Where is Jim Hendry and What Have You Done With Him?
When Jim Hendry signed Carlos Pena a little while ago, I was nervous. Pena for $10M was good, too good. In fact, when I read it, my mind, warped from painful repetitions of mistakes, initially saw, "Pena for $100M," and thought, Oh well, here we go again.
But, no. Pena for $10M, for 1 year, is absolutely correct. It's amazing, in fact, given how the saturated market for first basemen seems ignorant of its own girth. Hendry kept his cool and signed a rational contract in an irrational environment, and it shocked me.
So, when I heard heard about the Wood signing, I figured it out. As McGinnis puts it:
Kerry Wood for $1.5 million is a friggin' steal.An above average (~4.00 FIP) reliever for $1.5M? It hit me like a sack of ivy-covered bricks: Someone has kidnapped Jim Hendry.
Immediately, I began trying to remember where we saw him last. The answer was all too easy.
December 2, 2010. Koyie Hill gets tendered a contract.
It has to be the last thing Hendry did before the kidnapping. But who would take him? What would they do with him?
And why December 2nd? What's so significant about December 2nd? I was looking at the Jim Hendry Inspirational Poster on my wall, reading again his famous catchphrase: "We need another starter and make him a likable pitcher!"
And there it was! The answer had been staring me in the face all along!
Jim Hendry wants six quality starting pitchers. Most teams have four quality starter and just use a replacement-level pitcher for the fifth slot. Hendry wants probably six, while the rest of the league -- and even us here at Cubs Stats -- would be happy with four. Hendry probably six, us four. Hendry probably six, us four. Probly six, us four. Probly six, us four.
I began laughing to myself. My assistant, Sophie Nouveau, gave me a look, both suspicious and full of sexual tension, "You figured it out, didn't you?"
"Pope Sixtus IV!" I said, laughing. "It was so easy!"
"Of course!" she said, her face lighting up. "Pope Sixtus the fourth! Probly six, us four! But why?"
"I thought you were the history expert, Ms. Nouveau," I said wryly, peeking over the rim of my glasses. "Pope Sixtus the IV was born in--"
"1414 a.d.," she said, becoming impatient. "Everyone knows that."
"One-four-one-four," I said, wiping the board clean with the sleeve of my tweed jacket and grabbing another piece of chalk. "That's the secret. One-four-one-four, 1414."
On the board, I wrote:
(we)"We NASA make halp?" Nouveau asked skeptically. "In what language does that make sense?"
"Latin," I said, erasing the words we and make. Rewriting the anagram, I stood back and stared at the result with a self-satisfied nod.
"Nos NASA fac halp?" Nouveau read the board. "Of course! No facts, NASA. Help!"
"Precisely," I said, cracking a smile.
"But how is NASA related to all of this?"
"That's the easy part," I said, turning around to dig through the old newspapers lying about my impressive, bohemian loft/laboratory. Pulling out a copy of the December 2, 2010, newspaper, I raised the front page and tapped the lead article.
"'NASA to announce the discovery of alien life,'" Nouveau read aloud. She squinted, thinking for just a moment. "But that was untrue. A few weeks later everyone began looking into it. All they really discovered was a certain bacteria, if exposed to the right chemical environment, can look like its DNA is made of arsenic."
"That's right, NASA's budget is presently under review in Congress," I said. "So they sensationalized a story about a poorly executed 'discovery' to try to renew interest in space programs."
"And Hendry found out!" she said, gasping.
"That's right," I again nodded and then looked out the window at the cobblestone streets below. "Hendry has been experimenting with toxicity levels and DNA manipulation ever since Sammy Sosa. He knew there was no chance NASA's discovery was legitimate."
I could see Nouveau was already planning a rescue in her mind.
"Hendry's connections with NASA probably told him about the discovery. He was just waiting for the announcement before he discredited NASA. If he acted sooner, they could destroy the research and call him crazy."
"They must've been chasing him for months, looking for a chance to... to replace him." Nouveau's voice shook with anger. "That explains the cloning facility we saw back in Peoria! We've got to stop them!"
"Do we?" I asked, turning to face her again. "They've clearly replaced Hendry with a clone whose DNA was stolen from Andrew Friedman. Why get rid of the greatest active general manager of the sport, Friedman, for an okay manager, like Hendry? Who benefits from that?"
"What does it matter?" Nouveau yelled, tears streaming down her face. "We have to save him!"
"This is why I told you not to come with me back in Paris," I said, walking to my desk. "I told you from the get-go, I'm a Cubs fan."
I pulled the pistol from desk. "I told you," I said, raising the gun, "I'm a Cubs fan, and I'm desperate."