So, our Fearless Leader was just on with Waddle and Silvie, sounding almost Kenny Williams-esque, meaning he had a very "I know how to build a ballclub" sort of tone. At any rate, I'll try and recap his comments along three major lines: deadline moves, Zambrano's contract, and some general comments on Lou and the current team.
On any forthcoming roster moves and/or trades:
--Hendry says he's willing to make more deals, so long as they improve this team's chances to win it all.
--He dropped an interesting tidbit in explaining his process for getting trades and signings approved, twice noting that "I take it to John [McDonough], Crane [Kenney], and Dennis [Fitzsimons], and then the decision is made." At the very least it's a peek into the team hierarchy that some of us, myself included, didn't have previously.
--In an odd moment, Hendry says, "I'm feel that if we want to add something before July 31st, we'll be able to do so," then, when Silvie asked whether there were any added restrictions due the impending sale of the team, Hendry admitted that there were added restrictions, saying, "Yes, but that's a part of this business." That's more than a bit confounding, there, Jim. Thanks for the blatantly contradictory non-answer. Again, I understand Hendry's got to play his cards close to the vest, but if he's going to this evasive, why bother with an interview at all.
--Hendry remarked that while the Cubs' farm system has been denigrated by some people and publications, players from that system have made significant contributions to the team this year, and that the farm system is generating "more interest than usual" from other teams. Again, probably a bit of gamesmanship by Hendry, attempting to drum up some interest in his prospects.
--When asked by Silvie about the apparent lack of a dependable, everyday CF and RF, Hendry remarked, "I'm not worried," and went to on to say that Floyd would be back soon, maybe today, that he expects Jones and Pagan to do a good job in platoon in CF, and that "Matt Murton and some other bats" in the minor league system might be brought up to lend some added help. Hendry also remarked that he "doesn't want get down on our own people. I don't sit up there and go 'This guy's not doing the job, he needs to be replaced.' That's just not the way it goes." Hmph. I don't know that i'm really satisfied by any aspect of that answer. I've long thought Hendry overestimates his players to a fault. I'm interested to see how this plays out.
--Hendry noted that Wood has pitched "very well" in a couple of rehab outing and that he could be back with the big club "shortly down the road," pending "a couple of back-to-back days," ostensibly one set at AA, and one set at AAA, but he didn't exactly say that. Personally, I'm so weary of Wood and Prior that I don't care anymore. Whatever Wood gives this team is icing at this point. I refuse to anticipate his coming and to expect anything from him once it happens.
On Zambrano's contract:
--Hendry refused to discuss any details of the negotiations and refused to differentiate between "discussions" and "negotiations," when pressed on it by Silvie. I started to get a bit perturbed at this point. I'll try not to vent.
--When Silvie kept pressing him on the contract, Hendry says, " Those things are between John [McDonough] and Barry Praver (Zambrano's agent)."
WHAAAAA?! JM shoves it over to Hendry last week, now Hendry responds in kind. I don't like that. Once again, I know they have a business to run, but if you're going to disingenuous and evasive, then just don't give the interview.
--When asked if Zambrano's price was rising with each solid start, Hendry replied, "Not to my eyes...but that's not the issue anyway." I'm not sure how to take this, but it would seem to confirm my long-standing suspicion that it's years, not dollars that are holding up this deal. OTOH, around the trade deadline, you can tell a MLB GM is lying because his his mouth is moving.
On Lou and this Cub Team:
--He feels that there is a growing comfort level between both he and Lou and Lou and his players. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
--He says he wasn't surprised by Derosa's recent success, because "we had scouts at about 45 of his games last year, and we knew what he was capable of. You guys [in the press] who are surprised by this...that's understandable, because you weren't there following him every day." Have he and Kenny been having lunch? Next thing you know, he'll be telling some ex-player to stay out of Cubs' business.
--He lauded the scouting staff for the signings of Derosa and Lilly, saying that that "hit big" with their advice to focus on both players as the prime targets in the offseason.
On the whole, an odd interview, more unsettling than reassuring, and more haughty and evasive than McDonough's. I realize that this is a crucial time for a team in contention, but if this is what an interview is going to be like, then don't even give it. Any thoughts?