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Cubs Win, Zambrano Goes, Hendry Stays?

Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs hits against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs hits against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Game recaps are getting shorter and shorter because most of what you want to hear about, I presume, are the dramas surrounding the Cubs rather than the game results of a lost season.

So let's get the score out of the way quickly. The Cubs beat the Braves 8-4 Saturday night. Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney both had four hits, and Carlos Pena hit a two-run double that gave the team a lead it did not relinquish. Randy Wells actually managed to get out of the first inning without allowing a run and pitched credibly and, at last, got his ERA under six.

James Russell had a bit of trouble putting the game away in the ninth inning, so Mike Quade had to summon Carlos Marmol for the last two outs with the bases loaded for his 27th save.

Those are just the facts. The rest of this post are my thoughts on the two biggest news items from Saturday: Carlos Zambrano being placed on the disqualified list for 30 days without pay and a report that Jim Hendry was going to be retained as general manager.

This quote from Hendry on the Zambrano issue says quite a bit about the state of this team:

"This was the most stringent penalty that our club could inflict without a release," general manager Jim Hendry said. "There's not much worse than running out on your teammates in the middle of a ballgame, unpacking your locker, announcing your retirement. I think that is a tremendous problem with the other 24 guys, and something we as an organization could not tolerate."

It's much more serious than the placement on the restricted list was last summer. I presume the MLBPA will file a grievance regarding Zambrano not being paid for 30 days; how that will be resolved, I have no idea. I can't recall another recent instance of a player being placed on the disqualified list or whether a team can withhold pay.

That's not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is, what do the Cubs do with Big Z? As I wrote yesterday, the whole thing is really sad. Sad that a player with the talent and passion that he clearly has, cannot channel that positively into his work. I think too many last chances have been given to Z and that he's likely pitched his last game for the Cubs. 30 days from now is September 12 -- only two weeks will remain in the season at that point, and I cannot imagine he'd be back. The press release issued by the Cubs says:

During this time, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association will discuss recent statements attributed to Zambrano regarding his baseball future.

That's the "I'm retired" statement Z reportedly made. What those discussions will involve, no one can know at this time.

In the meantime, I assume the Cubs will probably recall Casey Coleman to take Z's spot in the rotation. And here is a photo of Zambrano sitting by himself in the Atlanta airport on Saturday, tweeted out late Saturday evening.

Then, there was this tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, also on Saturday:

#MLB Reverse the curse. Jim Hendry will stay on as #Cubs GM, barring Ricketts change of thinkingless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Well. This is one of the reasons I sometimes hate Twitter. This one tweet -- granted, from someone who is credible and does have some insider knowledge -- sent everyone here a bit over the edge on Saturday. What does it really mean? No announcement has been made, we have no information other than this random tweet. And it does acknowledge the possibility that the Ricketts could change their collective minds.

Which, in my opinion, they must do. It is time to sweep out this regime and start fresh. I have defended Jim Hendry many times here, and he did help bring three division titles to the North Side. But over the last three seasons, so many poor decisions have been made and so much bad behavior has been condoned, and this regime continues to provide a clubhouse culture that does not hold anyone accountable for his actions. Carlos Pena touched on it recently, saying the team needed a "culture" change. He's right. Mike Quade made fun of that, but Quade is part of the problem as well.

This team is getting beyond dysfunctional. Jim Hendry had a good run here, but it appears to me his time is done. I've said before that people shouldn't suggest replacing Hendry unless they had someone in mind to replace him, but at this point, I'm changing my mind. (I'm entitled to that, right?) The regime is doing so poorly that it must be changed.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the team needed to be "blown up". Tom Ricketts, that blow-up needs to start at the top of the baseball operation. Please -- we've waited long enough; things aren't working, and keeping things the same isn't going to bring the winner that you promised us and that we all want.

It is time.

The game preview for Sunday's game will post at 11 a.m. CDT.