Theo Epstein does things the right way.

Everyone knew Mike Quade was out the door, but Epstein waited until the proper time, flew down to Florida, and let Quade know it was over in person.

Everyone knew that Ryne Sandberg would be a hot topic of speculation when the Cubs’ managerial job opened up, but Epstein handled that the right way, too: today, he contacted Ryne Sandberg, with permission from the Phillies, to let the Cubs’ legend know that he would not be a candidate for the team’s managerial opening. Epstein wanted to squash speculation, and wanted to explain to Sandberg, directly, why he wasn’t being considered.


Say what you will about the decision (for my part: I love Ryno, but I was never sold on him as THE guy), but clearly, Epstein is a guy who “gets it.” When Sandberg didn’t get the job last year, one of his biggest gripes was his belief that then-GM Jim Hendry didn’t reach out to him to let him know the news, and welcome him back into the fold with open arms. Epstein is clearly trying to avoid a similar fate.

Sources say the conversation between Epstein and Sandberg – whom Epstein considered for the Red Sox’s AAA managerial job last year – was professional, courteous, and well-received by Sandberg.

Well-done, Theo.

UPDATE: Sandberg explained how it went down, and how he feels about the process.

“Theo called me 10 minutes after they issued the press release [on Mike Quade] and told me that they have a list of guys and I’m not on it,” Sandberg said Wednesday afternoon. “He wished me good luck and said he hoped I got a chance somewhere soon.

“He didn’t owe me that at all. He didn’t have to do that. It was a classy move and I’m very appreciative of the phone call. In the end, I wished him and everybody there good luck.

“Cubs fans should have trust in Theo. They’re in great hands with him and Jed [Hoyer] and Jason [McLeod]. They’re heading in the right direction and they’re going to do everything in their power possible to get the Cubs where they ultimately want to be.”

  • Lou

    Yep. Respect his professionalism.

  • Cliffy

    So far so good with Theo, great scorecard for first week. No mistakes that I see. Handled both Quade and Sandberg with class.

    • johnbres2

      Exactly, Cliff!

  • Katie

    Wow. A class act. Maybe he tempered it with the possibility of being involved somehow,

  • chris margetis

    Let me be the first to say, “Let the Theo bashing begin!”

    PS, I’m fine with Ryne not being considered.

    • johnbres2

      Let’s get one thing straight: anyone who bashes Theo for anything he has done so far is an idiot.

      • X-Cubfan

        Your an idiot. Not letting Sandberg interview is stupid, You yanks will never get it.

        • TJ

          Theo interviewed him for a Triple-A job a year ago and didn’t hire him; why in the world would he hire him to manage the Cubs now?

          Logically, it was never going to happen.

        • Katie

          Anyone who uses “your” when it’s appropriate to use “you’re” is an idiot.

        • TWC

          Uh, “yanks”? Like, as in we Americans will never get it? “It”, meaning baseball?

          Right. We’ll probably not “get” apple pies, conspicuous consumption, or getting into unnecessary wars either, eh, mate?


          • Katie

            I missed the yanks thing since the glaring usage error made me pucker.

            X cubsfan, don’t you have some meat and potatoes you need to go boil? If you’re an ex-fan, who’s your team now? Let me guess…Cards or Yankees?

  • CapnCub

    I love Ryno too, but I am happy that Theo is doing everything in a wonderful manner. I am in anticipation on our new Manager choice. I am quite sure we will get the best possible manager for what the needs are. Thanks for the update Ace/Brett

  • johnbres2

    Great post Brett, and you are so right. It is making me feel so good to have pros in charge for a change. A BIG part of that–from the fan’s perspective–is treating human beings with dignity, and Theo is doing that naturally and perfectly so far. I am sure there will be a blunder here and there, but you are totally right: Theo gets it. What a happy time in Cubdom.

  • Todd

    I respect this move (not considering Ryno as mgr) because it adds credibility to the new front office. As a marquee franchise in MLB the Chicago Cubs should not be a place where someone goes to learn the ropes. The Cubs shouldn’t hire fading legends either. I think the manager of the Cubs should be a rising star, someone with a “buzz” in the majors.

    I definitely respect the handling of this situation. Very professional.

    • Mike

      You got it. That has been a problem for the Cubs, hiring ‘fading legends’ as managers and players. I liked Ryno as a player, didn’t think he was a top 10%er. But this is a different deal, and what if he never is a great manager. He’s not a proven commodity at all, and I’m not sure he will be a ‘rising star’. Great post.

  • MichiganGoat

    This is a good thing because now we won’t be speculating about it for months


    here comes the whole the Sandberg would have done things better mantra for the next few years.


    • TWC

      You mean we can continue hearing “the whole Sandberg would have don’t things better mantra”.


      • MichiganGoat

        • EQ76


    • Miguel Ramirez

      Fuck that I’m going to cry about this goat! Theo and his boys must have someone in mind and I’m going to call him out on it every chance I get. If he would of interviewed him for the Cubs job and decided that he’s not the guy then okay, but to not even interview a guy who is on many other teams list, including the World Champion Cardinals, then there is something wrong with that. And I will call Theo and the boys out every chance that I can get, but if making front office decisions you only have to be right 55% then I guess he can write the decision to not interview Sanberg.

      • Todd

        Theo already interviewed Sandberg last season. How much can Sandberg learn in one year, in the minor leagues, with no one to help broaden his managerial skills? It would have been a mistake to interview Sandberg as a long shot.

        Also, the argument that because Sandberg had success in the minors, he should be considered for a major league managerial job is weak. In the business world, managers of small firms don’t systematically get plucked to manage large firms because of their track record. Most of the time, the right hand man of a big firm gets the opportunity to be the next manager.  Like, a bench coach or pitching coach.

        • miggy80

          If the World Series Champs want to interview him along with many other MLB teams I think that specks loudly enough about his baseball knowledge and not just his Managerial experience. The guy is one of the best Second baseman of all time there is so much he will bring to any club.

          • Bails17

            Thinking with your heart and not your head!

            • hardtop

              well if you didnt think with your heart at least part of the time, you couldnt be a cubs fan, but yeah.  i agree with miggy that Ryne is obviously a viable candidate for a big league manager position, but not necessarily for the cubs.  its theos ship, he’s successfully piloted a ship such as this in the past, and i’m sure he has his reasons.  i really hope its not bud black though.  i would really like someone with relative youth and fire.

            • miggy80

              See I would like to think I’m the only one thinking with my head. It seems like folks are so star struck with “Theo” (swoon) that nobody is willing to call him out on any decisions. Well I’m calling him out. We’ve hired Pinella and Baker and others with experience and I’m tried of watching them lose the fire after a year or two of being in Chicago. I was lucky enough to watch Sandberg manage in Des Moines and let me tell you the guy is good. It was horrible watching Bill Dancy manage this year. He took pretty much the same team and finshed 10 games under. When Sandberg was 10 games over. Sandberg knows what he’s doing when it comes to baseball and if your telling yourself other wise your wrong.

              • TWC

                But Migs, why is it that only disaffected Cubs fans see that?  There are 30 ML teams.  Why haven’t *any* others tried to get Ryno on their roster (before he was cut loose last year)?

                • miggy80

                  Maybe last year Sandberg was so fixed on the cubs job he wasn’t answering his phone. From what I’ve been hearing this year a few teams will take a look at him. To be honest T-dub I think today I’m just starting to question something. Did we just sell our soul to be Cubs fans?

                  • MontelleW

                    Wow….that’s all I can say….You think that we’re swooning because Theo is a superstar? I swoon simply because he has not 1 but 2 WS Championships due to him and his team of people. I’m not the one swooning over a minor league manager because of his ‘Hall of Fame’ status. While we’re at it….let’s examine another Minor League Manager for a moment…….Wikipedia tells us this about Mike Quade:
                    Quade was the Minor League Manager of the Year in 1991 with the Harrisburg Senators and 1993 with the Ottawa Lynx. In 1997, he managed the West Michigan Whitecaps to a league championship and the Águilas Cibaeñas to win the Caribbean World Series. He managed the Vancouver Canadians to victory in the 1999 AAA World Series.

                    Wow – Really? Holy shit – with that Resume – how could you think he could be anything short of the messiah in a cubs uniform as the ML manager, right? Sandberg didnt win a AAA World Series, huh? Based on minor league managing resume – Quade ran circles around Sandberg….yet hmmmm… well did he do as our Major League Manager? Since you’re busy swooning for #23, I’ll answer that for you – SHITTY. Now what makes you think Sandberg is the best man for the job? Call out Theo on this? I think not. Theo did the right thing, and even Sandberg had good things to say about Theo after the call.

                    • MontelleW

                      One last thing – I don’t mean that as a Dis on Sandberg at all. I just think we need to let Theo make the decisions that will right the ship – there’s a reason he’s President and we are not.

                    • Katie

                      I swoon because he’s the perfect guy: smart, funny, handsome, and hopefully he’ll give me the one thing I want! I know, what a girly thing to post. Can’t help it, the guy is a fucking pimp.

                    • MontelleW

                      I’m hoping you mean Theo LOL

                    • TWC

                      I think she’s talking about MichiganGoat.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Nice TWC nice… I am da Pimp of da Goats

              • Bails17

                Migggy…your calling out Theo but referencing decisions that other GMs have made.  We don’t even know his reasons yet.  You can’t blame him for those hires.  And to think that Ryno was so fixed on the Cubs job only that he wouldn’t take another big league job is insane.  No one had promised him the job and he is smart enough to know that a big league managing job is hard to come by.

                Also….managing in the minor leagues is MUCH different than managing in the BIGS….Hell, Quade won 1000 games as a minor league manager.

                Point is…we don’t know what the real reasons for this decision.  At this point in time you can either think you are smarter then the brain trust that is now in charge or not.  I choose the latter.  Time will tell if these guys are the right guys for the job.

                • miggy80

                  sorry Bails17 it’s not a matter of thinking that I’m smarter than any one. My point it that “I think for myself and question authority”. I question this decision not to INTERVIEW Sandberg because that to me sounds like they are not going to go young and go after another washed up coach. We all know how fast that fizzles out

                  • Bails17

                    You don’t even know who is on there short list for sure.  It’s not like they are going to be interviewing Bobby Cox.  It’s a double edged sword for Theo and crew.  If you do interview Ryno there will be some public expectations out there that he should GET THE JOB.  If Theo has set a certain set of criteria for the next manager and he doesn’t fit the bill….best to let him know up front.

                    And your “not going to go young” comment does not hold water.  Only one of the guys that are “on the list” is older than Ryno!!

        • Internet Random

          Like, a bench coach or pitching coach.

          … or Mike Quade.

  • NL_Cubs

    Theo = Strong people skills. Class act! Continues to handle the business at hand flawlessly and not missing a beat. Full steam ahead!

  • Andrew Moore

    Please give us BRENLY as manager! Bob would get everyone hustling and probably light a fire under sorianos skinny ass! Too bad he wasn’t manger last year or woulda literally whipped aram into gear and you can bet he wouldn’t be playing players just to get milestones!

    • bacboris

      And this is based on… Some on air comments? Some throw away lines to local rag writers? Brenly is nothing special and while you have to respect anyone who gets their team a ring; we can do a lot better. As evidence I would point to how he handled rookies on the diamondbacks or even more relevant how he didn’t bring out this ‘hustle’ in the top 2 paid vets.

      This past world series there was an article about how the rangers manager was everyone’s pal and that was better than the ‘caluculating’ cardinal mastermind. Obviously things turned around in that series and I would think that people picked up on the cue.

      What makes a good manager?
      1. Well picked and cohesive staff
      2. The competence to put together matches and line ups that put his team in a position to win
      3. Gets the most out of his resources without abusing them (pitchers especially)

      The names being thrown out there Red Sox Bench coach, Brewers hitting coach, and maybe Rangers pitching coach (not exactly sold on Maddox yet) all appear to have those qualities. But nothings a sure bet (short of getting gerardi or madden) so Im sure whoever gets picked will have to deal with: why didn’t we get Stone, Brenly, Zombie Harry to come and manage. All of these people should have a very thick book thrown at them.

      • MichiganGoat

        LMFAO Zombie Harry – next year Halloween costume

      • Oswego Chris

        If Brenly was such a great manager then why was he shit-canned less than two years removed from winning a title, and hasn’t sniffed a job since…Quade could have won a title with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling….also don’t forget it was genius Bob who left The Big Unit in with a 14 run lead instead of getting him out to rest him….as it turned out Randy Johnson was so good he was still able to come back…Brenly was like a little league coach who has two good pitchers and rides them and wins…usually one of them his is own kid, in fact Bob and Randy kind of resemble each other…and Bill Cowher…

    • Luke

      Brenly isn’t my first choice (Mike Maddux bandwagon coming through!), but I could live with Brenly at the helm.

  • CBP

    Theo/ Tito part 2 The End of the Drought!!!

    • Lou

      According to Ken Rosenthal, Terry Francona will NOT be the Cubs next manager. So, no.

      • EQ76

        that midget has no idea..  seriously though, I wonder if they’ve had someone in mind and lined up this whole time.  Seems odd to say no to Ryno and Francona so quickly unless there’s a guy pretty much locked up already.

        • Lou

          Yeah, you’d wonder. But given that I’ve heard that Cherington and Theo basically have the same guys on their radar. Well, this should be interesting!

          • MrCubs73

            Considering that Theo was initially working on the Red Sox list of replacement managers while he had the Cubs on his mind(so he could have left out of the suggestion box the guy he new he would really want for the Cubs), I am sure his list is pretty narrowed down if not decided already. With that thought, you might watch check the Red Sox interviews pretty closely, you might just see the next Cubs manager. Just look how quickly it came out that Jed Hoyer was coming to the Cubs once Theo to the Cubs press release came out. Theo may not have interviewed anyone, but I would bet some informal conversations have taken place somewhere. I am all for Mike Maddux being the manager, but considering how blindsided everyone was by Jed Hoyer being in the mix, we may all be waiting in line for another shocker. Time will tell

  • Fishin Phil

    I’m gonna trust them to do a quick, quiet, and thorough managerial search.  I’m sure they will land us a good one.

    • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

      They have done everything right so far and deserve to be trusted, I agree. Its nice to see this type of professionalism. They don’t leave people hanging and the way they work so far it doesn’t look like they’ll play one person against another. T.R. you done good with this group!!! Can’t wait to see the next steps with a new manager and what will come with players.

  • TonyP

    I would like to hear the reasons that exclude Ryne Sandberg from being major league manager.  It seems like he has done a good job at every stop in the minors.  I’m not basing the decision I would just like to understand why he is being passed over again.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Because Theo and Jed want someone with Major league Managing or Major league coaching experience, Sandberg doesn’t have either of those.

    • Shawn

      In the statement released by the Cubs it said they wanted someone with major league experience.  That pretty much sums it up.

      I think Ryno would be an asset.  One thing he brings to the table is he understands Wrigley Field.  As a Sandberg fan growing up I would have liked to see him as the manager.  I can’t fault Theo and Co. going in a different direction.  I am just glad they handled the situation with class and didn’t jerk him around like the previous regime.


  • Ron Swanson

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Theo left the door open for Ryno possibly being on the Cubs ML staff depending on how thing shake out for both sides in the coming weeks.

  • nonesuch

    Brett, will we see a “meet the mgr. candidates” post soon?

    • Brett

      Probably. I won’t commit for sure, given the brief timeline, and unknowability of many of the candidates. I’d like to do them for Maddux, Martinez, Hale, and Sveum, though.

  • die hard

    so Theo can walk and chew gum at the same time…..worth every bit of 15 million contract if can do that

  • BJ Wanlund

    Theo, the proof is in the pudding. If you can make a far less sucktastic team than we had during the 2011 campaign, then we’ll be on the right track. All I want is for the bad taste of Mike Quade (which sounds like a bad soap) to be erased from my mouth and everyone else’s. If that means that Ryno isn’t the guy for the job, then fine. But I’d far rather have an old school, Tommy Lasorda/Connie Mack/Casey Stengel/Insert Great Old-School Baseball Manager Here managerial style than the crap we’ve been subjected to by just about every manager (and GM, and president, and owner) since Ryne Sandberg retired for the final time in 1998.

    That being said, Theo has already started things off on the right foot by showing how much of a consummate professional and all around classy guy he is.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      “All I want is for the bad taste of Mike Quade (which sounds like a bad soap) to be erased from my mouth and everyone else’s.”

      I don’t know about you or anyone else but I’ve never had Mike Quade in my mouth and I don’t plan to either!

  • die hard

    Quade was as they say low hanging fruit….so will be rest of coaching staff….lets see how he does on tough decisions before we knight him

    • SirCub

      Oh, I’ve been picturing him as our knight in shining armor for weeks; now I am contemplating giving him “Prince Harry” status.

  • Lokanna

    Glad to see Quade out, sad to see Sandberg not considered.  The guy deserves a chance.  He’s a hero in Chicago and if he ends up in St. Louis, I’ll have an extremely difficult time rooting against the damned Cards.  What the hell ever happened to club loyalty?  If Ryne has to go someplace else to become a Manager, why ever come back?  What message are you sending him?  “You want to be a manager Mr. Sandberg? Go be successful somewhere else first.  We obviously don’t trust you with our organization, even though you built it back up in the 80s.”


    Theo has handled this with class, as stated before, but think about how easy it would have been for him to hire Sandberg.  It would be a win-win for him.  If the Cubs do well with Ryno at the helm, Theo is a genius for hiring him!  If Ryno fails, Theo earns street cred with Cub-faithful for giving Sandberg the shot.  Now?  Not so much.


    If I see 23 in red gear next season, it will be a sickening sight.  I truly don’t want to dislike Theo’s new direction, but if that’s a result, it will be one bad step…

    • TWC

      “If the Cubs do well with Ryno at the helm, Theo is a genius for hiring him!  If Ryno fails, Theo earns street cred with Cub-faithful for giving Sandberg the shot.”

      Really?  Do we want Theo to gain “street cred”?  Or do we want to win a championship?  Come ON.  Sandberg didn’t “build up” the organization in the 80’s.  With two exceptions (’84 and ’89) the Cubs were consistently terrible while Ryno was holding down second.  The Cubs don’t owe Sandberg anything, nor does he owe them.

    • Luke

      Sandberg will get a chance, and I absolutely think he will one day manage the Cubs, but his first managerial job won’t be with the Cubs, and I have no problem with that. I would be surprised if Sandberg jumps from AAA manager to major league manager without spending some time on a major league bench in a different capacity. Wanting a manager with major league managing or coaching experience is a fairly sane move by Theo; that St. Louis is looking at him as a manager is actually surprising.

      I don’t think we should interpret the press release to mean that Sandberg is barred from being part of the new coaching staff; that would just be dumb, and Theo is not dumb. If the new manager once hired wants Sandberg to coach third, then Sandberg will get an offer (unless he is on a major league staff already by then). Joining a major league coaching staff, not jumping straight to manager, is the next step in Sandberg’s progression anyway.

    • Cubmig

      Blame Hendry for Sandberg’s current status. Had JH hired Ryno instead of Q, the new front office guys would have some hard data on ML past experience to assess Ryno’s future potential. It would have still been risky, but at least it wouldn’t be acting totally blind. As it is, the whole manager-decision thing is too big a chip to bet on “maybe” speculations. Beginnings define plans. The Epstein team is acting like they have a plan. Let them succeed or fail on their own . There’ll be plenty of time to dump on them.

      • Aaron

        Yeah, Theo and Company are definitely showing that they have a plan. I think he is enjoying his fresh start with new owners and a new challenge.

        Theo is a turnaround guy. He’s been here before, granted under completely different circumstances. I think at this point in his career, he knows at least what doesn’t work, and has banked on enough success to know what does.

        The front office has so far shown themselves to be totally competent, and I fully support the decisions made so far. This next season, cards played right, could be a good one after all.

  • CBP

    On one report the cubs are going to Talk to Dale Sverum

    • Lou

      Red Sox are interested as well and have already talked to him.

  • chris margetis

    Just wait until the first poor decision made by the new manager. It’ll be “we should’ve hired Ryno” fest again.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Isn’t it time we turned the page on Sandberg? Wish him luck. Now let’s see who will be the next manager.

    • chris margetis

      Exactly right. Maybe one day he’ll manage the Cubs, maybe he won’t.

  • Fishin Phil

    “Theo called me 10 minutes after they issued the press release [on Mike Quade] and told me that they have a list of guys and I’m not on it,” Sandberg said Wednesday afternoon. “He wished me good luck and said he hoped I got a chance somewhere soon.


    Geez,  sounds to me like someone is actually thinking ahead instead of making knee-jerk reactions.

    This is going to take some getting used to. :)

  • JK

    Great site Brett, I’ve been following for quite some time and it’s truly the best site for cubs info. I usually just like to read the comments but have to post today. I’m really disappointed by the Sandberg decision, just don’t understand why he’s not even a candidate. I know, I know no major league managerial or coaching experience blah blah blah. Sentimental, yes, but I think he is the perfect fit. The guy knows how to play at wrigley and he would definitely help improve the defense, and the fact that chicago tribune live just showed what Ryno would look like in a cardinal uniform isn’t making this better for me personally. I’m done venting, great work Brett go cubs!

    • Brett

      Thanks, JK. Your thoughts are understandable, even if I don’t wholly agree with them. And we very much agree on the Cardinal part – I get a little sad just thinking about it.

    • Aaron

      I’ll +1 you on your point about bolstering defensively. I would like to see Sandberg actually as a hitting or bench coach, helping that young middle infield reduce some of their errors and win some GGs.

  • Sayueri

    I was rooting for Sandberg to get the job but can’t blame Theo and the Cubs for wanting someone with major league experience. At least they had the decency to tell him he wasn’t one of their candidates.

  • Mike F

    I believe Brett is light years ahead of everyone else out there. Here’s an intriguing though, Theo is well read and studied guy. He quoted a guy in Walsh who I had a lot of respect for. Maybe the single executive I respected most in any sport was Ron Wolf, in this sense, Theo has a lot of those traits. He’s very integrity based in his approach, and while he doesn’t necessarily name names he’s first class and when he says something he means it. He said something that leads me to believe he’s looking at people who fit his thinking and he’s got managers and coaches at the major league level on his list.

    3 names that are almost certainly on that list are Sveum, Alomar and Hale. I believe he also has several former or current managers and think that may include Maddon. I would say the odds on favorite is likely Sveum and maybe the dark horse is Alomar. That said, they wouldn’t have used the word manager if they don’t have one or two on their list.

    He’s done this above and beyond the right way. He treated Quade better than he deserved and he handled the Sandberg thing very well, people have to respect that and that he and Hoyer should be able to pick their own guy. I think one name you can cross of the list is BB. Probably highly unlikely Titio is on that list too. Some of the names on Levine’s list are highly unlikely to.

    • JasonB

      I used to think that guys like Maddon and Friedman would be available for the right situation but after reading Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First, I no longer believe so.  I think Maddon is perfectly happy where he is right now because he likes and trusts his bosses and they’ve created a very friendly work environment there.

      Also, answer this question for me – what would the Chicago media do if Maddon 1) walked a guy with the bases loaded and 2) told all of his switch hitters to hit right handed versus a righty starting pitcher?  They’d probably crucify him.

      Not being critical of you because I enjoyed reading your post – just saw his name and it made me want to comment.  Seems like people are always quick to throw his name out there when he probably isn’t as available as people believe.


  • Caleb

    The cubs started their run to the world series by getting one of the best owners in baseball. Then they scored one of the best presidents who quickly secured a top GM and a top Farm system guy. This year we also had a top draft. Rest assured the cubs will be pursuing a top manager that other teams would love to have. Well be followIng that with the top minor league development and the best free agent signings. All of this is part of the culture of winning. The cubs WILL be in the world series soon. Count on it.

    • TWC

      OK, Sad Carl, but if it doesn’t happen soon, it’s all on YOU.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    The topmost qualification for the next manager is respect – respect from the players, the owners and administrators and other teams, and it would help if the fans give whoever it is a chance to be successful. The other qualifications – experience, an eye for developing young players, etc., will be natural extensions. The great managers of the past had that in common. Theo will look for soeone who is up-to-date but whoever he chooses will have to have this quality.

  • CBP

    Here is a quEstion what is your take on Dave Martinez

  • Diego

    I hope we know who the candidates are soon!