Does anyone really want to manage the 2011 version of the Cubs? Most of the players that put together a 75-87 record in 2010 will be back on the squad for the 2011 MLB season. That really doesn’t bode well for the next manager of the Chicago Cubs. Tom Ricketts has already indicated that the 2011 payroll will be less than the $140+ million payroll that the Cubs had in 2010 (the highest in the National League). With $103 million already on the books for 2011 and with arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill who are likely to earn raises this off-season, there clearly isn’t a lot of room for GM Jim Hendry to add from outside of the organization. Maybe a new skipper could help the team manage a handful more wins, but that really doesn’t equate to being in contention in the National League – 80 wins just doesn’t cut it these days…
So who will the Cubs try to hire this off-season? The last 3 Cubs managerial hires have been high profile managers — Don Baylor, Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella. Does that mean a relatively unknown like Mike Quade has a leg up on the competition?
The Cubs could also pull from within. Ryne Sandberg – while clearly not an unknown – has never managed at the Major League level. Would he be the right fit for the Cubs?
Or will the Cubs go with a man with major league experience but who has not reached the level of the previous 3 managers – an Eric Wedge-type manager?
Lastly, could the Cubs go with another high profile guy – Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Girardi – are all free agent managers potentially looking for work in 2011. If the Cubs want to try to land Girardi, they will have to wait until the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs this October. Odds are that he stays in the Big Apple. But you never know and a call has to be made to cover all bases.
All this being sad, Mike Quade has indicated that he would love to continue to be the Cubs manager for the foreseeable future. “I’m an optimist. You see this club play well the at the end, and if they continue to play well and they play this thing out in the nest two weeks in good fashion, I’d go home, and whoever gets the job next year should be excited about this job. That’s the way I feel. It has no bearing on what happens this winter with Jim and what moves he makes. A lot of guys have finished up well… I’ve always believed in myself. You can believe all you want, but you have to get here and do it and then self-evaluate the whole thing. Things went well. I’m proud of all the work I did in 30 years to have me ready to do something like this. I don’t like to talk about it much, but yeah, it’s been fun and I’m proud of all the work we’ve done.”
Kudos to Quade. He managed to get control of the team after Lou departed mid-season and he showed that he does have the ability to manage well at the major league level. More importantly, the players responded well to Quade and he seemed to earn their respect. While I don’t see the Ricketts Family and Hendry sticking with Quade as the manager long-term, I really hope they find a way to keep Quade within the Cubs organization. He is that good at what he does…