Cubs name Mike Quade manager
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs
removed the interim tag from Mike Quade and named him the manager with a two-year deal and a club option for 2013, the team announced Tuesday.
Quade, 53, arrived in Chicago on Monday to finalize the deal, and the Cubs will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. CT to announce it.
Quade took over for the retired Lou Piniella on Aug. 23 and guided the Cubs to a 24-13 record down the stretch. That was the second best mark in baseball over that period.
"It's awesome, they couldn't have made a better hire," Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's a great pick to manage this team.
"He did a great job when he was given the opportunity. It's a great move for the organization and for us as a team. I'm extremely thrilled that he got the opportunity here, because if it wasn't going to be here, it was going to be somewhere else."
The long-time minor league manager was considered a finalist for the job with Triple-A Iowa manager and Cubs' Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
"From my standpoint, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed," Sandberg said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show." "It's a disappointing day for sure."
Sandberg said he's uncertain about his future with the Cubs on any level.
"I think now it's digesting everything and kind of change the wheels and turn in a different direction," he said. "I was focused on something, and it's just taking it all in.
"I spent the four years in the minor leagues to manage at the major league level, and that's where my heart is and that's what my next step is. That's where I look next. So I'll take it a step at a time and see if there's another opportunity out there and go from there. I wish Mike Quade the best; I wish the Cubs the best and the Ricketts family."
Some Cubs fans will be disappointed Sandberg didn't get the job, but Dempster wonders if part of that is the fans' love for Sandberg's legacy as a player.
"I know that Ryno has done a really good job in the minor leagues so far," Dempster said. "He's only got a few years managing down there, and he's done really well. I'm sure the more experience he gets, the better he's going to be. He was a tremendous player and is a tremendous person, and that experience is only going to make him better.
"I know people would love to see [Sandberg] back in a Cubs uniform and at Wrigley Field every day, and maybe that's as much the infatuation as it is with who's going to make the best manager. And I'm not saying Ryno won't be a great manager, I just know Mike is a tremendous one and we're lucky to have him."
Quade has been in the Cubs organization for nine seasons. He was Piniella's third base coach for nearly four years beginning in 2007, and he managed the Iowa Cubs from 2003-06.
"I got an opportunity to come in and do things the way I like," Quade said on Sept. 29. "And [general manager] Jim [Hendry] gave me free rein to take the shot and go do it. Nothing's gotten in the way of me being able to do that, and the results have been good.
"I'm proud of the job that we've done and the way that these guys have finished."
Quade earned the respect of players and management not only with his on-field success, but with his discipline of veterans and rookies alike.
"I don't think the size of somebody's contract or the size of somebody's ego or whether they're a rookie or have 15 years in the league is going to change the way he approaches somebody or talks to somebody," Dempster said. "He has a lot of great qualities."
The Cubs finished the season at 75-87, in next-to-last place in the NL Central and a far cry from what a team with a payroll of about $145 million to start the season had expected.
Saying he needed to be with his ailing mother back in Florida, Piniella stepped down Aug. 22 after the Cubs went into a 5-20 skid that left them at 51-74. He was in the final year of his deal and had put together three straight winning seasons, but could not get the Cubs out of their funk.
Besides Sandberg, there was speculation the Cubs might hire a former major league manager like Eric Wedge or Bob Melvin, or current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
Under Quade's leadership, the Cubs got a lift from promising rookies such as shortstop Starlin Castro
, who hit .300, and outfielder Tyler Colvin
. He hit 20 homers before he got struck in the chest by a broken bat in late September, ending his season.
Young pitchers Andrew Cashner
and Casey Coleman
showed promise, but the Cubs basically dropped out of contention right after the season started. Derrek Lee
and Aramis Ramirez
, who was bothered by injuries, got off to slow starts. Lee, Ryan Theriot
and Ted Lilly
, who played big roles in winning division championships in 2007 and 2008, got traded.
Ramirez wound up hitting .241 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. Alfonso Soriano
struggled, finishing with 24 homers while batting .258, and Kosuke Fukudome
hit .263. Carlos Zambrano
got sent to the bullpen in a surprise move early in the season and the volatile pitcher had another meltdown in June after returning to the rotation. He had to be separated from Lee in the dugout after giving up four runs in the first inning of a game against the White Sox and got suspended and sent to anger-management counseling.
When he was reinstated, he looked more like the ace of old, going 8-0 in his final 11 starts to finish 11-6.