Theo Epstein has made his first major decision as the new Cubs president, firing manager Mike Quade. After a complete front office regime change, it was thought by many that Quade's days were numbered.
In a statement just released by the Cubs, Epstein stated the following: "Jed Hoyer and I had an all-day meeting with Mike last Thursday at Wrigley Field, and Mike and I continued our dialogue with a lengthy phone conversation yesterday after the press conference. Today, I flew to Florida to inform Mike in person that the Cubs have decided not to bring him back as our manager for the 2012 season."
Quade took over as Cubs Manager for lame duck Lou Pinella in August of 2010. After an impressive finish to the season, then GM Jim Hendry offered Quade a two-year deal to manage the team. The Cubs went 71-91 in Quade's only full year as a manager.
The following comments made by Epstein during his announcement were even more interesting than the expected firing of Quade:
"The managerial search process begins immediately," Epstein said. "We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success. The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level."
Ryne Sandberg is out as a possible replacement.
Who will Epstein and Hoyer target, now that we know what they're looking for? Bob Brenly fits the bill and we all know that he's just a phone call away. Terry Francona has also said that he is open to managing next year. Epstein's relationship with Francona could make that an easy transition. Is Joe Maddon a possibility? He's entering the final year of his deal in Tampa. Will the Cubs offer more prospects to bring Maddon to town?
There are many names to speculate about, but one thing is certain. During this off season, Tom Ricketts has opened his wallet to fill the Cubs with the best and the brightest. Whomever Epstein chooses to be the next Cubs skipper will be no exception.
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