The time has come for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry
to make a decision on Dusty Baker
Here's the thing: If Baker is the guy Hendry really wants to manage the team in 2007 and 2008, it shouldn't matter whether the timing of an offer and announcement fits neatly into a win streak. If Baker is the guy Hendry wants, he should give him the contract and end the speculation about Baker's future, and thus keep him from dangling in the wind of public speculation. If Hendry does this, he'll immediately take pressure off Baker and take the flak himself for the decision to keep him -- and that's better for the manager and the team.
If Hendry is not sure he wants Baker back, he should fire him right now. He's had 3½ years to evaluate Baker, and that's plenty of time to formulate an opinion. And if he fires Dusty now, that'll leave plenty of time for Hendry to hire somebody who might find a way to get the team on the right track and back into contention.
The Cubs are flat-out awful at the moment, floundering in an abyss of doubt, and some kind of decision on the lame-duck manager is badly needed.
Chris De Luca says it's more a matter of when, rather than if, Baker will be offered a contract extension
, but he says Hendry should wait until the Cubs move into first place; Baker hasn't earned an extension offer, he continues. Firing Baker is not the answer
, writes Mike Imrem. The Cubs were crushed by the Padres in the series finale
. The Cubs are tired of talking
as much as they're tired of losing.