Reports: Cubs deny Mariners permission, close to extension with Hendry

Updated: October 18, 2008, 5:03 PM ET news services

The first sign that the Chicago Cubs were planning on keeping general manager Jim Hendry is when they refused to let the Seattle Mariners speak to him.

Multiple Chicago-area media outlets are reporting that the team and Hendry are close to agreeing on an extension, even as the team deals with a clouded future regarding its sale.

The Cubs open organizational meetings in Arizona this week, and an announcement on a multiyear extension might come then.

The Mariners, who have been without a permanent GM since mid-June, when they fired Bill Bavasi, approached the Cubs recently in hopes of being able to open talks with Hendry.

Cubs chairman Crane Kenney, who has publicly and recently expressed his appreciation of Hendry, shot down that request, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Hendry, who took over as general manager of the Cubs midway through 2002, is in the final year of his current contract, but he also has an option for 2009. During his tenure, the Cubs won three division titles (2003, 2007 and 2008).

The Cubs are in a state of transition, complicated by the economic downturn. The Tribune Co. has been looking to sell the Cubs for a while, but any new ownership likely would not be able to take over until the 2009 season, at the earliest.