Mike Quade on Theo Epstein: “He’s putting a group of people together that he is near and dear to that he believes in.”November 14, 2011 – 6:45 am by Steven Cuce
The first move of the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer era in Chicago was to hand Mike Quade his walking papers. After a seven hour meeting with the Cubs manager, Epstein decided it would be best for the organization to part ways with Quade and hire a new skipper who he felt would fit his style and philosophy as the Cubs turn the page on a new chapter in their franchise’s history. Although Quade wasn’t handed a very favorable roster in his time with the Cubs, he’s not bitter about it in any way. It was a short stint at Wrigley Field, but Quade would like to stay in the big leagues.
Mike Quade joined ESPN Radio Chicago with Waddle and Silvy to talk about whether he felt like he had a chance to keep his job as manager after his long meeting with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, the Ryan Dempster incident hurting him the most during his time as the Cubs manager, not playing Cubs’ rookies enough last season, his plans for the future, and the idea of staying with the Cubs in some sort of capacity after Theo Epstein fired him as manager.
After the seven hour meeting with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer did you feel you had a chance to win them over?
“I think they were open in a big way. It was about as constructive a seven-hour meeting – I don’t know if I’ve had any seven-hour meetings – as constructive a time as I’ve spent talking to a GM or baseball people in general. There was very little that was left unsaid or talked about as far as everything from the roster to philosophy, strategy and everything else. I enjoyed it very much and felt pretty good.”
Did the Ryan Dempster incident hurt you more on a personal level because Dempster was more of your ally? Ryan Dempster went to bat for you when you were an interim manager and wanted you as the long time manager. Did that hurt more than anything?
“I think our relationship maybe made it hurt more than most situations, but still in all I was -whether it was [Carlos] Zambrano, whether it was [Ryan] Dempster, any confrontation that happens you feel unfortunate. You are trying to make decisions that are right for the club and right for the individual and guys don’t agree sometimes. It’s not unique to Mike Quade, not unique to baseball – yeah the cameras are everywhere now – you really need – unless you wind up in the clubhouse real quick and get it done stuff is going to get seen. Again it hurt, but those things happen and I don’t take it personal and I don’t think Dempster did either.”
Your biggest criticism in your time as a manager was the lack of playing the rookies. How do you respond to that?
“Well I think it is wrong. I think what young kids are we talking about? The only kid that didn’t get a chance to play everyday was Tony Campana. We gave Tyler Colvin more than enough opportunities to try to play. We brought Bryan LaHair up and give him an opportunity. I don’t know where you hear that stuff. Chris Carpenter and all of the pitchers that came up – we were struggling for pitching so bad – I really felt like those guys got an opportunity. I’m just not sure. That’s a general statement, but I almost want people to be specific.”
What’s next in the future? Do you think you will be getting another managing job or back to your roots in the minors?
“Well there’s a lot involved there and yes I think I will get a chance to manage again. How best to go about that? I don’t know. Funny someone asked me that question – I saw Theo Epstein on Wednesday, so Thursday people started saying what’s next? What’s next? I’m like wait a minute. I went fishing this morning I was the manager of the Cubs and I came home and drove to Tampa, got back in the afternoon and went fishing. I wasn’t the manager of the Cubs. You guys are asking me now what is next? What’s next is take a week or two to sort things out and figure it out. Other possibilities that are involved there are who is interested? What openings are there? All of that plays in. The one thing that coaches and players alike will talk about is getting your ten years in the big leagues. Well I’ve been there ten years. If you can get to ten years and secure yourself a real nice pension that’s a big carrot. That’s something everyone wants: The major league level and competing at that level and continuing to be involved on that level is huge, but I am a baseball lifer and I look at it that way. At some point in the next week or two I’ll put all of this behind me and we’ll see what is available.”
You felt it would be uncomfortable to stay with the Cubs after getting fired as manager. Did Theo Epstein ask you to stay?
“No. He did not. My point was just to say that I think I was totally understandable and again I think he’s putting a group of people together that he is near and dear to; that he believes in and if you got a one-year manager hanging around that’s probably…in his mind not something you want to do.”