Preferring to sign aging veterans to multi-million dollar contracts rather than utilizing his young talent, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has taken a 180-degree turn this spring by assuring Matt Murton and Ryan Theriot–who both showed promise as rookies in ’06–the team has made them an uncharacteristic commitment despite off-season signings of Cliff Floyd, Daryle Ward and Mark DeRosa.

“Matt led the team in hitting last year, Ryan stole 13 bases in 54 games, and both are batting over .300 this spring while showing excellent patience at the plate,” said Hendry. “Because of this success, I have made a commitment to these youngsters, guaranteeing them each 10 at bats this season. As a bonus, they’ll also play the field–at least one half-inning per month.”

While the Cubs organization has been oft-criticized for not developing position players from its minor league system, Hendry believes the team has turned a corner.

“My winning philosophy is to have a strong mix of youth along with old fossils who strike out a ton and never take a walk,” Hendry explained. “If healthy, I expect Floyd and DeRosa to get around 800 to 900 ABs between them, but there will still be some swings to go around for the kids. If not, we’ll just use Matt and Ryan as our bullpen catchers.”

heckler editorial staff