Five days until I head for Mesa. We'll have a spring preview in Sunday's paper, and I'll have a blog-style primer in the next day or so. The beauty of having a big and varied media mix (including the "bloggers") in Chicago is that different reporters have different ways of going about their questions. Cubs GM Jim Hendry was on ESPN 1000 here in Chicago this morning with Waddle and Silvy (ex-Bear Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman).
Silvy asked Jim if he consciously went out of his way to get a better mix of "chemistry" in the subtraction of Milton Bradley and the additions of Marlon Byrd and non-roster man Kevin Millar. To me, "chemistry" is winning, but we've beaten that subject to death. Here's what Jim said on the radio even as he said he wanted to put Milton behind him.
"Honestly, until obviously, Milton, we'd always had that," Hendry said of good chemistry. "So it wasn't like it was a u-turn of philosophy. We had a great bunch of guys here for a long time, and we still do. Obviously, I made the mistake of trying to fit in the perfect type offensive player, and obviously, when that didn't work, the other issues came out. Fortunately, we put it behind us. It wasn't a conscious effort of doing anything entirely different. It was just like back to the norm, to be honest with you. The team that won 97 two years ago and the team that came back in Lou's first year and won the division were filled with not only good players, but quality people. That's the way we've always done things."
Obviously, Jim says "obviously" a lot, and the "until obviously Milton" phrase was telling.
"Offensively, he was the right guy," Jim said. "It wasn't like we didn't do our homework. I'm still convinced to this day if he'd have hit like he normally did the first couple of months, probably a lot of the issues wouldn't have come out. He was probably our best player in spring training. I remember having some chats with Derrek Lee and Aramis during camp, and they were thrilled to have him. He (Milton) got out of the gate so poorly and just didn't handle that lack of success well."
I've been telling you here the Cubs are done acquiring position players, even though people are still bandying about the names of Johnny Damon and Felipe Lopez.
Silvy tried to get Jim to get specifics about names, but Jim wasn't biting, only to reiterate the Cubs would like a veteran to add to the pen, something he has been consistent about saying since the convention.
"We're not going to sign more position guys," Jim said.
The boys picked apart Jim's comments a little bit after he had hung up, specifically when Jim mentioned Alfonso Soriano hitting .270-.275 and hitting 30-plus homers. I think you take 30-plus homers from Soriano at this point, and if he can get the OBP up to .340 or so (it's never going to be great), I think you take that too, as long as everybody else is doing their part.
More to come between now and Tuesday, and we'll be blogging early and often from Fitch Park.