Posted on 02 November 2011 by Lou
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…
Posted on 26 October 2011 by Lou
Will new President Theo Epstein keep Manager Mike Quade in the mix in 2012? It is a great question and Epstein didn’t show his hand during several radio station interviews this morning, including an interview with Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago. Epstein had this to say about the Cubs current manager who still has 1 year left on his contract through the 2012 MLB season: “I’ve already had a couple of nice phone conversations with Mike Quade. We have plans to meet in person sometime over the next week… Mike seems like a great guy and he has developed a great reputation over many decades in the game. I look forward to sitting down with him in person as a first step, sharing with him my vision for the organization. I’d like to hear his vision for the organization.”
It’s kind of a difficult situation for both Epstein and Quade. Let’s face it, the Cubs are not going to be good in 2012, even with Theo at the helm. So if Epstein fires Quade and brings in a new manager (say Ryne Sandberg), when the Cubs have another awful start to the season (which they likely will), you’d hate to have the fan base start questioning Epstein and the new manager right off the bat. By leaving Quade in place, when the Cubs start bad, you can always blame Quade and make a move to switch managers mid-season. That new manager can either be an interim manager to finish the season or the guy you want to go to to lead the team in the future. The one “X” factor is what if the Cubs actually have a decent season – then what do you do with Quade. But I guess I’d rather have it that way. It doesn’t mean you have to stick with Quade after the 2012 MLB season. It just means you bring in someone else who will raise the bar even higher for years to come (similar to what the Blackhawks did when they fired Dennis Savard after a few games at the start of the 2009-2010 NHL season and brought in Joel Quinneville who eventually led the Hawks to the Stanley Cup Trophy later that season).
In any event, we should know pretty soon whether or not Quade will be back – we’ll keep you posted…
Posted on 24 November 2010 by Lou
Could Greg Maddux be the next Chicago Cubs’ pitching coach? With the departure of long-time pitching coach Larry Rothschild to the New York Yankees, the Cubs have indicated that they will promote someone from within the organization to be the team’s next pitching coach. Could that person be Greg Maddux?
While in theory it would be great to have a Ryne Sandberg Manager / Greg Maddux Pitching Coach Dynamic Duo, in reality, that is just not going to happen anytime soon. Maddux took the assistant to General Manager role because it gave him a lot of flexibility to be able to spend time with his family at this stage in his life. It is unlikely that Maddux will give that up right now to take on the difficult task of being a major league pitching coach on a daily basis.
Look for the Cubs to go with one of the following – Mark Riggins is the Cubs minor league roving coach who has a ton of experience and has pretty much worked with every single Cubs minor league pitcher for a long time. Riggins could be the front runner. The Cubs current bullpen coach Lester Strode is also a top candidate. The Cubs could also go with one of the current pitching coach’s at the minor league level – Mike Mason at Triple-A Iowa or Dennis Lewallyn at Double-A Tennessee. Look for the Cubs to make an announcement shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday next week.
Posted on 16 November 2010 by Lou
Ryne Sandberg was recently named the Manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley of the International League. When asked about the Cubs managerial interview process, he seemed to indicate that he didn’t thnk that the Cubs took his candidacy that seriously. Here are a few of his quotes:
“Well, you know what, obviously there was disappointment at the end. As I look back and see everybody involved in the interview process, I think the most games anybody saw me manage was 4-5 games, by everybody that I talked to. Based on that, I don’t know how I would hired for a job if nobody saw me doing my job elsewhere. That was kind of a disappointing part of the whole thing. But now that I see it, it’s very obvious with the process and the final choice… I did what I had to do. I had a good season. I progressed through the farm system. I’m not saying I totally paid my dues, I don’t want to go there, because I don’t know what paying the dues is, how many years that means. Becasue there are guys who do it a lot more. Deep down I felt I did what I had to do, and had fun at it, and was good at it. I had some confidence right down to the end, but looking back at it, I see things a little differently… I just enjoyed my interview with the Phillies… They talked about organization. They talked about team. And they used the word ‘we’ a lot. They also said I would be working hand in hand with the big club, whatever is needed. There will be phone calls quite often, maybe even every other day from the major-league club. That connection, and that confidence in me in helping them and be a part of it is something I’m excited about.”
WOW – Sandberg seems pretty bitter right now, but I think he is in a much better situation than if he WAS hired as the Cubs major league manager. With the Ricketts continuing to slash payroll, things are going to be pretty ugly for a little while on the North Side…
Posted on 15 November 2010 by Lou
It’s official – Ryne Sandberg is the new Triple-A Manager of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League. The Cubs passed over Sandberg for the Cubs major league managerial job and decided to hire Mike Quade to take over the job on a full-time basis after he guided the Cubs to an impressive 24-13 record during the final 37 games of the season. Sandberg did everything the Cubs asked him to do by managing for the last 4 seasons in the Cubs minor league system, but when the Cubs went with Quade instead of him a month ago, that was the final straw. Sandberg returns to the organization that drafted him back in 1982.
I’m glad that Ryno found a place to land after the Cubs debacle. It was definitely the right move for Sandberg and the Cubs once the Cubs opted to go with Quade. To have Sandberg still in the Cubs organization would have been more trouble than it was worth. Guess we’ll see how it all plays out over the next few years, but it would not surprise me to hear Sandberg’s name in the mix the next time the Cubs are looking for a major league manager (which could be as early as years) depending on how bad things get with the Ricketts slashing payroll and the Cubs trying to rebuild…
Posted on 09 November 2010 by Lou
Ryne Sandberg may have found himself a new home – as manager of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs (the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies). Chuck Lamar – the assistant GM in charge of Phillies player development – has indicated that the club should announce the new manager of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley team in the near future. Sandberg – who was the Phillies 20th round pick back in 1978 – is a candidate for the position. The Phillies ended up trading Sandberg to the Cubs as a “thrown in player” for a deal that sent Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus (the Cubs current 1st base coach). Sandberg went on to have a Hall of Fame career as a Cub and has managed in the Cubs minor league system for each of the last 4 years. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on Sandberg – if he doesn’t get the Phillies job, it will be interesting to see where he ends up…
Posted on 04 November 2010 by Lou
When the Cubs chose Mike Quade instead of Ryne Sandberg to fill the Cubs managerial opening, the writing was on the wall that Sandberg would leave the Cubs organization. That reality became official on Wednesday afternoon when the Cubs announced that Sandberg declined the opportunity to manage the Triple-A Iowa Cubs for a 2nd straight season. GM Jim Hendry had this to say about the announcement: “The Iowa decision was totally his. We gave him as much time on his decision as he needed to. He’ll always be a beloved Cub… I don’t think it was ever in his plans to be in the minor leagues after this year. Whatever opportunities he looks to is up to him. He’ll always be welcome here. He knows that for the future, if he chooses he wants to come to spring training, that would be great. If he wants to pursue opportunities with someone else that would be up to him..
Owner Tom Ricketts echoed those sentiments on ESPN Radio 1000’s “Afternoon Saloon” show later that afternoon: “There’s no good-bye. He’s a Cubs. He’ll be a Cub for life… If he would like to explore some options with other teams to pursue some other opportunities that doesn’t really change anything with respect to what he has accomplished for the team or what he means to the team. If that’s his decision then I wish him all the best, and he’s a Cub forever.”
Sandberg managed in the Cubs minor league system for the past 4 seasons. He led Double-A Tennessee to the playoffs in 2009 and he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year as he led the Iowa Cubs to and 82-62 record during the 2010 baseball season. Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star during his Cubs career. He won the 1984 National League MVP Award as the Cubs won the NL East title for the 1st time since 1945. Sandberg also won 9 Gold Glove Awards for his solid play at 2nd base.
It is a sad day, but not an unexpected one. Let’s hope the Ricketts’ family has a plan here on the North Side. With all the trades last year, a whole new coaching staff and a brand new ownership team still learning the ins and outs of running a major league baseball team, Tom Ricketts clearly has his work cut out for him. I’m not expecting a major turnaround in a year, but we need to see things move in a positive direction in the very near future so that we can start to get excited about rooting for a good Cubs team again.
Posted on 29 October 2010 by Lou
It’s official – or at least as official as we can make it – Ryne Sandberg will not be a part of new Cubs Manager Mike Quade’s coaching staff. While neither Quade nor Sandberg have come out and said it, sources close to the situation have indicated that Sandberg will not be a coach on Quade’s staff.
This “official rumor” comes as no surprise at all. Sandberg was devastated that Tom Ricketts and Jim Hendry did not name him the new Cubs manager. To be subjected to the inferior bench coach job underneath Quade would be way too much to swallow for the Cubs legend and Hall of Famer. Further, if the team did get off to a rough start for the 1st half of the season, there would be way too much chatter about Sandberg taking over the reigns as the manager. Throw in the fact that you’d hate to have factions with some guys supporting Quade and some guys supporting Sandberg, this makes all the sense in the world.
We’ll support Quade while he is in charge for 2 years. If he doesn’t get the job done, Quade and most likely, Hendry will both be gone after the 2012 MLB season. And then maybe the Cubs can revisit bringing Sandberg back as the manager.
I wish 2011 would get here soon – can’t wait to see if things get worse on the north side or if they just stay the same under Quade.
Posted on 27 October 2010 by Lou
Mike Quade is officially looking for a bench coach to work with him during the next 2 seasons on the North Side of Chicago at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
Alan Trammell – Lou Pinella’s bench coach for the last 4 seasons – has joined Kirk Gibson’s staff as the bench coach for the Arizaona Diamondbacks. Two former Cubs – Don Baylor (hitting coach) and Eric Young (1st base coach) are also on that staff.
The Cubs and Quade do not expect Triple-A Manager Ryne Sandberg to want to take the Cubs bench coaching job for the 2011 season given his managerial aspirations. Although Sandberg is still the Triple-A Iowa manager, everyone expects Sandberg to leave the organization to take a major league coaching position elsewhere.
Larry Rothschild will be back as the Cubs pitching coach. Rudy Jaramillo will be back as the Cubs hitting coach. Bullpen coach Lester Strode, 1st base coach Ivan DeJesus and 3rd base coach Bob Dernier are all expected back as well.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear who might be the front runner for Quade’s bench coach job in 2011 and beyond…
Posted on 22 October 2010 by Lou
ESPN Radio 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show has had some great guests this week. Mike Quade – the new Cubs Manager; Ryne Sandberg – the Hall of Famer Cubs legend who Quade beat out; and on Thursday, Cubs GM Jim Hendry. When asked the most exciting question about why Hendry didn’t go after another big name manager or wait for Joe Girardi to finish up his managerial duties with the New York Yankees who are still battling te Texas Rangers in the ALCS, Hendry had a simple and boring answer. Hendry simply said — “At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have mattered. Mike Quade was our guy. Mike Quade was the guy we felt deserved the job… The respect he’s earned over the years, even though he wasn’t a household name, and the things he did in that clubhouse behind the scenes that translated into a great effort on the field and the respect our players have given him, I thought was quite admirable.”
WOW – you would rather have Quade than a major league manager that has been successful with 2 different organizations and is coming off of a World Series Championship on the game’s biggest stage with the Yankees in New York?
Unbelievable. That answer just confirms my belief that Hendry has done his time here in Chicago and should be let go as soon as possible so that this organization can get back to its winning ways.
Now I know that Hendry couldn’t say that “we didn’t think we had a shot in hell of landing Girardi” or “the Ricketts Family was too cheap to go after a big name manager when they still owe me, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome a boat load of money to be sub-par employees of the Cubs organization”, but I would have liked something more than he gave us. Oh well. It’s clear Hendry knows he is on his way out. He has 2 years left on his deal and Quade’s deal was a 2-year gig. My bet is still on Hendry and Quade both being replaced by the end of the 2012 MLB season. Then maybe we’ll see Ryne Sandberg or Girardi managing the Cubs with a clean slate and plenty of payroll to bring in some quality players with fair and realistic contracts – something we haven’t seen in 4 years under the Hendry regime…