With the news of general manager Jim Hendry possibly being retained after the season, that now creates an interesting situation for manager Mike Quade. Throughout most of the season, the belief was that both Hendry’s and Quades’ fate were tied together. Because if the Cubs were to hire a new a general manager then Quade would likely have been replaced in favor of the new general manager’s hand-picked manager. But considering that Quade was Hendry’s decision, the Cubs general manager may not want to admit that he failed once again with picking the Cubs manager. So, what is next for Quade after the season?
Before we discuss whether or not Hendry will fire Quade, lets first take a look at whether Quade deserves to be back next season. If you are a religious follower of this blog, you may already know the answer. Mike Quade has done nothing to prove that he is deserving of being a full-time manager. While I don’t hold Quade responsible for the Carlos Zambrano incident, Zambrano’s actions may have been a byproduct of the lack of control that Quade has over the Cubs’ clubhouse. To simply put it, Quade is not respected by the Cubs veteran players. Whether it was Ryan Dempster chewing out Quade while the cameras were rolling, or Zambrano calling out his manager publicly at different times this season it is clear that the veteran players control the clubhouse and not Quade. Though, you could argue that Quade’s lack of control is the reason that Zambrano’s career with the Cubs has ended. To Cubs fans at least, that should be worth something.
But in all seriousness, there are multiple reasons why the Cubs should find a new manager after the season. Perhaps a bigger reason than the lack of control that Quade has, is the fact that Quade does not know how to manage young players. Whether or not Quade prevents top prospect Brett Jackson from being a September call-up is not determined yet, but even if Jackon is with the Cubs in September, Quade’s track record this season would prove that Jackson will probably be a fixture on the bench during the last month of the season. Obviously, Tyler Colvin is the prime example when it comes to how inept Quade is when it comes to handling young players. Despite the fact that Hendry admitted that Kosuke Fukudome was traded to give Colvin the chance to play everyday in right field, Quade apparently has not gotten the message.
Knowing how to handle young players is a key trait for a manager to possess, especially when it comes to managing a team that is in the position that the Cubs are currently in. Over the final weeks of this season, and all of next season, there will be a wave of top prospects that make their way to the major leagues. I worry that if Quade is still in place as the Cubs manager the young players players will be regressing instead of progressing. A key example of a manager who knows how to handle young players is Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hurdle led the young and inexperienced Rockies to the World Series in 2007, and has led the Pirates this season to what is going to be their best season in the last 18 years.
For the aforementioned reasons, Hendry needs to be willing to admit that he made a mistake with Quade and look to hire a new manager after the season. Despite the recent suggestion from Bob Nightengale, I’m not a firm believer that Hendry will be back next season. The bottom-line is there still is a lot of time left between now and the end of the season, and chairman Tom Ricketts probably will not make a definitive decision on Hendry or Quade until the off-season.