The Theo Epstein media blitz is slowly coming to an end. After being officially introduced as the Cubs’ new president of baseball operations yesterday, Epstein went on a tour of local and national media outlets. Epstein echoed many of the same sentiments he touched on during his original press conference, but he also sounded like a man that was ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. One of the first orders of business for Epstein and company will be to decide on a manager for the 2012 season. Current Cubs’ manager Mike Quade has been kept out of the loop for most of the off-season, but that is likely going to change in the coming days.
Before Epstein’s name ever surfaced in the Cubs’ organization, there was question as to whether or not Quade would return in 2012 as the Cubs’ manager. Upon the hiring of Epstein, it seemed more apparent that Quade’s days as Cubs’ manager were coming to a quick conclusion. However, Epstein is a fair and classy man and he will at least give Quade an opportunity to keep his job. Epstein admitted to reporters yesterday that he has “already had a couple of nice phone conversations with Quade”, and the two plan to meet in the coming the week. I would imagine that those conversations were mostly Epstein telling Quade to make sure he has the manager’s office cleaned out by the time he arrived in Chicago from Boston. Ok, may be the conversation did not go exactly like that.
Nonetheless, Epstein plans to compare his vision to Quade’s vision when the two meet face to face within the next week. That is likely what is going to be the final determining factor in Epstein firing Quade. It is no secret that Epstein already is leaning towards replacing Quade, and he has enough class to at least Quade out. But while Quade is explaining his vision, Epstein will probably already be thinking about who is going to fill the manager’s seat once Quade is fired. No offense to Quade, he is a great individual and has been loyal to the Cubs’ organization, the only issue is none of those traits make him a respectable major league manager. Quades lacked the respect from veterans like Ryan Dempster, and Carlos Zambrano and that is something that Epstein emphasized that a manager must have. Not to mention that Quade is seemingly against the notion of having a “steady stream of talent” flowing to major leagues through the farm system.
Once Epstein makes the move official and fires Quade, there will be many eyes on the Cubs president of baseball operations to see who he will bring in as the next manager. It is important to note that Epstein is not looking for a band-aid manager like former general manager Jim Hendry was searching for last season, Epstein is looking for someone that can be the long-term manager of the Cubs. While Ryne Sandberg has been the one to be commonly linked to the Cubs soon-to-be open managerial position, I get the feeling that Sandberg will not be the next manager of the Cubs. While Epstein would not comment on the scenario of Sandberg being manager, he may have dismissed Sandberg as a prospective candidate during his interview with “Mully and Hanley” this morning on 67o The Score. After Sandberg was spotted in Chicago last night, the question came up whether Epstein will look to bring Sandberg back to the organization. Epstein told the co-hosts that whatever Sandberg was doing in Chicago last night, it was in no way related to the Chicago Cubs. Now Epstein’s stance on Sandberg may change once Quade is no longer manager, but that does not mean that Epstein views Sandberg as the Cubs’ next manager.
Nonetheless, soon Cubs fans will be able to say that Mike Quade is no longer the Cubs’ manager. Regardless of who his replacement is, news of Quade’s firing will be music to Cubs’ fans ears.