Catching up with Jim Hendry on the off-season

Since many of you have been discussing the Cubs’ recent moves, we wanted to provide some recent comments from Jim Hendry on the off-season plan. First, here are the major additions and losses during the 2008-09 off-season:

Additions – RHP Luis Vizcaino, IF/OF Aaron Miles, RHP, Kevin Gregg, OF Joey Gathright, RHP David Patton (Rule V), RHP Jeff Stevens (minors), LHP John Gaub (minors), RHP Chris Archer (minors)

Losses – IF/OF Mark DeRosa, RHP Kerry Wood, RHP Jason Marquis, RHP Bob Howry, C Henry Blanco, OF Jim Edmonds

Of course, the Cubs have been pursuing a certain great-hitting and good-defense outfielder this off-season …

When we talked to Jim a couple days ago, he stressed the need to consider the team’s overall plan instead of analyzing moves primarily piece-by-piece.

On his latest deal, Jason Marquis for Luis Vizcaino: “We just felt like we were trying to move Jason and get depth in inventory of pen and add prospects in other areas,” Hendry said. “Jason did do a solid job for us for two years and ate up a lot of innings. We won two division titles with him here. He was solid, but in the overall picture, piece by piece sometimes deals are hard to analyze. When we try to look at the body of work in the offseason or opening day makes a lot more sense.

“We’ll keep plugging and trying to get better until we get to Mesa.”

Click past the jump for more comments straight from the Cubs GM.

On the payroll: “We don’t call anything a ‘salary dump.’ We’re no different than anybody else except maybe my buddy [Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman. We have a payroll, we have a fair payroll. We have had one of the better payrolls in the game, and we still do. But in this job, especially the situation we have now until there’s a new owner, we follow the guidelines of the new payroll. We were very fortunate in that we spent a lot of money the last couple years, and it turned into two outstanding seasons. At the same time, those contracts escalate. … I’ve always been given a payroll I’ve felt you could compete and contend with. … “

On the lineup: “I do feel position player wise, once we get to spring training, we’ll have a better club, a more balanced, versatile lineup.”

Other notes:

? Though it is up to Lou Piniella, Jim said that the team’s scouts feel that Luis Vizcaino can pitch in the seventh and eighth innings. He mentioned that he is a hard-throwing, situational guy that is very good against right-handers. Vizcaino, according to Jim, was “solid for four, five years and then had a couple bad months for Colorado as well as a couple strong ones.”

? Jim also talked about some of the fifth and spot starter options the Cubs have, though he stressed that he is always looking to add more pitching. He highlighted Sean Marshall’s improvements over the last two years and the outstanding job he did last year. But he also mentioned how Chad Gaudin used to fill in for Rich Harden in Oakland, that Kevin Hart has been a starter before and finished strong in 2008, and that Jeff Samardzija is “a starter down the road, but we don’t think he’s ready for that yet.”

? He also offered that Harden has been training hard, “killing himself,” to get prepared for more than 25 starts next year.

? He described the Cubs’ off-season as starting out strong, then having a long lull, and now picking back up where “things are falling into place.”

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