There are many changes in store for the Chicago Cubs’ organization this off-season. Most of that change will occur once chairman Tom Ricketts hires the next general manager. Once the general manager is in place, the decision will be made on whether or not manager Mike Quade will return next season. Though, the decision has probably already been made. Quade was Hendry’ guy, Ricketts wanted Ryne Sandberg but stepped aside to give Hendry full authority over hiring the next manager of the Cubs. With Quade’s main supported no longer with the organization, the chances are likely that the next general manager will want to hand-pick the next manager of the Cubs.
Quade’s fate appeared to be decided when the Cubs officially announced the firing of general manager of Jim Hendry. It has been believed throughout this entire season that Quade’s fate was tied together with Hendry’s fate. The only chance that Quade had at returning as the Cubs’ manager in 2012 was if Hendry was still in place as general manager, as it is highly unlikely that Ricketts would have allowed Hendry to fire Quade and be put in charge of yet another managerial search.
But despite all the odds that are against him, the “aw shucks” manager of the Cubs is not giving up hope that he will return next season as Cubs’ manager.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Quade said before the Cubs hosted the Milwaukee Brewers in their last home game of the season. “I don’t think about it. I don’t believe [speculation that he may not return].
“We’re going to play a game today, and I feel I’m going to be back. That’s the way I look at things. There’s no other way to look at it.” ESPN Chicago
Cubs fans could very well see Mike Quade next season–in the stands at Wrigley Field. The fact remains that Quade has failed in every aspect of being a major league manager. There could not be any bigger of an example of than what Quade has done during the last month of the regular season. The Cubs have several positions that are “up in the air” heading into the 2012 season. Quade has done nothing to change that problem. The three positions are first base, third base, and right field. First base is a moot point, considering Carlos Pena is auditioning to be the Cubs starting first baseman for the next two or three years.
Meanwhile, the Cubs as of this point may not have their 2012 starting third baseman on their roster, but we can not definitely say that because Quade has opted against giving D.J. LeMahieu playing time. Scouts project LeMahieu as a second baseman–most believe he projects better than Darwin Barney–but LeMahieu has been mentioned as candidate for the Cubs third base position going into 2012. However, considering the lack of playing time that LeMahieu has received, his role with the Cubs going forward has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the Cubs outfield picture going into the 2012 season is very unclear. Top prospect Brett Jackson is almost surely going to be on the Cubs’ 2o12 opening day roster, but beyond that, there is a question mark when it comes to the corner outfield positions. Quade for whatever does not seem to be willing to provide answers to that unclarity. While Tony Campana projects as a role player coming off of the bench, there would have been no harm in giving Campana some starts in left field rather than Alfonso Soriano. As for right field, Tyler Colvin has essentially been forgotten about–to the point where you have to wonder what Colvin’s future looks like with the Cubs. But to Quade’s credit, Colvin has become more familiar with the bench in large part because of the success that Bryan LaHair has had this month. LaHair is still a mystery–as the month of September is usually the worst time to evaluate players–but the long time minor leaguer is hitting .375/.469/.700 in 40 at bats with the Cubs this month. Though at this point, LaHair is too old to be considered a prospect and he does not appear to be a permanent fixture in the Cubs’ long-term plans.
Those are just three examples of the blatant lack of respect that Quade has with prospects, and the lack of concern that Quade has with the future of the club. When the new general manager begins their search for the Cubs next manager, they are going to have to look for a manager that excels in working with young players in addition to holding veterans responsible. To be honest, Ozzie Guillen from a managerial perspective would be the perfect fit. But we do not need to give the reasons why Guillen would almost never consider coming to Cubs.
Ryne Sandberg would be another ideal option. Sandberg his succeeded at every level he has managed, including this season wit the Philadelphia Phillies‘ triple A-affiliate. Having managed in the Cubs organization for the previous four seasons, Sandberg has first hand knowledge of the players that are going to be making their way to Wrigely over the course of the next couple of seasons. But the Phillies intend to promote Sandberg to major league level next season as a bench coach, though, Sandberg would likely bolt from the Phillies organization if it meant becoming the next manager of the Cubs.