When Jim Hendry announced the Mike Quade had been selected as the next Chicago Cubs’ manager, he was necessarily ruling out AAA Iowa manager, and Cubs Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg. In doing so, Hendry did very little to describe Sandberg’s future role in the organization, and wished Sandberg well in his future endeavors.
It was clear that the Cubs were turning Sandberg loose to explore opportunities with other teams.
But then the obvious questions came. Why couldn’t Sandberg return to AAA Iowa to manage the team? Why couldn’t Sandberg be promoted to being a bench coach on the Cubs?
“He is certainly welcome to return to Iowa; we think he did a great job there,” Hendry told Dave Kaplan yesterday. “This was a very tough decision and one that I tossed and turned over. However, I love Ryne Sandberg and have tremendous respect for him.”
For his part, Sandberg says he didn’t know he was welcome to return to Iowa. In fact, he told Kaplan that he didn’t even know it was an option until Kaplan called him and related Hendry’s quote. I’d say that means Sandberg is absolutely welcome to return to Iowa in the same way that you’d absolutely welcome a romantic weekend with Jessica Alba. We both know that neither is going to happen, so there’s little reason to vocalize it.
As for a coaching job on the big team, that is the normal progression of Major League managers. They manage in the minors, they coach in the Majors, and then they manage in the Majors. But this is, of course, an unusual circumstance: could Sandberg really be expected to take a second fiddle position after being so close to getting the job? Could Mike Quade really accept the fan-and-media darling Sandberg sitting just over his shoulder every time the team loses a couple games?
Quade answered the latter question yesterday, and said, at least nominally, yes. But there sure wasn’t a whole lot of feeling behind it.
“It’s not impossible, that’s for sure,” Quade said on a Wednesday WMVP-AM 1000 appearance. “That would be a unique circumstance, but I’m telling you, everybody is on the table.
“I would never say anybody is not available,” Quade continued. “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 [just] what I want, necessarily, he’s got a lot of things to deal with as well. But we’ll have to see.”
I’ll take Lessons In Telling People What They Want to Hear for $400, Alex.
It doesn’t take a genius to read between those lines: Quade doesn’t want to be a dick and say that there’s no way in hell he would consider bringing his potential replacement into the clubhouse with him, so he leaves the door open – as blandly and without conviction as one can.
The long and the short of it? Barring some strange miracle, Sandberg is gone, even if it means taking a “worse” job than the one he already had with the Cubs.