeed (Derrek Lee). Speaking of Lee, he's the prime suspect to be traded by Hendry this offseason. His value is still somewhat high, and Hendry could package him for San Diego ace Jake Peavy.
Just kidding! That will probably never happen. But it's sure nice to think about, isn't it?