Let the Theo reign begin – Epstein and the Cubs let Manager Mike Quade go after one full MLB season at the helm. The Cubs finished 71-91 under Quade during the 2011 MLB campaign and his overall record in 199 games was a less-than-desirable 95-104. Quade had 1-year left on the 2-year deal that he signed during winter 2010 and he is still owed $1 million from the Cubs.
Epstein had this to say about Quade and where the Cubs go from here:
“When I joined the Cubs last week, I knew that Mike had a reputation as an outstanding baseball guy, as a tireless worker, and as a first-rate human being… After spending some time with him this past week, it became apparent to me that Mike’s reputation is well deserved. His passion, knowledge of the game, commitment, and integrity stood out immediately. While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any major league staff, Jed and I believe that the Cubs would benefit long term from bringing in a manager for 2012 who can come in with a clean slate and offer new direction… “The managerial search process begins immediately. We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success. The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.”
Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer flew to Florida late last week to speak with Mike Quade in person. Although it sounds like the discussions went well, it is pretty clear that Theo & Co. simply wanted to start from scratch. It was great that they took the time to meet with Quade in person and even better that Epstein flew down there again on Tuesday to give Mike the news in person. I’m sure they are probably just covering their bases, but it’s still the right thing to do in this game.
Immediately, names like Ryne Sandberg and Terry Francona pop up as possible replacements for Quade. Although Epstein’s statements about the next manager having major league experience (as either a coach or manager) seem to eliminate Sandberg from the mix. It’s also interesting that the Philadelphia Phillies have already granted the St. Louis Cardinals permission to speak with Sandberg about their managerial vacancy after Tony LaRussa’s retirement annoucnement earlier this week. With the Red Sox sure to be in the mix for Sandberg too, if Sandberg is on the short list of managers for Theo & Jed, they better act quickly before another team swoops in and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything else on the Cubs managerial front…