Consider Gerald Perry a very lucky man. At least he doesn't have to watch the Cubs flail and fail and the plate anymore. One year after overseeing the most prolific offense in baseball, general manager Jim Hendry announced Perry would be replaced by Von Joshua starting Tuesday.
Last season, the Cubs ranked first in runs (855), doubles (329), walks (636), on-base percentage (.354), slugging percentage (.443) and OPS (.779). Perry was given a lot of the credit for the team's offensive success because he helped turn a group of free-swinging fools into patient, productive hitters. This season, they rank 14th, 12th, 11th, 10th and 11th in those same categories, respectively.
And apparently, it was all Perry's fault.
Sometimes, I just do not understand when coaches take the fall for an entire team's shortcomings.
This is where I go after the Cubs' GM for a quick minute.
Hendry brought in Aaron Miles (.205/.246/.259/.505) to be the team's everyday second baseman. Without a reliable starting second sacker, the Cubs had to rely on Mike Fontenot, who has been exposed by legit Major League pitchers and should probably return to his role as a super-sub.
Hendry also brought in Milton Bradley, who logged 141 games as an everyday player for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. Since then, he cracked the 100-game plateau only once, and that was last year as a designated hitter for the Texas Rangers.
Surely, the Cubs are hurting in the absence of Aramis Ramirez, who was hitting .364 with four homers and 17 ribbies in 18 games before injuring himself for trying so damn hard in an effort to please Barry Rozner.
But it is safe to say, even if the manager Lou Piniella had a healthy Ramirez at his disposal, the 2009 Cubs were not put together as well as the 2008 edition. I am never the advocate of keeping the same team together, especially after falling flat in back-to-back playoff series. However, if you're going to trade a second baseman (whose name I will not use in order to keep Cubs fans from splooging at their computers) that hit .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs last season, you cannot replace him with a career back-up and not expect a fall-off in production.
When you rely on a player who averaged 77 games played prior to playing 126 games (as a designated hitter, mind you) to play every day in the outfield, you're playing with fire.
And even though the Cubs are under .500, they are still in striking distance of the first place Milwaukee Brewers. But it looks as if Hendry's shortcomings as a GM might come back and haunt the North Side Nine in the long run.