The news just broke on Twitter (courtesy of the official MLB account): Mike Quade will not return as Chicago Cubs manager in 2012. He was under contract for next season after signing a two year deal (with an option for 2013) prior to the 2011 season. After another disappointing Cubs season, new team president Theo Epstein must have felt that it was time for a fresh start.
Now, the interesting part. According to FOX’s Jon Morosi on Twitter, Epstein said that the new Cubs manager must have managerial or coaching experience at the big league level. Who does that immediately rule out? Well, the runner up to Quade in last season’s managerial search, former Cubs icon (and current manager of the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs) Ryne Sandberg.
With Sandberg apparently out of the running, who does that leave for the position? One name that immediately pops into my mind is a man that Epstein is familiar with: his former manager in Boston, Terry Francona. It makes sense. He has experience dealing with both veterans and young players (which the Cubs will be a nice blend of next season in all probability), is used to managing in a large market, and has plenty of experience at the major league level. I’m not saying that Francona is the perfect choice, but it at least makes sense.
No other names are immediately popping into my head. Many believed that Sandberg was the immediate favorite for the job, but with him getting excluded from Epstein’s parameters, the field is now wide open for this job.