Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cubs Pick Quade To Be Fired After 2012

Jim Hendry went with his gut and chose Mike Quade to stay as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.  My Twitter feed then proceeded to explode like it hasn't since Steve Stone made up trade rumors about Milton Bradley.

People are mad.

Some are mad that Ryne Sandberg didn't get hired.  Some people are mad that Joe Girardi got hired.  Some people are mad that neither Ryne Sandberg nor Joe Girardi got hired.  One person I saw was mad that Bob Brenly wasn't hired. 

I said they were mad, not rational or logical.

When it is all said and done, this is a lot of angst over a decision that probably doesn't matter that much.  Unless Ryne Sandberg had figured out a way to start the 1984 version of himself at second base, the overall results on the field by a Quade-led team probably won't be much different than a Sandberg-led team.  But since there is no way to prove that, let's just throw out that reason to calm down.

How about that there was no decision that Hendry could make that didn't screw someone?

By hiring Quade, he screwed Sandberg a bit.  Sure, nothing was ever promised to Sandberg, but when Hendry hired Lou, he basically told Sandberg he wasn't a serious candidate because he didn't have enough minor league managing experience.  So he went and managed in the minors for another three years and did pretty well at each stop.  He even won Manager of the Year this past year.  So, he did everything the club asked of him and he still got passed over.  Admit it, that would not feel good if that happened to you in your job.

But if he had hired Sandberg, Hendry would have ignored the job Quade did when given the controls of this team when they were in a nose dive that I thought would hit 100 losses easily.  Giving weight to 37 games at the end of the season (mostly with expanded rosters) may not be a prudent thing to do in evaluating managerial candidates, but the Cubs did that when they gave Quade the interim position and talked about how he was a serious candidate for the full time job.  It doesn't matter that this would be like choosing which cardiologist should do your heart surgery by comparing their SAT scores.  The Cubs made it a valid criteria in their job search by announcing that it was valid.  How could they then decide to ignore that criteria without Quade feeling screwed?  They couldn't.

If they had hired Joe Girardi, people would be too busy noticing the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse riding through the air to realize that such a hire would basically be screwing both Quade and Sandberg.

So I'm not too worked up over it, but here are the positive aspects of going with Quade:
  • He and Hendry's contracts now both end at the same time, so if they want to make a change after 2012, a new GM will then hire a new manager to start fresh all around.
  • Quade's deal can't be that expensive, so if the 2011 season ends up being the 100 loss season I think it can be, then both Hendry and Quade can be fired a year early without having to eat too much in salary.
  • The players supported Quade, which probably would have had an impact on how they accepted Ryne in the position to start out.  Again, maybe not a valid criteria for hiring a manager, but I'd rather the Cubs listen to players who have to play for the manager than fans who just watch on TV.
  • Nothing about this hire means the Cubs can't still hire Sandberg in the future. He may get hired somewhere else and maybe even be hired as a major league manager, but he probably isn't getting more than two years from anyone, and none of the openings are with teams that are likely to turn around so quickly that he'll get automatically extended.  In all likelihood, Sandberg will be available in 2013 when Quade and Hendry's contracts are up.
  • This was obviously not a PR move on the part of the Cubs intended to sell tickets.  Whether the choice was right or wrong (or whether their methods were flawed), the Cubs tried to make the right baseball decision and risked pissing off a significant portion of their fan base.  The Cubs have made too many moves where marketing and PR have been too big a factor in the decision process so this is a refreshing change.

I expect to see Quade in this pose quite a bit in 2011.

I'm sure Quade will do a decent enough job with the talent he has.  His big problem now is that people will expect him to continue working miracles with a roster that features ever-aging stars, a shallow bullpen, crappy defensive skills, and not much power.  For some reason, Cubs fans still think this is a good team.  It isn't, and expecting Quade to make it a good team is unfair to him.

Sandberg will find a job doing something and I'm sure it will almost assuredly be with a better team than the Cubs.  It may turn out that the Cubs simply followed the adage, "If you love something, set it free."


Anonymous said...

i've never been less interested in a cubs managerial hire.

for sandberg's sake i'm happy it's not him. i didn't want to see the media portray him as an idiot they way they would have if the team sucked. for ryno's sake i hope he goes and gets himself on an mlb coaching staff, as far away from the cubs organization as he can get.

Aisle 424 said...

I really don't want to see him in another uniform, but if Don Mattingly can manage the Dodgers without the world ending, then I guess as long as Sandberg isn't managing the Cardinals, I can handle it.

Bob said...

"This was obviously not a PR move on the part of the Cubs intended to sell tickets."

Exactly, and that's what I love most about it. Hiring Ryno would have been such a typical Cubs marketing ploy. Hendry really stuck his neck out here and tried to make the best baseball decision, not the best decision to sell more tickets. Frankly, I'm somewhat impressed.

Aisle 424 said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm impressed by a General Manager actually making a baseball decision that isn't tied to a PR or marketing strategy, since that is what they are supposed to do, but it is a nice change of pace for the Cubs.

Duey23 said...

Since it's the right time of year, this is sort of like the "witch test" of olde.

Throw them in the lake, if they float, they're a witch, if they drown they are not.

I'm definitely a minority Cub fan who never really has cared for Sandberg. I acknowledge his talents as a player but as a clubhouse motivator or true team leader and now as a potential manager, I'd rather watch ivy grow on the wall.

I almost wished Hendry had picked him so the colossal failures that will come on field for the next two seasons would be tagged to him and we'd be done with the "grooming" experiment.

I just hope they didn't NOT call Ryne to _fully_ explain why and how they came to the decision. If they just let him hang in the wind, which I can see a guy like Hendry doing (he's the King of Avoidance), then as someone said on Twitter yesterday, they're doing the Bill Wirt$/Bobby Hull routine and that's just wrong whether I like the guy or not.

I just get so angered by the kool-aid drinkers and THAT'S become my most frustrating part of being a fan of the Cubs. Saw some of them posting that this was the smartest decision of the century. Yeah, no, it's not.

Johnathan said...

Girardi seemed to be like a long shot to me in the first place. That being said, after Girardi it was like choosing between a bad small sample and the favorite son. I think Quade has good minor league experience (more than Ryno), and hiring the favorite son just for that reason is just asinine. It's exactly like thinking that Joe Morgan would be a great commentator because he was great at fielding and hitting a ball.

Scott W. Rickerson said...

I couldn't have said it better. I think the Cubs saved Ryno from his own demise. If they gave him the Managerial job he would have fell out of Cubbie Love because of the crap they put on the field. The fans would have asked for his head after the multiple 5 game losing streak or 15th series lost in a row. Sandberg may be upset but he should be happy once hindsight sets in after 2 miserable years. I wish Quade the best but not expecting more than 65 wins in any year unless there is a miracle on Addison and Clark.

Luis M said...

"Unless Ryne Sandberg had figured out a way to start the 1984 version of himself at second base, the overall results on the field by a Quade-led team probably won't be much different than a Sandberg-led team."

2011 Sandberg at second base >>> 2011 Ryan Theriot

/just a thought

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