By Matt Spiegel–
There’s very little intrinsically wrong with the Mike Quade hiring. He’s certainly qualified and deserving of the opportunity, and did a fine job in his interim role. It’s probably true that anyone, in a post-Piniella universe, would have gotten that same “new manager bump,” but Quade made the most of his chance, and will be a decent fit for this roster.
The larger issue is the men who did not get the job, and what it tells us about the state of the organization.
Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi never really had a shot for this gig; I remain convinced of that. G.M. Jim Hendry did not want them. The Quade hiring is a victory for Hendry, the improbably trusted baseball boss of Tom Ricketts’ team. Did Ricketts want to wait and offer this job to Girardi? Seems so. Even if Girardi would have said no as I think he would have, the fact that the Quade hiring comes before that moment arose is telling. Hendry did not want Girardi last time, and did not this time either. A strong personality, who would get paid a ton, and expect some probably deserved control? No thanks. That doesn’t fit into Jim Hendry’s current mode of saving himself and extending his stay in power.
Ryno would have presented some of the same issues. If Sandberg was the guy, why not give him the same opportunity you gave Quade? He would have had similar success, and the 6 weeks of big league experience under his belt would have rendered the only remaining blight on his resume less meaningful. Sandberg was not in their plans for this job, and now will probably leave the organization. If it were you, just passed over, and you could take a major league job somewhere else, wouldn’t you?
The Cubs roster a mess, and the influx of kids is not going to be enough to clean it up right away. It’s a big bus, and it will make a slow turn. Cubs fans deserved a clean slate change of regime: a new baseball czar to pick his own manager and create a unified approach to building the kind of model organization Tom Ricketts has spoken of wanting to become. This is not that clean regime change.
This move is the continuation of an organization letting the bad money invested in many slowly roll off the books, as you plot the long term rebuild. I, and others, would be far more vocally behind it if we trusted the general manager left in charge.