- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CHICAGO (AP) - Just like a long line of predecessors, Lou Piniella thought he could lead the Chicago Cubs to that elusive championship and end a drought that dates to 1908.

Barring an epic turnaround, he can forget about that.

General manager Jim Hendry will get another shot, though.

New owner Tom Ricketts made that clear Tuesday, saying there won’t be a change at the top after Piniella announced he’s retiring at the end of the season and ending a long, colorful career.


Jim is our general manager, full stock,” Ricketts said. “He will be leading the effort to find our new manager for next year and will be our general manager going into next year.”

Hendry, the GM since 2002, has come under scrutiny amid mounting losses the past two seasons. Big contracts to players such as Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano _ not to mention signing Milton Bradley, who got banished late last season and ultimately traded to Seattle _ have only added to the criticism.

Even so, Ricketts is counting on Hendry to lead the team out of the wilderness.

“I said at our opening press conference that Day 1 was Square 1 for everyone in the organization,” Ricketts said. “I think from that day going forward, we had a very good offseason. I think Jim delivered on bringing in some players who contributed a lot this season. And we had a good offseason, no question.

“I think the second thing that I’ve seen the last eight months that gives me 100 percent confidence in Jim is that we have a good organization,” he continued. “The way that you win consistently in baseball is to draft well, to develop players well and to bring those players up to the major leagues to give you flexibility in your payroll and trades. I think we have the organization in place. I have the highest confidence in everyone in our organization, and I think that speaks well of Jim.”

Piniella sees hope for an organization that’s gone more than a century without winning it all.

“Sooner or later, they’ll break that barn door down and win a world championship,” he said.

That was the plan when Chicago hired Piniella after the 2006 season. The Cubs won the NL Central in 2007 and 2008 before things fell apart, but without a title, Ricketts said no era could be viewed as a success.

“Our goal is to win a World Series,” he said. “Our goal is to put a team on the field that can win the World Series every year. I can’t envision an era without that and still calling it a success.”

Now, they’re trying to pick themselves up while Piniella plans to move on after 18 years in the majors as a player and another 22 as a manager.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, the man Piniella beat for this job, has an expiring contract. So does the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joe Torre.

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