Mike Quade was replaced as manager of the Cubs Wednesday, just weeks after finishing his first full year in the position. He had one year and $1 million left on his current contract.
The move is the first major one in the Theo Epstein era. Epstein joined the team's front office last week after the Red Sox relinquished his rights to the Cubs. Accoring to ESPN.com, Epstein decided after sitting down with Quade this week that it was best if the franchise moved in a different direction.
"While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any major league staff," Epstein said in a release, "Jed (Hoyer, general manager of the team) 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 a new direction."
Quade's appointment as full-time manager at the end of the 2010 season was met with some controversy, as it was beleived Cubs legend and Hall of Fame second basement Ryne Sandberg was next in line to manage the team. Sandberg subsequently left the organization and now is a minor league manager in the Phillies farm system.
It does not sound like Epstein is consdering bringing Sandberg back into the fold, however. SI.com reports that Epstein spoke to Sandberg to let him know that he was not on the club's short list of potential managers. Reportedley, Sandberg is a candidate for the now-vacated managerial job in St. Louis after Tony La Russa retired.
As Epstein's former team tries to find a new manager, his current team must now do the same. Cubs.com lists Tampa bench coach Dave Martinez, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, among others, as potential candidates.
As for Quade, his firing does not exactly come as a total surprise. After having success (24-13) down the stretch in 2010 after replacing Lou Piniella, the team never got on quite that same roll in 2011, finishing a distant 25 games behind first-place Milwaukee.
Quade's behavior only compounded the problems of losing. SI.com points out that Quade was ejected 7 times during the season, and had a hard time dealing with starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, both of whom had run-ins with their manager during the year.