Results tagged ‘ Hendry ’

Welcome, Milton Bradley

Bradley_Milton.jpgThe Cubs front office and Chicago media just wrapped up the formal press conference and group interviews with chairman Crane Kenney, general manager Jim Hendry and new outfielder Milton Bradley.

As is the case when the ink finally dries on a deal, there were several new tidbits that came out of the press conference.

Milton emphasized several times that the Cubs were the only team to which he wanted to go. In fact, according to Hendry, the two parties first made contact on Nov. 5 or 6 over dinner. Both came away struck by the integrity of the other and the positive feel of the discussion.

After that, Hendry said he talked to “the people who count the most … the people you play with and the people you play for.” As he heard good thing after good thing — and he explored every other trade or free agency option out there — he decided on Milton as his main offensive target. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work, diligence, waiting and trust that this deal got done a full two months later.

Milton also teared up when asked about how rewarding it felt to get a long-term contract: “I try my best not to get emotional. I just remember – I didn’t call my mom because I wanted her to find out by watching TV, but she called and left me a message. And I played it back several times. You can hear her voice cracking on the message, and I just know, my mom worked 35 years as a grocery clerk … 35 years, and was able to retire a few years back. It’s just a tremendous blessing.”

On what kind of a hitter he considers himself: “My focus at the plate is just to try to get on base. A lot of people say they’re trying to get a hit or hit in the gap or whatever, I’m just trying to get on base. I’m going to try to make a pitcher throw me three strikes. If I get the first strike, and it’s a good one and that’s what I want, then I’ll hit that one. But for the most part I want to make the pitcher work, and I want to get a strike to hit.”

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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.

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Welcome back, Demp

Jim Hendry just spoke to the media to announce that the Cubs have re-signed right-hander Ryan Dempster to a four-year contract. We’ll be talking to Demp around 3 p.m. today.

Some of the things that Hendry talked about:

  • Making this deal was a priority both for the Cubs and for Ryan. Jim said that there was “No doubt in any of our minds that Ryan would have exceeded this deal on the streets three or four weeks from now.”

 

  • Jim explained that the organization doesn’t feel that 2008 was a fluke: “One year didn’t get him four [years]. Five years being around Ryan Dempster got him four….He’s still got five or six good years in him, there’s no doubt in my mind.” Hendry said that Demp was underrated as a closer and healthy — being in the training room only “one time for a rub down.”

 

  • Looking forward, Jim said that this deal and the trade for Gregg knocked out priorities to maintain a high level in the rotation and bullpen. But he added that it’s no secret the team is still trying to get more left-handed in the lineup.

 

  • He also expressed that the ownership situation has not impacted him negatively, that he has never felt hamstrung by payroll. He added that he doesn’t have the final payroll number for this year but that it will increase slightly.

Back to it: Cubs acquire Kevin Gregg

There’s no slowing down in baseball’s off-season: General manager Jim Hendry has been working the phone for a couple weeks coming out of the team’s organizational meetings, and he made his first major move today by picking up Marlins right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg for hard-throwing prospect Jose Ceda.

Gregg is a 6-6, 238-pound flame-thrower, who has been effective against both left- and right-handed batters. With the Marlins in 2007 and 2008, Gregg pitched in several late-inning roles, including closer. He features a mid- to high-90s fastball and a splitter.

More updates to come

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with the Vine Line blog during the off-season. We’ll be updating regularly over the coming months, including with updates on the magazine as some of you have requested.

In the coming days, look for extended comments on Geovany Soto and Lou Piniella on their awards as well as the year ahead.

Lou extended through 2010

While pitchers were practicing pickoffs and taking fielding practice at the start of this afternoon’s workout, general manager Jim Hendry announced that the club had picked up the 2010 option on Lou Piniella’s contract. The deal, signed in late-2006, originally called for three years with a club option for a fourth.

Jim approached Cubs chairman Crane Kenney previously about extending Lou, and he said the timing was right to do it now rather than in the off-season, when contracts, extensions and changes fill the news headlines. Jim expressed that he was grateful that Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell approved the deal while a sale of the team is in the works.

“Obviously, no one doesn’t want Lou,” Hendry said.

He also explained that, when he got on the plane to Tampa Bay two years ago, his gut told him that Lou was the right guy and that their relationship has developed well. Lou understands what the general manager’s job is about from his high-pressure days in New York in the late-80s, just as Jim knows when not to interfere with Lou.

“In my opinion, there’s no more important relationship than between the GM and manager,” Hendry said.

– Sean Ahmed

Hendry on the deal

On being given leeway to make trades: “[The media] asked me in spring training would we be able to make any deals in July, and the word from above has never been that we won’t be able to contend.”

On the CC Sabathia deal maybe pushing the Cubs’ hand: “No, not at all. I really felt like maybe by Friday [the Sabathia deal] might have been done….I knew Rich [Harden] was going to make his start Sunday no matter what, and I knew at the same time that my chats with Mark Shapiro were that he felt like, if he liked the deal that he got, he was going to try to do it before CC turned up again. And really it had nothing to do with ours.”

On how long he had been working on the deal: “I’d say at least three weeks. And realistically not knowing that he would be available for sure. He was out there spinning some gems with real hard stuff, and here are the Oakland A’s just a few games out of both the division and the Wild Card.”

On dealing with Billy Beane: “He’s really on top of his profession, honest, not afraid to trade talent for talent, not trying to beat anybody up….He gets talent, he gives talent. I don’t want to win deals. I want everyone to be happy. We get what we want, and we win. And in this case, I’ll be rooting like heck for the guys we traded. You certainly click with certain people in this industry. I think the first trade I made with him as an assistant GM was when we got Mark Bellhorn from him. That was one of the first few that Andy [MacPhail] let me do. Last year with Kendall, a few calls, 15 minutes.”

On moving forward from here: “It doesn’t mean you’re going to do more business, but we’re going to continue to try to get better. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can make deals.”

On knowing who else may be in on a deal: “I never ask, even if it’s Sabathia. You just try to get yourself in there and do the best you can. You can waste a lot of time asking who else is involved and thinking you gotta beat so and so because, I know you [reporters] all find this hard to believe, but a lot of stuff that is written is never really true [laughs].”

And the other shoe drops

I just got out of the press conference with Jim Hendry; quotes to follow.

The Cubs this afternoon acquired RHP Rich Harden and RHP Chad Gaudin from the Athletics. In exchange, Oakland got RHP Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, IF/OF Eric Patterson and minor-leaguer C Josh Donaldson.

Harden, 26, is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts this season. This year, like previous ones, he has spent time on the disabled list. As a side note, his contract signed in 2005 has a club option for $7 million next year.

Gaudin, 25, is a reliever known for his deadly slider and is 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 62.2 innings this year (including six starts).

So, Cubs fans, what are your thoughts?

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