Tag Archive | "Jim Hendry"

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Quade Quotes & His Thoughts on Ryne Sandberg – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/21/10

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Lou

Just a few days after the Cubs hiring of Mike Quade as their new manager, I’m learning more and more about the guy that I like.  I like that he’s down to earth.  I like that he expects accountability, from himself AND his players.  I like that the players respect him and have come out to support the hire.  I like that he will rely upon the numbers and statistics, but will also manage with his gut and instincts.  An example – he told a story of how they were looking at Sean Marshall’s numbers against a particular batter late in the season.  The overall numbers were bad, but Quade decided to look deeper into the numbers and he found that Marshall had retired the batter each of the last 9 times he faced him and that most of the bad numbers occurred years ago when Marshall was used as a starting pitcher every so often.  So Quade went with his gut, used Marshall in the situation and he got the guy out again.  It’s stories like that that make you think he’s going to lead the 2011 Cubs team in a way that we haven’t seen a manager do since Lou Pinella did back during the 2nd half of 2007 and in all of 2008.  Pinella essentially gave up after that – during the Milton Bradley fiasco of a year in 2009 and when he decided to leave the team in August 2010 after an atrocious 2010 MLB season.  Something tells me that this Mike Quade guy won’t quit on the job like that – he can’t afford to if he expects to make the most of this golden opportunity.

Here are a few other quotes from Quade — “I’d loved the game and wanted to manage at this level, yeah. But when you get done playing and you’re young and you’re fired up and you’re going, ‘OK, three years, four years. I’ll start moving up the ladder and I’ll be there.’ And then, five years go by. You’re still staying after it. You love what you do. You’re teaching, working and then 10 years go by. You change your goals. All of a sudden, you’re going, ‘Wow, this is a tough gig,’ but all the while getting to do what I love to do… I talk so much about the process with the ballclub and it’s probably the same for me. If it ever get to a point where I said, ‘Gosh, am I going to get it?’ I probably would have walked away.”

Asked how he felt about the negative Cubs history — “But I’ve lived here and I was raised here. I get it. You’re totally aware of it. But it’s not going to do us any good at all as a ballclub or me as a manager or me as a person, to have that anywhere near my thoughts on a daily basis.”  That is the perfect response – let’s just hope he means it and can implement it.

As for his feelings about Ryne Sandberg potentially joining his staff at the major league level – “Having Sandberg join the staff is not impossible, that’s for sure… That would be a unique circumstance, but I’m telling you, everybody is on the table.  I would never say anybody is not available…  That would be a unique situation that Ryne and I would have to talk about. And look, by the way, he’s got other opportunities from what I understand. It’s not only what I want, necessarily, he’s got a lot of things to deal with as well. But we’ll have to see.”  That was a polite and professional way of saying, “not a chance in hell and I hope he goes elsewhere”, but what else was he supposed to say given how badly Sandberg campaigned for the job the last 4 season as he toiled and earned his stripes in the minor leagues.

However, you cut it, Quade has his work cut out for him.  The team really isn’t all that good and with payroll concerns in mind, it will be hard for GM Jim Hendry to add more valuable pieces to the puzzle from the outside.  The Cubs should still be able to draw a free agent or too into the mix (Adam Dunn at 1st base, maybe a starting pitcher or maybe a seasoned veteran reliever), but they will primarily place high expectations on some of the young players that will get considerable playing time in 2011 – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Blake DeWitt and a few others.  If they put the pieces together, and the players continue to buy into the Quade magic, who knows, maybe we’ll see a team still in contention at the end of the summer.  It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened…

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Cubs Players Continue to Back Quade Hire – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/20/10

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Lou

One thing we know for sure at this point – new Cubs Manager Mike Quade has the respect and backing of all of his players.  Just a day after Ryan Dempster spoke about about what a great manager Quade is, Dempster added a few more praises and Koyie Hill echoed Dempster’s sentiments.

Dempster pointed out that Quade has what it takes to win despite the pressures of managing the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field where expectations are always sky high: “Winning cures everything.  It makes you feel better — it’s more fun to go to the ballpark.  I think he just brought that out in us before we started winning.  He made it fun when his record was 0-0.  There are a lot of pressures that come with playing here and managing here and coaching here, and I know he’s as good as anybody to handle that.”

Catcher Koyie Hill endorsed the Quade hire even though his childhood hero growing up was Ryne Sandberg, who lost out on the manager’s job to Quade – “Let’s get one thing straight — Sandberg was my favorite player growing up.  That’s why I wanted to be a Cub.  We have the same agent.  We’ve gone to dinner together over the last 12 years.  I love the guy.  He’s helped me a great deal, talking to him and being around him in Spring Training.  I’ve never played for Sandberg.  I was a big supporter of Quade.  The players, to a man, were big supporters of Quade.  There were a lot of great candidates, but we were all pulling for ‘Q’… I know Sandberg is an iconic figure in the Cubs organization, and we all understand that.  It’s nothing against him at all.  What you saw the last six weeks was as much a part of Q being in charge as it was us playing together.  I think it goes hand in hand and we’re all real happy for Q.”

While Quade is an unknown, it seems like he has the backing of management and his players heading into the 2011 season.  I know he built some good capital by winning 24 of 37 games down the stretch, but that was a different beast than during the 1st 4 months of the season.  The team had nothing to lose – they were out of playoff contention and they knew there was no chance of making the playoffs.  Without that pressure, sometimes it’s easier to take it one day at a time and put a good streak or 2 together.  I’m holding off judgment until we hit at least the All-Star Break in 2011.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope Quade succeeds.  But with that roster and the inability of the Cubs to do too much to tweak that roster because of so many bad contracts, I have my doubts.

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It’s Official – Cubs Hire Mike Quade as New Manager; Where Does the Move Leave Ryne Sandberg?

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Lou

In what was an expected move as we wrote about the other day, the Cubs hired Mike Quade to manage the Cubs for the next 2 seasons.  The Cubs made it official this morning and will have a press conference at 3PM today at the Friendly Confines to introduce their new skipper.  Quade managed the Cubs to a 24-13 record during the Cubs final 37 games after taking over for Lou Pinella who abruptly left the team to tend to pressing family matters on the home front.  The 24-13 mark was the 2nd best of any major league team during that time frame at the end of the 2010 MLB season.  Quade had been the Cubs 3rd base coach under Pinella since 2007 when Pinella was first hired.  Quade has spent 9 seasons with the Cubs organization and he managed the Cubs Triple-A Iowa franchise from 2003 through 2006.  Quade signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs and the Cubs have a club option for the 2013 MLB season as well.  I’m sure we’ll get some sound bites from Quade as the day progresses, but this what he said back in August after he had managed 7 games as the Cubs “interim” skipper — ”

Quade beat out Ryne Sandberg – the fan favorite Hall of Famer – who has been managing at the Cubs minor league level for the past 4 seasons.  Sandberg was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year after guiding Triple-A Iowa to an 82-62 record this past season.  He also led the Double-A Tennessee Cubs team to the Southern League championship series a year ago in 2009.  His first 2 years as a minor league manager were spent with the Class A Peoria Cubs. Sandberg envisioned managing in the Cubs farm system for a few years before taking over the reins of the Cubs major league team, but it doesn’t look like it is going to work out exactly that way. Sandberg had this to say about the Cubs decision to hire Quade on the Waddle & Silvy ESPN Radio 1000 show this morning: “From my standpoint, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s a disappointing day for sure… I think now it’s digesting everything and kind of change the wheels and turn in a different direction.  I was focused on something, and it’s just taking it all in… I spent the four years in the minor leagues to manage at the major league level, and that’s where my heart is and that’s what my next step is.  That’s where I look next.  So I’ll take it a step at a time and see if there’s another opportunity out there and go from there.  I wish Mike Quade the best; I wish the Cubs the best and the Ricketts family.”  Without saying it, it’s clear that Sandberg will not be back with the Cubs next season.  Look for him to land a job at the major league level as a bench coach with a high profile manager to get some “major league” experience so he can take the next step forward in his managerial career.

Back to Quade, he clearly earned the respect of his players – both young and old.  He even benched up and coming star Starlin Castro for 2 games when he forget how many outs there were when he failed to run out a groundball and grounded into an inning-ending double play. So he expects 100% from his players all the time – whether you are a super star or the 25th man on the roster.  He expects accountability as well, which could be a good thing for this Cubs team. Cubs starter Ryan Dempster – whom I respect a ton – had nothing but the highest praise for Quade -“It’s awesome, they couldn’t have made a better hire.  He’s a great pick to manage this team… He did a great job when he was given the opportunity.  It’s a great move for the organization and for us as a team.  I’m extremely thrilled that he got the opportunity here, because if it was going to be here, it was going to be somewhere else… I know that Ryno has done a really good job in the minor leagues so far.  He’s only got a few years managing down there, and he’s done really well.  I’m sure the more experience he gets, the better he’s going to be.  He was a tremendous player and is a tremendous person, and that experience is only going to make him better.  I know people would love to see Sandberg back in a Cubs uniform and at Wrigley Field every day, and maybe that’s as much the infatuation as it is with who’s going to make the best manager.  And I’m not saying Ryno won’t be a great manager, I just know Mike is a tremendous one and we’re lucky to have him.”  WOW – a ringing endorsement for Quade from one of the most respected starting pitcher on the staff.

I’m still not entirely convinced he is the right man for the job long-term.  I keep going back to the fact that this guy might not even been considered a candidate if Pinella didn’t abruptly step down as the Cubs skipper on August 22nd.  Cubs GM Jim Hendry opted to go with Quade instead of bench coach Alan Trammell to run the team through the final 37 games of the season, so because he did a good job, he became the front runner for the job.  Does that mean that if Hendry had given the job to Trammell and the Cubs went 24-13, then he would have been the best man for the job?  It all seems a little odd to me, but this is just another example of why I think Hendry needs to go.  I cannot wait until his contract comes up after the 2012 MLB season.  Think that has anything to do with Quade’s contract being a 2-year deal.  It’s pretty clear that unless something dramatic happens over the next 2 seasons in a positive direction, both Hendry and Quadew ill be looking for work outside of the Cubs organization.

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Tyler Colvin Update — Recovery from Collapsed Lung

Posted on 18 October 2010 by Lou

Tyler Colvin’s stellar 2010 campaign abruptly ended when he suffered a chest laceration and collapsed lung courtesy of a splintered bat at the end of September.  Colvin’s recovery has been smooth and he is getting ready for his wedding and honeymoon in November.  He does not expect any setbacks when he begins “Colvin Camp” after his return from his honeymoon – strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will lead the camp in Mesa, Arizona once again.  The Cubs have no plans to make Colvin play winter ball given his productive season and the need for him to continue building strength after his freak injury.

When Manager Lou Pinella finally gave Tyler Colvin the opportunity to play just about every day, he truly blossomed as a player.  A late season slump hurt his overall numbers, but you can’t complain with the rookie’s final 2010 numbers — 135 games, 358 at-bats, .254 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, 20 HR’s, 5 triples, 56 RBI’s and 60 runs scored.  He’ll have to work on his eye during the winter and in Spring Training 2011 so that he can improve that on-base percentage which is a little low – 3.16 because of 30 walks and a hefty 100 K’s.  Colvin just turned 25 in September, however, so he still has plenty of time to continue to mature and grow and get more and more comfortable at the plate each and every season. You also have to love the 6 steals in 7 attempts – it gives a glimpse of what is possible once he irons out the art of hitting.

Let’s hope GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move either Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano at some point during the off-season.  Fukudome will be the easier one to move because he only has 1 year left on his contract, but the Cubs will likely have to eat a good chunk of either player’s salary in any trade.  The Cubs will need Colvin to get at least 500 at-bats playing the outfield everyday if they expect for him to continue his development at the major league level at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

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Is Mike Quade the Front Runner for the Cubs Managerial Job?

Posted on 16 October 2010 by Lou

Is Mike Quade the front runner for the Cubs managerial job – all signs point towards a Quade hire in the upcoming weeks.

One candidate – Eric Wedge – was hired by the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

In a recent statement sent to Cubs season ticket holders about the 2010 MLB season and what lies ahead for the Cubs organization, the Ricketts Family singled out Mike Quade for the incredible work he did as Cubs interim manager during the final 37 games of the 2010 MLB season.  Quade guided the Cubs to a 24-13 mark during that stretch, which was the 2nd best record of any team in baseball during that period.  In the same letter to season ticket holders, Ricketts complemented 2 scouting employees for their solid work in the minor leagues, but he never mentioned the fact that Ryne Sandberg guided his club to within 1 game of the Pacific Coast League playoffs or the fact that he was named PCL Manager of the Year.  Are these telling signs that the Ricketts and GM Jim Hendry have already decided to go with Quade? Or are we reading way too much into this.

Things are all quiet on the North Side front these days.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.  I like the fact that Quade earned the respect of his players and that the organization likes Quade, who has a ton of major league coaching experience.  But the franchise is in a major state of transition right now – the next few years are make or break for the team – and they have young stars like Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner and James Russell that are on the brink of doing something great.  I would hate to put it all in the hands of a coach who has never managed in the major leagues before.  Come on, isn’t that the knock on Sandberg?  If Pinella hadn’t decided to leave in the middle of August, Quade would never have even gotten a chance to be the Cubs “interim manager”.  Would we even be talking about him as a candidate given the fact that he would have had no major league managerial experience either?  This has the bad taste of a Cubs debacle written all over it.  I hope Quade, Sandberg or the new Cubs manager proves me wrong, but I have a feeling that we are in for another long ride on the north side for the next few years…

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Dunn on North Side in 2011 More of a Reality?!

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Lou

We wrote about Adam Dunn coming to the north side this off-season more because of the quotes from Carlos Zambrano indicating that he would love to have Dunn on the Cubs because of his big left-handed bat.  While it made a lot of sense from several perspectives, I wasn’t sure how likely it would be given the tenuous financial position that the Cubs are in – they had the highest payroll of any National League team in 2010, but only finished with 75 wins.

Now it looks like Dunn has the Cubs on his radar screen and the Cubs have Dunn high on their wish list.  But will it happen.  Dunn has averaged 40 HR’s and 100 RBI’s a season for each of the last 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.  At 31 years of age (by the start of the 2011 MLB season), those numbers will likely dip a little bit, but Dunn should still be a nice fit for the Cubs after the departure of Derrek Lee.  The Cubs need a left-handed bat to take some of the pressure off of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  Dunn is also durable – having missed just a total of 26 games during those 7 years.  Dunn also has good numbers at Wrigley Field – 25 HR’s in 66 games – tied for the most with Albert Pujols by any active player for the most home runs by an opponent at the Friendly Confines.  He has 41 career home runs against the Cubs, 2nd only to Pujols’ 47 for active players.  Sure he strikes out a lot – his 199 strikeouts in 2010 was the 2nd most in the major leagues – and his batting average is never great – .267 in 2009was his career-best – but he would be a major upgrade from Lee at 1st base.  His .358 career on-base percentage would fit nicely in the Cubs lineup as well.  How you would like to a see a projected lineup of – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Blake DeWitt?  If the Cubs can somehow move Soriano, you c ould see another average-type player in his place on a daily base which would be an upgrade as well.

GM Jim Hendry and Dunn do have some sort of personal relationship from over the years.  The Cubs couldn’t sign Dunn back in 2009 (when he signed a 2-year deal with the Nationals), because Derrek Lee was under contract until the end of the 2010 MLB season.  Makes sense that Dunn only signed a 2-year stint with the Nats, making look ahead to 2011 when the Cubs would be in the market for a 1st baseman.  The Nats never pulled the trigger on a trade to move Dunn this past July before the trading deadline, and their attempts to lure Dunn back at the end of the season went nowhere.  Dunn clearly won’t be back in DC – the question is will he end up playing for the Cubs and if so, how long of a deal will he get?

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Cubs Managerial Search Update – Eric Wedge, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Quade, Bob Melvin

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Lou

The latest Cubs managerial search update revolves around Tom Ricketts’ meeting with Eric Wedge – the former Cleveland Indians manager. The Wedge meeting was scheduled to take place sometime today.  Wedge managed the Indians from 2003-2009 and had an overall losing record.  He was named Manager of the Year, however, back in 2007.

Now it looks like GM Jim Hendry has narrowed down the managerial search to 4 candidates — Wedge, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Quade and Bob Melvin.

It is believed that Ricketts has already interviewed Sandberg.  Sandberg has managed in the Cubs organization for the past 4 years.  He was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year this year for his work with Triple-A Iowa, but his team missed out on the playoffs when they lost their final game of the season.

Quade also met with Ricketts before he went back to his Florida home after the end of the Cubs season on October 3rd.  Quade surprised people with his ability to guide the Cubs to a 24-13 record after taking over for Lou Pinella on August 23rd.  That was the 2nd best record of any MLB team during that stretch of 37 games to end the season.

Melvin managed both the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks, but we have not been able to confirm whether he has met with Ricketts, or if he will.

This probably means that the Cubs have opted to go in a different direction than they have in each of the last 3 hires – Don Baylor, Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella – all old school guys that have been around the block once or twice.  That also means that Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox were never even contemplated by Hendry or the Ricketts Family.  Pretty interesting stuff, but it looks like we could have an announcement sooner rather than later on the managerial decision.

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Will Larry Rothschild Decide to Stay on as Cubs Pitching Coach in 2011?

Posted on 09 October 2010 by Lou

Larry Rothschild has only a few days left to decide whether he wants to exercise his option to remain the Cubs pitching coach in 2011.  He must inform the Cubs by Monday if he wants to stay on as Cubs pitching coach for the 2011 MLB season.  The odd thing is, even if he exercises the option, once the Cubs hire a new manager this winter, that new skipper could decided he doesn’t want Rothschild on his staff.

Rothschild’s Cubs pitching staff finished the season with a 4.18 team ERA – good for 13th in the National League.  That was the worst that his team has performed in years given the fact that there were so many rookies making their major league debuts in 2010.  The team had finished in the top 5 in ERA each of the last 3 seasons.  Despite the high ERA, Cubs starting pitchers had the most quality starts in the NL in 2010 with 96. That is a prett high number for a club that won only 75 games.

Despite the good numbers produced over the years by Rothschild, something is wrong there and I think the club would be wise to try to get a new guy in there.  He’s had so many talented pitchers of late — Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano — but he never seems to be able to get a consistent 100% out of any of them.  The Cubs have some talented young pitcher coming up through the ranks – Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija just to name a few.  It is the perfect time for the “right” pitching coach to take these guys to the next level (just like Leo Mazzoni did with young pitchers like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery back with the Braves in the 1990’s).  If Rothschild doesn’t have what it takes to mold these players into the superstars of the future, then the time to part ways with the guy is now.

Keep your head up high, Larry, because I think you have a friend on your side.  With the way the Ricketts continue to endorse GM Jim Hendry and the “great” job he has done, it doesn’t seem like the new owners are to anxious to make any rash moves right now.  I guess we’ll have to wait 3-5 years and suffer through a few more awful seasons, before they realize they need to make change if they expect to end the longest World Series drought in major league history…

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Marmol Rewarded with Phenomenal September – Carlos Marmol Delivery Man Award

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Lou

Carlos Marmol was awarded the MLB Delivery Man of the Month for his stellar performance in the month of September.

Marmol was 13 for 13 in save opportunities in the month of September and he did not allow a single run during those 13 save outings.

Marmol finished the season with 38 saves – becoming the first Cubs closer to record that many saves since Rod Beck notched 51 saves back in 1998.  Marmol also set the Cubs single-season reliever record for strikeouts with 138 – he passed Bruce Sutter who held the record for a while at 130 strikeouts in a season.  Marmol’s 138 K’s in just 77 2/3 innings also set a major league record for his 15.99 strikeouts per 9 innings.  Not bad for the closer of a team that won only 75 games all season long.

Marmol is arbitration-eligible again this off-season.  Guess who is going to get a nice big pay raise for the next few years.  This could be that season that GM Jim Hendry tries to work out a long-term deal with Marmol and his handlers to lock him up before he becomes a free agent…

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Should He Stay or Should He Go – Carlos Zambrano Makes Final 2010 Start — Cubs v. Astros 10/2/10

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Lou

Should he stay or should he go?  That might be the biggest question for GM Jim Hendry and the Ricketts Family as the quest for a better 2011 begins in earnest as October looms.  Big Z has made a startling turn-around since being re-inserted into the starting rotation back in early August.  As we have continued to highlight, Zambrano has been lights-out in the 10 starts.  He is 7-0 with 3 no decisions during the stretch.  He has had a miniscule 1.27 ERA which has helped lower his ERA from 5.46 all the way down to 3.36.  It is truly amazing to believe that Zambrano has been able to go 10-6 with a 3.36 ERA overall this year after the horrendous 1st 4 months to the season.

But can he keep it up in 2011?  That is the big question.  Before he made the triumphant turn-around, everyone expected Zambrano to be dealt in the off-season with the Cubs having to take on a big chunk of the $37 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons.  Now, Zambrano has emerged as  a legitimate top of the rotation starter again, and demand for the big righty could be at an all-time high.  The Cubs could find a suitor for Big Z who would be willing to take him at the full contract price AND the Cubs could even get something back in return for Big Z.  If that happens, you have to think that GM Jim Hendry will pull the trigger.  That would leave a huge void in an already-barren startinf rotation, but it could also free up some money to make a strong push to land Cliff Lee, arguably the best free agent starter to hit the market in November.  If the Cubs could unload Big Z and then sign Lee, that would be a huge step in the right direction for the Cubs in 2011.

Guess we’ll have to see how it all plays out, but it should be fun to watch as we get ready for all the rumors to start swirling very soon.

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