Bernstein: Quade/Sandberg Pairing A Bad Idea

I enjoy the work of’s Will Carroll, but I really hope he’s wrong.

The former Baseball Prospectus Senior Writer and current BWAA member reported via Twitter yesterday afternoon that the Cubs were planning to announce the hiring of Mike Quade as manager and Ryne Sandberg as bench coach, perhaps as soon as next week.

It was not presented as a rock-solid scoop — more like passing along what a source indicated (the use of Twitter to soft-sell stories is a discussion for a different day).  Regardless, the Cubs had better be smarter than that.

Quade as manager is fine.  The genial baseball lifer made the most of the opportunity afforded him when Lou Piniella waddled pathetically into the cornstalks and evaporated.  A moribund team woke up to finish 24-13 in 2010 garbage time, and veteran players spoke glowingly (and, yes, predictably) of Quade’s ability to communicate and connect.

He is qualified for the job, and may have just the right touch for a team in gear-grinding transition:  the roster is made up of  aging, expensive veterans, replacement-level drones and a couple decent prospects, and they want to cut payroll while contending in a bad division.

But putting Sandberg on the bench next to him is begging for trouble.

The inevitable rough patches will bring “Let Ryno manage!” yelps from overly-nostalgic, misguided fans who think that Sandberg is a good manager simply because he was a good player, and because they like him.

Quade would be undermined at the outset in both the public eye and the locker room, regardless of anything Sandberg could say or do.  Hall-of-Famers bring gravity that way.

In truth, it would make far more baseball sense to invert the reported tandem, if you wanted both involved.  Mollify hearts and minds of fans and the marketing department by intstalling Sandberg and let Quade be both his auxilliary brain and clubhouse good cop.

Quade even may fit the second-banana archetype better, actually, as the no-name longtimer with thousands of games coached and managed through all strata of professional baseball, quietly advising without ego or blinding ambition.

It would be a shame if Quade’s well-earned chance was eclipsed at this point by someone getting the job just because he’s supposed to.  Sandberg should be complimented for working his way up through the system, but he was never promised a graduation to the organization’s top spot, nor should he have been.

He might be a very good manager.

The way this is all setting up, then, is that Sandberg needs to either manage the Cubs or work somewhere else, for the benefit of all involved.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Bernsy, you nailed it, Cub nation, will be breathing down Quade’s neck, questioning every move, and as soon as there is a slump, they will want his neck. Looking foward to Friday Fung, might make my way out to the remote.

  • Lydell

    I could actually see them doing this in that pursed lip Cubby (cringe) we’re-pleasing-everyone sort of way. Wanting to please everyone is noble. Thinking it possible is lunacy. But good radio.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    If Quade (or whomever) is selected, shouldn’t he be allowed to pick his own coaching staff (apart from Pitching Coach because Rothschild is already under contract for 2011)?

  • merklesboner

    Hey, why not bring in all the candidates, including Brenly, Wedge, Melvin and have the College of Coaches II?

  • AT3374

    The biggest mistake so far is the Cubs letting Jim Hendry make this decision . This would be the cherry on the top imo . Man I really thought Ricketts would come in and make some good changes but it seems like the same old same old .

    • B-man

      I totally agree with your comment. Jim Hendry is the least qualified to make any decision regarding the team. Jim Hendry seems to have pulled the wool over Tom Ricketts eyes. Jim does not know how to put together a major league roster with qualified, talented players. He overspends on the wrong players who are either past their prime or are a wrong fit for the team. Tom Rickettes should have cleaned house when he took over the team. If I were the owner Jim Hendry, you would have been the first to go (and Crane Kenney right behind you). We Cub fans deserve better!!!!


    I heard Will Carroll from on with The SCORE’s Laurence Holmes last night. Contrary to what I heard late on the “B & B” show yesterday, it sounded to me as if Will may have jumped the gun regarding the Mike Quade/Ryne Sandberg pairing. I don’t think there’s any teeth to the rumor of Quade getting the interim tag removed as Cubs’ manager with Sandberg as new bench coach. Tim McCarver, who works the NLCS between the Giants & Phillies this weekend for MLB/FOX Sports, was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” today and he still thinks Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi is still very much in play for the Cub job.


    effen refresh just killed my post.

    Rickett’s bank president(s) should demand an extra 2% on his (their) return(s).
    He bought a giant lemonade stand with plans to sell the exact same product. But add flashy advertising. No additional products, no new “patented formula.” Just the same ol’ sugar, water, and kool aid in a dixie cup.


    Only, now the lemonade is going to cost 75 cents instead of a quarter. Terrific.
    Sign here?

  • Pulseczar

    Shouldn’t Hendry be looking for a job for himself instead of looking for a new Chicago Cubs manager right about now?

    • Chet's Inflated Ego


      And he can take Crane Kenney with him too…they both should be looking for work.


    They’re both under contract.
    Oh yeah, now that 75 cent cup of lemonade is going to be smaller.

  • Bob in San Diego


    While I agree with you on a ‘fan’ and ‘sports’ level, going directly with Ryno rather than making him a bench coach is a smart decision, it would be a foolish ‘business’ decision. While the endgame of the organization is to win the championship, it is also 1b to make money (I would even argue that winning a championship is a by-product to making money for most teams – they try to win the championship to make more money with the further games/exposure of the organization). In a vacuum – hiring Ryno over Quade does not make sense as Quade is most likely a better manager with a better pedigree. The only reason Ryan is mentioned is because of his ‘mystic’ as bringing him in would bring in more fan money. Hiring Sandberg is something that will ‘energize’ the fans and get them vested in the Cubs – having them buy tickets to see him play, watch more games to see his decisions, etc. So if you can vest fans by bringing Sandberg into the organization – why do it once (simply hire him as manager) when you can do it twice (hire him as bench coach then eventually elevate him to manager)?

    If you don’t believe me, look at Apple. Why release the iPhone 4 when they can make small improvements and make the iPhone 3Gs thus double dipping on their consumers. So why should the Cubs hire Sandberg outright when they can get a boost in interest by hiring him as a bench coach and again later when he is a manager?

  • Cobalt
  • KazooBoy

    The Sports Guy (a/k/a Bill Simmons) of ESPN agrees with some of us that the Bulls did the right thing by not including Noah in a trade for C. Anthony. He’s forgotten more about the NBA than Bernsie will ever know.

  • puddin' head

    since when has the Cub organization had so much trouble selling tickets that they need to hire ryno to sell them…don’t think so

    • Bob in San Diego

      Since last year they sold 100,000 less tickets then ’08 and this year sold 100,000 less then ’09. Cubs fans are getting smarter and need more then Wrigley Field to enjoy the game.

  • puddin' head

    all baseball attendance was down for those years cubs average was above the N.L. average.

  • Bob in San Diego

    Okay, then how about the 40% decline in television viewership – the biggest slip in all of baseball?


      Bob, not to pile on you, but WGN split to WGN and WGN America (the dumb WGN).
      Some areas only get WGN America, and they don’t always show the games.
      Those same areas don’t get CLTV or Comcast Plus.
      I missed the Zambrano no-hitter, because it wasn’t on in my area.
      Now, I would say that T.V. viewership might be up if the Cubs could be more entertaining.
      I agree with you about the Cubs are in the business of selling tickets. Ryne Sandberg would be a draw.

  • puddin' head

    maybe those people all went to the game LOL i really dunno

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Jen Jen the Engine out at CSN. Apparently she’s been involved with Nick Boynton. That was quick.

    Big enough story to make Deadspin. At least she’s arrived.

  • Bob in San Diego

    Lol. In my opinion, it just seems that every year a fringe fan needs ‘something’ to draw them in to a team before it is determined if they are good or not. With an already expensive roster, I don’t think Hendry has the purse strings to bring in a free agent. Last year, their big ‘get’ was “St. Louis is down to our level!” I think if this years big ‘get’ is Ryno, they have no more bullets in the barrel. But if they space it out, they have the ‘Ryno hire’ this year and the ‘Ryno Manager’ hire in the future.

    Then again – I’m not a GM, but if I was a business owner this is how I would space it out but hope Quade wins and I don’t have to make the decision.

  • Denny Crane

    what to happend to BTS

  • Jon, Montgomery

    denny crane-

    i’m almost positive that he posted that he was going to indianapolis with his family on vacation, i’m not sure how long it’s been or how long he’ll be there, but i’m pretty sure that’s where he is right now. no worries.

  • larry

    Convenient for the Cubs to lock up Ryno and put him as the bench coach waiting in the wings for the inevitable subsequent managerial takeover. Quade would be a fool to agree to such a setup so he could be the sacrificial lamb. Ryno will manage this club at some point. It’s too juicy of a marketing opportunity to not happen. And you know the Cubs are all about marketing.

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