By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 20, 2010 2:30PM
The Cubs announced their new manager yesterday -- by simply removing the "interim" from Mike Quade's title. But was this the right decision? Some, like the Tribune's David Haugh, applaud the team's hiring of a baseball lifer who guided the team to a 24-13 record to close out the season after Lou Piniella stepped aside to tend to his ailing mother. Across town, the Sun-Times' Rick Telander thinks that Jim Hendry simply hired one of his buddies as though the Cubs are some sort of city department.
The sentimental favorite for the job was former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg, who has managed his way through the Cubs minor league system. Named Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, he certainly deserved an opportunity to manage the Cubs. There may well be a place for him on Quade's staff, but he also may get the opportunity to manage elsewhere. Others believe the Cubs should have waited until the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs so that they could gauge Joe Girardi's interest. But that's really just leftover buyers' remorse from four years ago, when we thought the Cubs should have gone with their former catcher over Piniella in the first place. Why would he ever want to leave the Yankees, with all its mystique and financial resources?
The reality is that the Cubs are entering a rebuilding phase after closing shut their best window of opportunity for a championship in years. Quade comes cheap to an organization that's trying to retool, and as a no-name he'll be easy to let go should the team find themselves ready to compete sooner rather than later and need to upgrade their managerial talent. Like the Bulls with Vinny del Negro, Quade is probably viewed as nothing more than a placeholder while the new ownership figures things out -- anything above that is an added bonus.