Hendry: No fire sale for Cubs
Say what you will about Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, and many of you have.
But Hendry hardly looked like a guy in fear for his job Wednesday as he strode out to meet the media before the Cubs' thrilling 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Hendry has been in meetings this week with his top-level baseball people: assistant GM Randy Bush, farm director Oneri Fleita, scouting guru Gary Hughes, special assistant Greg Maddux, scout Ken Kravec and others.
After talking for a few minutes about releasing pitcher Doug Davis, Hendry got a grilling about what he was going to do to get a badly performing team -- one of his own making -- back on track.
Hendry took on all comers and showed he has been reading the papers and maybe some of the blogs of late.
He seemed to know full well that the terms "blow up," "tear down" and "rebuild" are out there. He brought up another on his own.
"I read some things that people assume," he said. "They use the word 'fire sale.' That's not going to happen. We're not interested in trading people at all that will be valuable to us moving forward.
"People like to float names of your better players, which makes no sense to trade. If we make moves, it will be designed to make us better for the future, and we still want see how we play the next month or so.
"Everybody thinks there's this big, automatic, 'You have to be a buyer or a seller or it's fire-sale time.' Well, we've got a lot of young people out there pitching and playing or some people who will be very productive for us a year from now that when you get ready to put together a team in the off-season, you certainly don't want to start out without them anyhow … We're certainly going to hold on to the people, no matter what, we feel will be major contributors down the road."
In other words, don't look for the Cubs to trade the likes of relievers Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol and starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. That's to say nothing of young players such as Starlin Castro.
The way Hendry seems to see it, the Cubs still have to put a team out there, whether it's this year or next.
"You have to look six months to a year ahead and work backward because there's no sense trading away things for minor-league players that you can't replace in the off-season with major-league players," he said. "Starting pitching in the game is valued at a premium like it never has been.
"Unfortunately, not just us, but the amount of pitchers in the last year or two years on the disabled list is huge. So you have to be careful. I read, 'This guy might get traded, or the Cubs should move him and get some younger players.'
"We're not only going to have to pitch the rest of this year, you have to pitch next year. You don't replace quality starting pitching overnight."
The Cubs lost Nos. 4 and 5 pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner to injuries in the first week of the season. Wells has come back, but he's been ineffective, and the Cubs are 8-24 when one of their top three starters doesn't pitch.
Their opening-day starter, Ryan Dempster, was masterful Wednesday against Giants ace Tim Lincecum. Dempster threw only 83 pitches as he worked into the ninth inning. Carlos Marmol blew a save chance as he allowed the game-tying run to score to make it 1-1 in the top of the ninth.
Marmol got bailed out in the home half when Aramis Ramirez hit a pinch single to score Tony Campana from third.
"It was fun," Dempster said. "It was good to go deep like that. I'm just glad we came out on top. There wasn't much room for error in that game for sure, going against him. We got a 'W,' so it's a good day."