From Paul Sullivan in Friday’s Chicago Tribune :

Though the Sammy Sosa deal probably will be debated for years, the biggest gamble Cubs general manager Jim Hendry took this off-season may have had nothing to do with the high-maintenance slugger.

Hendry’s decision to start 2005 without an established closer could have a bigger affect on the Cubs’ postseason chances than replacing one aging right fielder with another.

Houston will enter 2005 with one of the game’s dominant closers in Brad Lidge, and St. Louis returns with veteran Jason Isringhausen. The Cubs have yet to name a closer, though leading indicators point to converted starter Ryan Dempster as the early favorite.

“They always say I have a closer’s mentality,” Dempster said. “I’m not sure what that is. I guess I’ll have to talk to some sort of psychologist. ‘Mentally unstable’ is how I put it.”

Replies Ben Schwartz,

Hard to call yourself a gambler when you don’t bet anything.

At some point I hope the Chicago media will quit calling Hendry shrewd for not spending money, not making moves, and not filling gaps after trading away personality problems. Funny how Cubist off-season spending has plummeted as fast as Trib-owned “Newsday’s” corked circulation numbers.