Mike Quade emotional after firing; Epstein seeks manager with major-league experience
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2011 1:40PM
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Updated: November 2, 2011 7:27PM
As much as Mike Quade knew it could be coming, being told he was out as the Cubs’ manager still hit hard enough to send him to one of his quiet spots on the water for a couple of hours Wednesday.
“I’ve run the gamut of emotion,” said Quade, who was told in person by team president Theo Epstein. “Disappointed, upset, irritated, bitter — a little bit of everything. But it comes with the turf. It hadn’t come with the turf at this level ever with me. But it’s part of the deal.”
In his first big-league managing job, Quade went 95-104 in one full season plus six weeks at the end of 2010. His Cubs finished in fifth place in the National League Central this season at 71-91.
Quade, who hopes to manage again but plans to spend at least the next week or two away from baseball, said he was impressed with the way Epstein handled the process.
They met for more than six hours Thursday in Chicago, and after making the decision, Epstein flew to Florida on Wednesday to tell Quade personally.
“This is a first-class guy, and I appreciated it,” Quade said. “It doesn’t mean I’m thrilled with the decision. But at least there’s a part of me that understands a little bit and appreciates the way it was done.”
In a statement released by the Cubs, Epstein is quoted as saying: “While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any major-league staff, Jed and I believe that the Cubs would benefit long term from bringing in a manager for 2012 who can come in with a clean slate and offer new direction.
“The managerial search process begins immediately. 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.’’
That could put into play another reunion of Boston Red Sox championship colleagues. Epstein’s former manager, Terry Francona, requested that his contract with the Red Sox not be renewed.
Francona’s bench coach in Boston, Chicago native DeMarlo Hale, also could be a candidate. He was on the list of potential successors for Francona compiled in part by Epstein before he left for the Cubs.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, a finalist for the Red sox job that went to Francona eight years ago, could be the front-runner if the Cubs receive permission to talk to him — assuming Maddon, who’s under contract for one more year, is interested.
The Cubs’ coaching staff remains in limbo. The team said each coach will be evaluated, with the ultimate decisions likely falling to Quade’s successor. Three are under contract for next season: bench coach Pat Listach, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and bullpen coach Lester Strode.