When Jim Hendry was fired mid-season, it became eminently reasonable to speculate about not only the Chicago Cubs’ next general manager, but also the Cubs’ next manager. Mike Quade was hand-picked by Hendry as the Cubs’ manager – over Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg – and their wagons were thus hitched for the 2011 season and beyond.
The season was a disaster, thanks primarily to a poorly constructed-roster and injuries, and Hendry was fired. For his own part, Quade made a series of bizarre decisions and statements throughout the year. Too often, Quade refused to go “by the book,” with predictable and damning results. So, when the ax fell on Hendry, it was probably a matter of time before Quade got a taste of the same.
And it might happen later this week.
Sources say Quade met late last week with new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer to begin a dialogue that will culminate in a decision about Quade’s future with the Cubs. That dialogue is expected to continue in a meeting this week, at which Quade will be informed of the organization’s decision. Quade was hired by Hendry on the strength of a winning record as an interim manager after he took over for Lou Piniella in August 2010, and firing him on the strength of a terrible record in 2011 wouldn’t be unfair.
The smart money is on the Cubs conducting a managerial search soon. Note that the Cubs are expected to introduce Hoyer (as well as new Scouting/Player Development Chief Jason McLeod) at a press conference tomorrow, which would be a convenient time to announce the status of Mike Quade.
I’ve speculated that the Cubs were waiting to make a final decision on Quade not because of Epstein’s transition, but because of Hoyer’s. Just as it was with Jim Hendry, it is, generally-speaking, the job of the GM to make hiring and firing decisions with respect to the manager. Certainly Epstein will have heavy input, but the task falls to Hoyer, who was only recently formally put in place. And it sounds like he wasted no time immediately meeting with Quade.
There are whispers that the Cubs could just let Quade fulfill the final year of his contract in 2012, believing that the team won’t be competitive anyway, but I don’t buy it. I believe – as I said at the time – when Jim Hendry was let go, dismissing Quade became something of a formality.