Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Theo Epstein Fires Mike Quade

See ya later Quade!  Epstein took little time to make his first major remolding move with the Cubs, firing incumbent manager Mike Quade.  It was a move that many people expected after Quade's first season as manager was a disappointment.  The Cubs finished 71-91, good for fifth place in the NL Central.  Even though they weren't supposed to be great, 90 losses was never the expectation.  Quade spent nine years in the Cubs organization, including time as the third base coach from 2007 until he took over for former manager Lou Piniella with 37 games left in the 2010 season.

One thing Cubs fans shouldn't get excited about is the possibility of Ryne Sandberg taking the reins in the dugout.  Epstein said today that "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."  That excludes Sandberg, who has been a spectacular minor league manager but has no big league coaching experience.  Reports are now saying that the Cardinals will interview Sandberg to replace Tony La Russa, which will send Cubs fans into psychotic episodes of rage (In reality, even though I'm a Cubs fan, I'll send my congratulations to Ryno if he gets a promotion to manage for the World Series champs.  Still, Ryno in a Cards uniform is like a scene from the deepest depths of Hell).

So who will Epstein hire to lead the Lovable Losers in 2012?  ESPN has mentioned Terry Francona as a possible selection, but he might need a break after the Red Sox September fiasco.  Other candidates could include former Red Sox coach Dale Sveum, current Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale (both will be candidates for the Sox job as well), Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, and Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr.

I'm not sure Epstein will want to hire the manager he just worked with for eight years, but if Francona was energized by the possibility of managing in Chicago, I'd put him on the short list.  Mackanin would also be a great fit in Chicago.  He started his coaching career with the Cubs and would be good at instituting a professional, hard-working atmosphere in the clubhouse.  Epstein said the managerial search begins immediately, so we'll see how long it takes for him to find the right candidate.

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