Wait 'Til Next Year

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ken Rosenthal, who ruffled Lou Piniella's feathers earlier this season when he called for Uncle Lou's dismissal in May, will be the dugout reporter for Fox's regional telecast of Saturday's Cubs-Dodgers game.

Rosenthal wrote on foxsports.com Friday that this season may be a disaster, but that the future is bright for the Cubs.

Sure, we've heard it before (as have generations of Cubs fans), but Rosenthal cites as reasons for hope:

* Rookies who are already making an impact at the major league level.

* A solid and stable starting rotation.

* A strong bullpen anchored by Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall.

* A promising 2011 outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Tyler Colvin.

* More payroll flexibility and the infusion of more prospects after the expected departures of Ted Lilly, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Theriot, and Xavier Nady.

* A deep farm system.

Rosenthal also panned the Tribune Company for Jim Hendry's reckless spending, suspecting Hendry was encouraged to win immediately with little regard for the future to drive up the franchise's sale price.

"The Cubs' $146.6 million payroll not only is the third highest in the majors, but the highest in the NL Central by more than $50 million," Rosenthal wrote. "No other team enjoys such a financial advantage over its division rivals, and the Central is largely mediocre. There simply is no excuse for the Cubs to remain down for long."

And he astutely identified what the future of Hendry, who has been in charge since July 2002, as the Cubs general manager boils down to.

"The Cubs' new owner, Tom Ricketts, must decide whether he trusts Hendry to a) hire the next manager and b) manage future payrolls," Rosenthal wrote. "The best argument for keeping Hendry - and yes, there is one - is the team's foundation going forward."

Hendry's contract runs through 2012, but this first sign that Ricketts is ready to move in a new direction was his hiring of stats guru Ari Kaplan last month.

Ricketts was in Des Moines on Friday, pledging to continue the Cubs' Triple-A affiliation with the Iowa Cubs. He was not asked about Hendry's future and said that whether the Cubs are buyers or sellers this month is in "Jim's court."

Isn't it obvious? We will not be making Cubs postseason ticket reservations.

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