Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mike Quade was the right choice

Hopefully at some point I'll talk about current or upcoming sports issues. But there are some things that happened to my favorite teams in the past month or so that I really should discuss. Today, it is the hiring of Mike Quade as Cubs manager, which will hopefully lead to some talk on the Cubs of the near future.

In their current state, the Cubs are going nowhere. Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere.  And, of course, it kills me to say that.  They are riddled with bad contracts and have a pretty weak farm system. They are also in a division with 2 teams that are considerably better.  The Cardinals have Albert Pujols and a superior rotation and the Reds are a rising franchise with great young talent (though they carry the albatross that is Dusty Baker). They have already made a few moves in the right direction personnel-wise prior to hiring a manager.  Parting ways with Derek Lee was a good choice, as was trading away inexplicable fan favorite Ryan Theriot (Tigers fans, think Brandon Inge without the HR's and maybe a few less strikeouts).  It was a bummer to part with Ted Lilly, but he only has a few more good seasons in which the Cubs would be lucky to make the playoffs.  The Cubs did find a budding young star in SS Starlin Castro, a potential OF leader in Tyler Colvin, and still have a great closer in Carlos Marmol.  Catcher Geovany Soto is taking steps in the right direction and Blake DeWitt is a serviceable young 2B.

Leading up to the Cubs managerial hiring, many people were asking me what I though about the candidates for the job.  I narrowed down to 4 people, although my favorite was not one of them.  The one most were talking about was Ryne Sandberg, he of Cubs second base legend. I was lucky enough to see the end of his career growing up and can appreciate what he meant to the franchise.  I was also happy to see the Cubs give him the chance to manage in their farm system.  However, I felt like the choice was only fueled by his status as a fan favorite.  The Cubs fanbase are one of the dumber fanbases in the MLB (along with you Tigers fans, sorry).  Many Cubs fans were willing to have a former Cub pulled in front of their eyes and then call it a day.  This thought blows my mind.  How can you think that manager's popularity could lead to wins?  By hiring a former Cub, aren't you embracing a player that was part of a franchise that last won a World Series 4 years before the Titanic sank?

Joe Girardi was another much talked about option, but again, for poor reasons.  You can talk about his title with the Yankees all you want, but then ask yourself, what did Joe Girardi have to do with it?  He is an overrated manager that won with the most talented team in the league.  He makes poor managerial decisions and doesn't have a successful track record with bad teams.  Eric Wedge was also mentioned, but I would not want any part of a manager that blew it time after time with one the the most talented teams of the early to mid 2000's, the Cleveland Indians.

Before I discuss why I like Mike Quade, I want to present my personal choice for the Cubs skipper - Bob Brenley, who is currently the TV color man. I love listening to his insights on the game of baseball and his understanding of the Cubs organization.  He led the Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title in what was the most exciting WS in my memory.  I feel he would bring a lot to the table and help the Cubs forget able their losing ways.

Now onto Mike Quade.  The Cubs needed a man who could effectively transition the team and help them forget about the recent past failures and the pressure they have to win.  They also need someone to develop the young talent that they do have.  Quade fulfills both of these requirements.  As he was leaving, Lou Pinella admitted that the enormous pressure on the Cubs to win a World Series led to a lot of his failures as a coach. This was very evident in both of the Cubs early exits from the playoffs as well as the cashing in of the 2010 season.  Quade, although from the Chicagoland area, is mostly immune to the Cubs franchise and as a new MLB manager, is fairly carefree.  This attitude should help loosen up the clubhouse, especially for those players that have been in the organization for a while.  He also has spent a long amount of time coaching in the minors (about 20 years worth) and can help Castro, Colvin, and Soto step up to the next level.  Quade's only real flaw seems to be that, like Stan Sitwell, he suffers from alopecia and can't grow hair.

If anything, Quade will, for the first time in a decade, bring lowered expectations into the Wrigley Field clubhouse.  If these two years don't work out recordwise, they won't really have lost anything.  The development of young talent while we wait for all the bad contracts to expire is the most important thing on the North Side and Mike Quade is the right man for the job. If he can continue the way he ended last season, it could be a good season for the Cubbies.


  1. I believe Mike Quade was a very strong candidate for the job. He went 24-13 and really ended the season strong for a Cubs team that had nothing to play for. Sandberg had no major league experience and really would have cost alot more. The Cubs did not need a "celebrity manager" and hiring Quade allowed them to go cheap. Quade knows this team and had the support of all the Cubs players. I believe the Cubs made the right move, and I think the real question is should Jim Hendry be fired.

  2. I agree that Mike Quade is a good choice as manager for the Cubbies. He had them playing relaxed and better ball at the end of the season and hopefully he can carry that over into 2011. This group has not faired well under the pressure of the expectations presented the last two years. I think the Cubs infield is on solid first baseman away from being real good. The right choice for the Cubs is Adam LaRoche. He quietly had a very solid year for Arizona last year. Would like to see what he does hitting in Wrigley Field for a season. He would come a lot cheaper than Adam Dunn. Then the Cubs need to figure out how to pick up 1 or 2 decent starters and maybe 1 or 2 relievers. Relievers are the thoughest because they are so up and down year over year. With a couple of right choices and a strong start to the 2011 season things could actually look up for the beloved North-Siders.