Results tagged ‘ Jim Hendry ’

11/16 Wild Card talks

Major League Baseball GMs spent Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., discussing several topics as they prepared for the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. One of the issues was expanding the current playoff system and adding another Wild Card team. Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he’s in favor.

“I don’t have the formula on how to make it work and I haven’t thought about how it will affect the season or move it up or shorten it or things like that,” Hendry said. “I think it’s great for the fans. The Wild Card has proven over time to be terrific and the more teams in the race that have a chance is great for the fan base. If you can make it work and it doesn’t go too deep into the winter, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want more teams involved.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/9 Sandberg to Phillies? – 2nd UPDATE

Ryne Sandberg isn’t giving up on his dream to manage in the big leagues. He is reportedly among the candidates for the Phillies’ managerial vacancy at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

“I’m committed to baseball and what I’m doing,” Sandberg told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. “My goal is to reach the Majors again, just like everyone else in the Minor Leagues. But I want to coach and teach and continue to do that, whether it’s in the Minors or the Majors. I’m committed to that. I always have been. I never stopped.”

Sandberg’s agent Jim Turner told the Daily Herald: “Ryne felt it was in his best interests, and [Cubs] ownership’s best interests, to not accept the job at [Triple-A] Iowa. He did not want ownership or the fans or Mike Quade to feel he was sitting there waiting for a disappointing result and an ax to fall in Chicago. That’s not how he’s built.”

Sandberg has talked to the Ricketts family about pursuing other managerial openings. Cubs GM Jim Hendry did give Sandberg the option of returning to Triple-A Iowa but he chose not to. Sandberg is under contract with the Cubs until Dec. 31, but the team will not get in the way of his pursuit of a job.

“He was always welcome to do whatever he wanted,” Hendry said Tuesday night.

Could Sandberg manage in the Phillies system? Sure.

“By not accepting the Des Moines job, Ryne’s sending a clear signal to the 29 other teams,” Turner said. “He’s serious about reaching his goal, and that goal can be reached with any Major League team.”

Sandberg, 51, has spent the last four years in the Cubs’ Minor League system, managing Triple-A Iowa last year. He was named Pacific Coast League manager of the year after leading the Iowa Cubs to a tie for first at 82-62. Sandberg was a candidate for the Cubs’ manager’s job, but Hendry picked Mike Quade, who led the team to a 24-13 record in the final six weeks of the regular season.

Sandberg does have ties to the Phillies. He began his career with the team, which selected the infielder in the 20th round of the 1978 Draft. He was included in the deal which sent shortstop Larry Bowa to the Cubs in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.

– Carrie Muskat

11/3 Where does Colvin play?

During a conference call with Chicago reporters on Wednesday, GM Jim Hendry was asked if Tyler Colvin would be in the outfield or at first base in 2011. Hendry said it’s too soon to say.

“We’ll have to see what our roster looks like by the time we get to camp,” he said.

If the Cubs have added a left-handed hitting first baseman via free agency, Colvin would be back fighting for time in the outfield. Colvin hasn’t played first regularly since high school, getting some work there part-time when he played at Clemson. Hendry and manager Mike Quade both agreed Colvin is ready to be an every day player for the Cubs.

“He made progress and if you’re thinking about [having him play first], Spring Training will be huge for him,” Quade said. “He’s an excellent outfielder, making progress with the bat, and he’ll play somewhere.”

Colvin is one of the first to report to Mesa, Ariz., for early workouts, taking part in what’s been dubbed “Camp Colvin.” Several other players also will participate this year, including Darwin Barney and Brett Jackson.

– Carrie Muskat

11/3 Ramirez expected back

Aramis Ramirez made it clear he wanted to stay in Chicago and has reportedly exercised his option for 2011. However, GM Jim Hendry, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said he had yet to get the official word from the third baseman or his agent, Paul Kinzler.

“Aramis and I have always had a good relationship,” Hendry said. “He told me a few times near the end of the season that he would be back.”

Hendry said he’d heard the reports that Ramirez had completed the paperwork but the Cubs general manager had yet to receive it. The only surprise would be if Ramirez didn’t return.

“We never even gave it a thought — there was never a discussion from his camp that he was not coming back,” Hendry said.

Ramirez will be paid $14.6 million next year, boosting the total the Cubs are already committed to in player salaries for 2011 to $103 million. He had until midnight Thursday to decide whether he would stay with the Cubs, and if not, would become a free agent.

– Carrie Muskat

11/3 Ryno done as Cubs Minor League skipper

Ryne Sandberg, bypassed for the Cubs managerial job, won’t be returning to the team’s Minor League system as a manager. GM Jim Hendry said Wednesday that Sandberg would not be back for a second season at Triple-A Iowa. The Hall of Fame second baseman spent four seasons as a Minor League manager in the Cubs system, beginning in 2007 at Class A Peoria.

This year, Sandberg was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year and was a finalist for the Cubs’ job, but Hendry picked Mike Quade, who led the team to a 24-13 record in the final six weeks.

“We spoke to ‘Ryno’ at the beginning of the weekend,” Hendry said. “‘Ryno’ will not be coming back to Iowa. I don’t think that was ever in his plans to be in the Minor Leagues after this year. What other opportunities he looks into, that will be up to him. He’ll always be welcome here. He knows that.”

Other teams have yet to contact the Cubs about interviewing Sandberg.

“If he chooses to come to Spring Training, that would be great,” Hendry said of Sandberg, who worked with players as an instructor before tackling managing jobs. “If he wants to pursue opportunities with somebody else, that will be up to him.

“The Iowa decision [to not come back] was totally his,” Hendry said. “I never got the sense that if he wasn’t the manager that he was going to go back there. We left it up to him entirely and gave him the opportunity, if he wanted to, to take as long as he needed. That’s a decision he made.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/20 Cubs leave door open for Ryno

One thing that may have been missed during Tuesday’s news conference re: Mike Quade was that Cubs GM Jim Hendry left the door open for Ryne Sandberg to return to the organization. Sandberg was one of the finalists to be the Cubs manager but was bypassed in favor of Quade, who passed all the tests during a six-week public audition with the team.

“Ryne Sandberg, as great a player as he was, he’s just as good a human being,” Hendry said. “What he did going to the Minor Leagues and the way he carried himself was very, very good. I think Tom Ricketts and his family are very aware of how important it is for ‘Ryno’ long term to be a member of the Cubs family. He’s disappointed [he didn't get the Cubs job]. I’m sure like a lot of people, you feel like your heart is set on that. Over time, I hope he’s a Cub in some capacity forever.”

Asked if he would welcome Sandberg back to the Cubs’ Minor League system, Hendry said: “Absolutely, absolutely.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/19 The Q factor

On Tuesday, the Cubs officially promoted Mike Quade to the big leagues. He signed a two-year contract with the team and after 17 seasons and 2,378 games in such towns as Macon, Scranton, Huntsville and Des Moines, he’s now the Cubs manager.

“I don’t know how anybody could’ve done better than he did,” Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez said of Quade after the regular season finale Oct. 3.

“Q” was picked over Ryne Sandberg, which will upset more than a few Cubs fans who wanted the Hall of Fame second baseman back at Wrigley Field and in the dugout. It’s unlikely Sandberg will be on the Cubs coaching staff.

Others considered for the Cubs job included Eric Wedge, who was named manager of the Mariners, and former Diamondbacks and Mariners manager Bob Melvin. This is the third manager to be named by Hendry, who gave Dusty Baker a four-year contract, starting in 2003, and hired Lou Piniella in October 2006.

Quade, 53, took over for Piniella on Aug. 23 and is the fifth Cubs manager to post a .600 or better winning percentage as a mid-season replacement. Whitey Lockman did so 1972 after replacing Leo Durocher, guiding the Cubs to a 39-26 mark. Others to accomplish the feat include Frank Chance in 1905 (55-33); Charlie Grimm in 1932 (37-18); and Gabby Hartnett in 1938 (44-27).

– Carrie Muskat

10/10 Thanks from the Ricketts

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to season ticket holders this past week. Here’s a copy:

“It has been an incredible year for my family in our first season as stewards of the Chicago Cubs. Of all the new experiences, none was more enjoyable than the opportunity to meet and spend time with you—our season ticket holders.
 
“We met many of you during our game day walks through Wrigley Field.  Over the course of those games, you welcomed me and my family, you shared your thoughts and suggestions on improving the team and the ballpark, we celebrated some wins and, unfortunately, suffered too many losses.
 
“One of the highlights of the year was our first ever season ticket holder ‘open house’ on July 8th. On that day alone I met more than 2100 of you, as we spent a day together in the greatest ballpark on earth. (For all who have inquired—yes, we are going to host that event again and in fact we will double up with a night session as well).
 
“As our most highly valued customers, your opinions are invaluable as we move our organization forward. In fact, you will soon be contacted to participate in a quality assurance survey as we consider amenity upgrades and look to identify ways to improve your experience at Wrigley Field.
 
“On behalf of my entire family, thank you for your warm welcome and your incredible support of the Cubs organization. You are truly our partners and we respect your contribution and insights.”
 
2010 Review
 
“The 2010 season was a disappointment for all at the major league level–for my family, for the organization, for the players and for the fans. The team showed signs of its potential the last quarter of the season, but the 75-87 record fell well short of our goals. My family is committed to winning a World Series and though it may not be entirely evident from this year’s performance, there are encouraging signs.
 
“The 2010 highlights revolved around our home grown talent. Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner developed into budding stars, with Castro and Colvin in the NL Rookie of the Year discussion. That young group was enhanced by the August promotion of Casey Coleman, who went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts. All need to take the next step in 2011, but we are very encouraged to have a group of young, home grown players emerge as regulars in 2010.
 
“We also have to recognize the superb job done by another one of our own–Mike Quade.  During the final 37 games, the team played at a .649 clip (24-13), the second best record in the Majors over that time frame. Making this even more significant, we played largely against teams fighting for playoff berths.
 
“It is my strong belief that, in the end, it is organizations with strong farm systems that win championships and I am convinced that our organization is making progress.
 
“Our success in producing talent from within our system can be attributed to a number of factors, including a commitment of financial resources. We believe we have one of the best scouting directors in baseball in Tim Wilken (now 4 years in place) and with a strong farm director in Oneri Fleita and a very productive international effort, we are making progress in what had been a weak spot in the organization.
 
“Our farm clubs performed very well in 2010, playing to a collective 374-316 record, with first place finishes at both the Triple-A level in Iowa (tied) and Double-A level in Tennessee. The overall .542 winning percentage was second among all major league organizations and our 374 wins were the most for the Cubs organization in 15 years. As I said at our opening press conference about a year ago, we are committed to winning the right way—with our farm system. We believe we are on the right track.”
 
2011 Preview
 
“We are early in the process of building the club for 2011. The first order of business is hiring our manager. Jim Hendry has identified a strong group of candidates and we are currently completing our interviews. This is a critical decision and I am confident we will find the right person to lead the club.
 
“The strength of our team in 2010 was our starting pitching, as we led the National League with 96 quality starts. We expect that to continue. We are excited to see the continued development of our young players and the strong bullpen work anchored by Carlos Marmol (38 saves and a reliever-franchise record 138 strikeouts) and Sean Marshall (2.65 ERA, 22 holds).
 
“Going forward, we recognize the need to recommit to fundamentals. We need to stabilize our defense and cut down on errors. We need to improve our offense and become more efficient in both moving runners and hitting with players in scoring position. It is too early to determine whether this will be addressed with internal moves, trades or through free agent acquisitions.  But we know we must improve in these areas.
 
“Given that we had the highest payroll in the NL in 2010, I get a lot of questions about our payroll commitment for 2011. As I said earlier, we are still working on our 2011 baseball plan, so it is hard to be too specific at this time. What I can tell you is that our overall baseball budget (scouting, player development and payroll) will be about the same in 2011 as it was in 2010. Continued long term success will come through superior scouting and player development, and we are committed to improving that facet of the organization. As a result, this likely means a shift of some of our resources from the major league payroll toward scouting and player development, but we are still very much in the evaluation phase.”
 
2011 Ticket Pricing
 
“The other question I get regularly concerns our ticket pricing for 2011 and beyond. Overall, our average ticket price will be flat in 2011 compared to 2010. Before going into greater detail on that topic, let me provide some background.
 
“My family is committed to providing ticket pricing that allows families to enjoy Cubs baseball. In so many ways, our children represent the next generation in the Cubs family. We want to invest in providing families with opportunities to experience Wrigley Field, including such things as running the bases, which will be continued in 2011.
 
“To this end, we will continue the policy of keeping many of our tickets in the sub $10 range–in fact, we will offer a substantial increase in sub-$10 tickets next year compared to 2010.
 
“In addition, we are increasing the number of bronze games (our lowest ticket pricing tier) from 6 games in 2010 to 15 games in the bleachers and 11 games in the grandstand in 2011. As a result, there will be 77% more tickets priced at $20 or less in 2011 than there were in 2010.  Stated differently, a total of more than 550,000 tickets will be available for $20 or less next year.
 
“Again, our average ticket price next year will be essentially flat compared to 2010 (actually it is fractionally down vs. 2010). This does not mean all ticket prices will be the same as last year however, as pricing was adjusted based on location and our schedule. A little background might be helpful.
 
“To set our pricing in 2011, we examined approximately 5 million transactions from our primary and secondary ticket markets from 2005 through 2010. Our goal was to keep our average ticket price flat overall but improve the alignment of pricing for games and seating sections with actual demand. The result is a market-based ticket model that reflects our fans’ buying patterns.
 
“The highlights include: (1) reducing the average ticket price for all gold, silver and bronze games, (2) separating the bleachers and grandstands in the pricing tiers, as the buying patterns vary significantly for each area, and (3) adding a new fifth tier of pricing (Marquee Tier) for our high
est demand games.
 
“Cutting through it all, the net result for our season ticket holders is that some will see a slight (in all cases, less than 3%) increase, others will see a reduction as much as 6% and some will see virtually no change at all.
 
“Other changes in 2011 include new season ticket holder benefits. Over the years, we have added significant benefits to being a Cubs season ticket holder, such as a dedicated area within our website, early access to Spring Training tickets and other special events (such as the very popular Dave Matthews concerts and Allstate Wrigleyville Classic football game coming in November), and last year’s open house.
 
“For 2011, there are a number of new benefits that I think you will find interesting. Among them is exclusive access to our players, coaches, manager, front office and ownership through Cubs Insider Webcasts that will occur throughout the year. In addition to updates on everything happening inside the ballclub, these webcasts will provide you the opportunity to ask questions on topics of your choice. A Season Ticket Holder Benefit page follows this letter and you should ask your Cubs representative about any of the items listed there.”
 
Wrigley Field Renovations
 
“Like you, we love Wrigley Field and are committed to winning a championship at the Friendly Confines. We all need to recognize, however,  that our wonderful Wrigley Field is fast approaching 100 years of age and is in need of substantial improvements. We committed over $10 million to that effort last year, largely to improve restrooms, add new food options, recast concrete, upgrade steel and other general maintenance. We will continue this effort in 2011 but again the focus will be more tactical than strategic.
 
“We spent much of the 2010 season assembling a team of renowned architects, engineers, designers and project managers to develop a master plan for a more significant Wrigley Field overhaul and Triangle Building development. Our planning will continue in 2011 and your involvement through the quality assurance surveys mentioned earlier is very important. We look forward to completing the analysis phase and getting underway with the construction and occupation phase.”
 
Conclusion
 
“Thank you again for your incredible support of Cubs baseball and the Ricketts family. We have spent our adult lives sitting next to you cheering for our team. We now have the responsibility to improve not only the play on the field but also to protect and save our summer home, Wrigley Field. With your help we will accomplish both.”

10/8 Extra bases

Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild has until Monday to tell the team whether he will exercise his option for 2011. Rothschild, 56, just finished his ninth season with the Cubs, who ranked 13th in the National League in ERA at 4.18. Even if Rothschild says yes, he can leave if the next Cubs manager does not want him or if Rothschild does not want to work with the new skipper.

* As of now, the list of candidates who have interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial job includes Eric Wedge, Bob Melvin, Ryne Sandberg and Mike Quade. General manager Jim Hendry has talked to at least seven others by phone but did not plan on calling any of them in for formal interviews.

* The Cubs ranked eighth in the NL in team batting average and 10th in runs scored. Hendry was happy with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who finished his first season with the team. “He’s a hard working guy and I think you saw some positives come near the end,” Hendry said. “The guy’s been as good as there is for 15 years. I think over time his abilities will continue to grow for us.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/2 Melvin in town

Cubs GM Jim Hendry will interview former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin this weekend in Houston, according to the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) newspaper. Hendry had talked to Melvin when he interviewed managers prior to the 2003 season. The Cubs hired Dusty Baker at that time. Melvin managed the Mariners from 2003-04, compiling a 156-168 record. He finished second in the American League West in ’03. He joined the Diamondbacks in 2005 and in five seasons was 337-340, finishing first in ’07 and second in ’05 and ’08. He was let go in 2009 after the team got off to a 12-17 start. So far, Hendry has talked to former Indians manager Eric Wedge and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who managed the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa team.

The Cubs are 23-12 under Mike Quade, second-best record in the Major Leagues since Aug. 23. Only the Phillies have a better mark at 26-11.

– Carrie Muskat

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