Mike Quade was named manager for the Chicago Cubs this year after a stellar performance at the end of last season. Sure, he didn't change the course of the season and put the Cubs back in the division race, but he guided the team to a strong, winning finish.
Once Lou Piniella decided to hang up the cleats, the Cubs named Quade interim manager. At the start of this year, the interim tag was removed, and "Q" was the one to lead the team.
Considering the type of ball club the Cubs are this season, Quade has done a sub-par job. Yes, the Cubs record is well below .500, but when a team is comprised of tired veterans, it is tough to do well.
The only piece holding the team together is the young talent, led by All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro. Castro is the only hope Cubs fans can hold onto right now.
I'll be the first to admit that I, too, supported the Cubs' decision in naming Quade manager over Cub great Ryne Sandberg. Quade brought more coaching experience to the table and was already familiar with the current team from serving as the third base coach and interim manager. At the time, Quade was the right choice.
However, now that I take this season into consideration, Quade should not return as manager next year.
Besides the staggering number in the loss column and the minuscule number in the win column, the Cubs have not performed cohesively at all this season. Other than the recent seven-game win streak, I can not recall a week where I was able to sit back and say, "The Cubs are playing some great ball." In fact, I have been saying the exact opposite.
I put this blame on the manager. It is Quade's job to make sure the team is running smoothly and can function properly. His mix-up in the outfield was terrible. In essence, Quade destroyed Tyler Colvin's season. Instead of giving the young slugger his cuts, "Q" sporadically entered him in the lineup, which led to Colvin's demotion to the minors.
Early in the year, Quade's late-game pitching decisions started to puzzle me. I did not understand why he was leaving starters to continue into the seventh and eighth innings of games when relievers like Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and closer Carlos Marmol could help seal the deal. I am all for letting a pitcher finish what he has started, but when he has thrown well over 100 pitches and is losing the zip on his fastball, it's time to call it a day.
It is evident Chicago's 2011 season was a disaster. Even Wrigley Field attendance went down, and fans know that rarely happens. The players are largely to blame for the poor season, but Quade should take most of the fault.
He is likely to be one and done as the Cubs manger. Now, let's hope the front office can reel in Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols to complement a new coach.