The Theo regime is upon us, and it didn't take long for him and his brain trust to take care of the most obvious change in the Cubs offseason, as Theo and company informed Mike Quade that he will not return for 2012.
We all knew it was going to happen. Quade knew, Theo knew, and heck ESPN knew as they included the Cubs job on a poll asking America to vote for the most attractive managerial vacancy earlier this week. Yet, despite the fact that we all knew, you have to give credit to Theo Epstein for handling it the way he did, with tremendous class.
Theo and Hoyer met with Quade for a full day last week, and Theo personally flew down to Florida to inform Quade of the Cubs' decision. That's the absolute definition of class, especially after there had been reports that Quade was out of the loop after the season.
So where to the Cubs go from here? Well the quick answer is not in the direction of Ryne Sandberg. Here's what Epstein said in his press release, all but eliminating the former Cubs great:
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.
As Bruce Levine points out, he has all but one of the qualities, missing the most important one. To add salt to the wounds, the Cardinals have now asked the Phillies to speak to Sandberg, to which the Phillies have granted permission, per Ken Rosenthal.
The early vibe coming out of Wrigley is thatthe Cubs' short list includes Dale Sveum and DeMarlo Hale. Sveum righted the Brewers' ship in 2008 after the firing of Ned Yost, and according to Jon Heyman, is also one of the favorites for the Red Sox position, ironically signaling an Epstein vs. Cherington battle of sorts. That's where Hale comes into play, as he has served as the Red Sox bench since 2006. Heyman also pointed out Mike Maddux, but he's yet to gain managerial experience at the major league level.
The offseason still is only beginning.
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