Question of the day: Was Quade a better choice for Cubs manager than Sandberg? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
When the Cubs made this unexpected choice, the questions one had to ask were, what are the organization’s near- and long-term needs and how are they served?
Mike Quade is an outstanding baseball man, an organization man, a longtime minor league manager who has made a reputation of helping to develop young baseball talent. If that's the kind of team the Cubs intend to have, he is the right man for the job. Sure, it's unusual for a "storied" franchise in a big market to hire a relative unknown, but the Cubs' last manager, Lou Piniella, was older and established and looking to win, and probably not very interested in player development.
Ryne Sandberg would have been the perfect choice if selling tickets were a priority, but the novelty of having a hometown hero in the dugout fades quickly if he doesn't produce. With his name and cachet, he might be a better choice for a team ready to win now.
So the hiring of Mike Quade to a two-year contract is more about what it signals. The Cubs evidently are more focused on player development over the next two years, and the team hired a manager experienced in that area. If Quade is successful, he will become a "big name" quickly enough.
[Updated at 12 p.m.
Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun
There's no doubt Mike Quade is a solid baseball man who did a very good job as the interim manager after replacing Lou Piniella, so it's hard to argue against giving him a chance to build on his impressive 24-13 season-ending record, but the Cubs committed one of the cardinal sins of front office management. They let the decision make itself.
Quade might not have gotten the job if the Cubs had started the search from scratch at the end of the season, but he took advantage of his interim audition and won the role over popular Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. That probably came as a surprise to a lot of fans on the North Side, but it would have been impractical -- and politically perilous -- to change managers again after the players responded so well over the final six weeks of a lost season.
Was Quade the best choice? In a sense, he was the only choice.]
[Updated at 1:26 p.m.
Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Give Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg credit for burying whatever sense of entitlement he felt and working his way up the minor league managerial ranks. He’s earned an opportunity, but it shouldn’t be with the Cubs in 2011. Mike Quade has been dishing out dues considerably longer. He managed in the minor leagues 17 years before joining the Cubs’ major league staff in 2007. While 37 games as interim manager is a small sample size, Quade’s Cubs went a combined 9-7 against playoff contenders Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Francisco and San Diego. Against teams with nothing to play for, they were 15-6. With no carrot to dangle before them, Quade kept his veteran players interested and ready to play, and for that he deserved the job.]
[Updated at 1:40 p.m.
Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
Quade certainly earned the opportunity, guiding the Cubs to a 24-13 record as an interim manager after Lou Piniella stepped down, and who knows, maybe his career arc will mirror that of Mike Scioscia, another not-so-big name with little managerial experience who was considered a bit of a reach when the Angels hired him before the 2000 season. All Scioscia did was lead the Angels to the 2002 World Series championship, and he is now considered one of the best managers in the game.
But the Cubs are a very high-profile team, and I think a high-profile hire was called for, so I would have gone with Sandberg, who would have had instant credibility with the players, as well as Cubs fans, despite his lack of managerial experience.]
Photo: Mike Quade, left, the 51st manager of the Chicago Cubs, shakes hands with Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Tuesday. Credit: Brian Cassella / MCT