Mike Maddux, Dale Sveum take center stage in Cubs’ search
By Gordon Wittenmyer firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2011 10:30PM
Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux is a candidate for the Cubs' managerial job. | Leon Halip~Getty Images
Updated: December 4, 2011 11:16AM
It took more than three months for the Cubs to get their new front office team in place.
But some in the organization believe it might not take two weeks to land their new manager after Mike Quade was fired Wednesday after his first full season on the job.
Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer already seem to be working from a short list of candidates, with sources saying they’d reached out to some before Epstein traveled to Florida to tell Quade of his decision.
Two names at or near the top of the list, according to sources, are Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux and one-time Milwaukee interim manager Dale Sveum, who interviewed for the Boston Red Sox vacancy on Wednesday.
Maddux also is on Boston’s candidate list, no coincidence considering Epstein was involved in the first steps of the Red Sox hiring process before leaving for the Cubs.
Maddux, who declined comment Wednesday when reached by phone on whether he’d been contacted or had interest in the Cubs job, helped transform the Texas pitching staff into a two-time pennant winner.
Sveum, who managed the Brewers the final 12 games of the 2008 season and in the playoffs, has been contacted by the Cubs, according to a source.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona is not considered a candidate for this job, nor is one-time Boston managerial finalist Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hiring a pitching coach such as Maddux — who also had success with Milwaukee’s staff before going to Texas — would be consistent with the emphasis the new brass is placing on pitching and with the history of both Epstein and Hoyer.
Hoyer spent the past two seasons as the GM in San Diego, where Bud Black has been one of more successful former pitchers to manage in the big leagues. Hoyer raved about Black during Hoyer’s news conference Tuesday.
When hiring away Hoyer and player development executive Jason McLeod from the Padres, the Cubs agreed not to raid that team for anyone else, including Black.
Epstein already has reached out to Mike’s brother, Greg Maddux, in hopes he’ll return next year after working as a special assistant to former GM Jim Hendry.
If Mike Maddux were to become manager, one source close to Greg Maddux believes the future Hall-of-Famer might reconsider his desire to avoid full-time travel and could even agree to work as pitching coach with his brother.
Except for a five-paragraph statement, the Cubs had no comment on Quade, the coaching staff or any possible replacement. Epstein and Hoyer both declined further comment through a team spokesman, and Hoyer did not respond to an e-mail listing several questions.
Quade’s coaches remain in limbo. Bench coach Pat Listach and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo — each with a year left on their contracts — were told by Epstein the organization wants them to return next year. But they were also told the new manager has the final say.
‘‘I said, that’s fair,’’ said Jaramillo. ‘‘I’m not taking anything for granted still.’’
Quade, who finished 95-104 in his first big-league managing job, said he ran ‘‘the gamut of emotion,’’ when he got the news.
‘‘Disappointed, upset, irritated, bitter, a little bit of everything,’’ he said. ‘‘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.’’
Was Quade given a fair shake, given the flaws and lack of depth on a team that lost two starters to injury the first week of the season?
‘‘Nobody promised fair,’’ Quade said. ‘‘That’s life in baseball, in a lot of things. I’m not leaving here with my head down. I think it was a tough situation that we handled about as well as we could. … It’s part of the deal. We’re all accountable. … Given the situation, I’m not unhappy with the way I handled myself or the way the club handled itself.’’