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Columnist
Mostly, Hendry isn't connecting as Cubs hit mid-season
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Columnist

The off-season moves by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry deserve their own official scoring.

 

Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

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Published: 7/14/2009 12:01 AM

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Every hitter in baseball must endure the dreaded "oh-fer" now and then, some more than others.

So it goes with general managers.

Much of the Cubs' 43-43 record at the all-star break can be traced to the moves GM Jim Hendry made last off-season.

Even though many Cubs fans are ready to hang the collar (another word for "oh-fer") on Hendry for his moves last winter, the box score is only a partial one.

With the benefit of hindsight - and who doesn't like that - let's take a look at Hendry's plate appearances from last winter and mark them down as hit or outs in our scorecard.

Although the partial box score isn't pretty, Hendry has almost a half-season to make it look prettier.

"I don't know anybody that didn't pick us to win with the same team we put together by the end of spring training," Hendry said. "If it doesn't work out, it's my responsibility. But I think going into the season, we all thought we had a real good offensive team. It just hasn't worked out.

"The people that picked apart the off-season now picked us to win the division handily."

With that in mind, let the picking begin:

The Milton Bradley signing: Operating under the belief the Cubs needed to "get more left-handed," Hendry signed the switch-hitting Bradley to be the new Cubs' right fielder.

Bradley was Hendry's guy all along, despite the presence of Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu on the open market.

Bradley has been a first-half bust overall and a dreadful bust as a left-handed hitter, even though he had hit .271 with 68 homers against right-handed pitching and .303 with 35 homers against lefties for his career entering this season. In fairness to Bradley, his on-base percentage is rising, but the power numbers haven't been there.

He has been erratic in the field, and his teammates aren't quite sure what to make of him off the field.

Official scoring: Hendry strikes out swinging.

The Aaron Miles signing: On the same day he traded popular and versatile Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for three minor-league pitching prospects, Hendry signed Miles to a two-year, $4.9 million deal after the Cardinals did not offer him a contract.

Can you say Neifi Perez all over again?

DeRosa, now with the Cardinals, now has taken a special place in Cubs lore. As for Miles, the Cubs don't seem very eager at all to activate him from the disabled list after lackluster play.

Official scoring: Hendry gets caught looking.

The DeRosa trade: The Cubs got three pretty good arms in Jeff Stevens, John Gaub and Chris Archer.

However, questions arose from Day 1 of spring training as to whether the Cubs had enough depth at third base if Aramis Ramirez got injured.

When Ramirez dislocated his left shoulder May 8, that answer turned out to be "no."

Official scoring: Hendry is down in the count 0-2, but this at-bat is still going.

The Jason Marquis trade: Few in the public or the media seemed upset when Hendry dealt Marquis to the Rockies for reliever Luis Vizcaino in a money-saving move.

As Marquis got off to a hot start that led to an all-star berth and talk of a possible 20-win season (remember, though, he's a "first-half pitcher"), some of the history got revised. It also didn't look good when the Cubs got rid of Vizcaino in April and the Indians did likewise.

Randy Wells has taken over the fifth-starter's job and done it well. The Marquis move was done with good intention, but we all know what road is paved with good intentions.

Official scoring: Pop foul to the catcher.

The Aaron Heilman trade: Heilman always was a Hendry favorite, and on Jan. 28, he obtained the right-handed reliever from Seattle for infielder Ronny Cedeno, who had worn out his welcome, and pitcher Garrett Olson, whom the Cubs obtained from Baltimore for Felix Pie.

Heilman has had his moments, but he's been lackluster too, as evidenced by his 1. 63 WHIP (walks plus hits per 1 inning pitched).

Official scoring: Coupled with the trade of reliever Michael Wuertz to Oakland for players the Cubs no longer have, let's say Hendry grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The trade for Kevin Gregg: Getting Gregg from Florida for pitching prospect Jose Ceda paved Kerry Wood's exit from Chicago and elicited little excitement.

All the low-key Gregg has done is save 16 games in 19 chances. Wood has struggled at times in Cleveland, and Ceda went to camp with the Marlins woefully out of shape.

Official scoring: Give Hendry a solid double to the gap for this one.