Dear BCB Readers,
Jim Hendry decides to call you to ask your advice. He asks you-- "Give me three moves to make."
What do you tell him?
And let's be specific and practical.
If he calls me:
- Replace Dusty Baker with Fredi Gonzales at the end of the season. We all know Baker is likely to go. Play nice, thank him, and then get to work. Gonzales will bring a winning attitude, a track record of success, a strong record of experience managing in the minors, and the wisdom gained from having worked with one of the best managers in the game (Bobby Cox). (And because it seems like the tail wags the dog in this organization, Gonzales might be a good influence over Hendry himself.)
- Find the best pitching coach possible, and offer them the moon to coach the Cubs. How responsible Larry Rothschild is for the Cubs horrific number of injuries in the past few years is debatable. What seems clear is that pitchers seem to under-achieve under his watch. The Cubs are blessed with a number of really talented young arms. It's a crime to not equip them with the most talented, hardest-working pitching coach imaginable. Larry Rothschild, clearly, is not him.
- Let Juan Pierre walk. And I don't mean to first base (that's part of the problem). This is a small one compared to the first two. I like Juan Pierre. I like his hustle, his reported work ethic, and his attitude. I just don't think he's a very good player. And because of his low walk totals and high caught-stealing rate, I don't think he's a very good lead-off man. Letting Pierre walk will solve a number of issues: A) Keeps us from committing anywhere from 5-7 million dollars a year for the next 2-4 years on a below-average player; B) Allows us to find a better Center Fielder; C) Allows us to find a better lead-off hitter (possibly even within the organization-- Murton? Theriot?); D) Keeps the organization from blocking Felix Pie, who will be a much better player than Pierre (and probably by as soon as 2007).