Contrary to popular belief ... a blog about disproving theories floating around Wrigleyville and the blogosphere.
Adding Milton didn't have to mean saying bye to DeRosa, Marquis
The Cubs did not have to get rid of Mark DeRosa and Jason Marquis to make room for Milton Bradley. DeRosa and Marquis made a total of $15.375 million this year. The first year of Bradley's contract was only worth $5 million. And with DeRosa and Marquis coming off the books after the '09 season, the two remaining years at $10 million each for Bradley would make sense.
Bradley = Edmonds, not DeRosa
The most polarizing right fielder since the last No. 21 to roam around the ivy-colored walls didn't replace Mark DeRosa at second, in fact, he hasn't played infield all year. Bradley, in essence replaced Jim Edmonds.
In fact, Hendry failed as soon as he targeted Bradley as a run-producing lefty stick. Bradley posted career highs in home runs (22), runs batted in (77) and OPS (.999) last season in Texas. His previous career highs in those categories came in 2004 with the Dodgers (19 HR, 67 RBI) and a .923 OPS in 2003 with Cleveland.
Despite the Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu love, the right choice was (and always has been) Adam Dunn. Hendry couldn't even put the blame on Dunn's defense, seeing that Crazy Uncle Milt touched the outfield as often as Mel Rojas converted saves for the Cubs in 1997. Jim Hendry takes responsibility for the suckfest that has been the 2009 Cubs. For most fans that means he's taking responsibility for Milton Bradley's slow start and lack of power.
Dunn has averaged 40 homers and nearly 100 ribbies in his big league career. At Wrigley, he owns a career 1.003 OPS and .286 batting average. Signing Dunn would have saved Hendry a few precious breaths of air when he laid this lollipop B.S. answer for the media about Milt's slow start, "'For whatever reason, we've had a history of guys who've come in the first year of their deals and it takes awhile."
Replacing DeRosa at second base was Mike Fontenot, who was coming off a season in which he hit .305 with 9 home runs and a .909 OPS in only 284 plate appearances and was scheduled to make $5,070,000 less than DeRosa in 209. But unlinke middle-infield partner Ryan Theriot, Fontenot had not yet seen the rigors of a full season. Aaron Miles was signed to a two-year deal to play second, short and third in a pinch. He was coming from a division rival, but also coming off a career-year. Hendry should have been wary of those factors before replacing DeRosa with the unknown.
There is, nor was there ever justification for the Kevin Gregg trade
The Kevin Gregg trade is even more puzzling than not replacing DeRosa with a proven major leaguer or signing Bradley. Trading away years of controlled Jose Ceda (a prospect once deemed untouchable enough to hold back in a trade for Brian Roberts) for one year (and $4.2 million) of a closer who faltered in a pitchers ballpark without much pressure. In a hitters park and the monumental weight of replacing a fan-favorite, Gregg absolutely collapsed. The Cubs had their closer-of-the-future waiting in the wings in Carlos Marmol and an up-and-coming Angel Guzman. Hendry's bullpen really faltered when they acquired Aaron Heilman ($1.625 million) while not being able to find LOOGY help in the process.
And really, it's not like Kerry Wood (15 saves, 1.381 WHIP, 4.71 ERA) is tearing up the world in Cleveland. Still would have been nice to get some compensation out of losing him to free agency.
Breaking up Blanco stunted Geo's growth
Letting Henry Blanco go sucked, but he hasn't come close to duplicating last years numbers. Neither has Geovany Soto, come to think of it. Maybe separating those two was like breaking up a group with two strong voices in unison, but two "meh" voices when apart. Bringing in Paul Bako is like asking your line-up to have an automatic out in it.
The biggest money-mistake was bringing back Ryan Dempster to the tune of $8 million in '09 and up to $40 million in the next three years. Want to know why there's no Jake Peavy on the North Side? There's part of the answer. There is no way to justify handing $52 million to Dempster who hadn't made at least 30 starts since 2003, while posting his most wins since 2001, most strikeouts since 2002 and lowest WHIP since 2000. Long story short, Dempster hadn't been a legit starter since the early part of this decade. Yes, Dempster had a great 2008 regular season, but when the pressure was on in October, Dempster's carriage turned into a pumpkin. So did the Cubs.
So, are Cubs fans right to call for Hendry's head? Of course. He spearheaded the dismantling of a 97-win team for the sake of change. (At least he manned up and took the blame for it.) Still, that kind of ignorance is a fireable offense. Here's hoping that Tom Ricketts sees it that way, too. If not, get ready for a rebuilding process at Wrigley that doesn't involve falling debris.
Though, in essence, it might as well.