Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs have fired manager Mike Quade after just one full season at the helm. Quade compiled a record of 95-104 after taking over for Lou Piniella late in the 2010 season. The Cubs went 71-91 this season in Quade's only season as manager.
One week into his new job, Theo Epstein is cleaning house and appears to be bringing in his own guys. Who do the Cubs and Theo turn to now?
Theo Epstein has always been an admirer of Ryne Sandberg and could be on his shortlist for managerial candidates. Except, Theo Epstein said during the press conference Ryne Sandberg isn't a candidate. The Cubs are looking for people with managerial or coaching experience in the Majors. I think overlooking Ryne Sandberg is a huge mistake. Sandberg is a manger in waiting and what better place to start where he is a legend. Ryne Sandberg will get a managerial job sometime in the near future whether it be Boston or Philadelphia, after Manuel retires. Joe Maddon was overlooked for numerous jobs before he got his current gig in Tampa. Now he is regarded as probably the best manager in baseball.
An interesting name to look out for is Terry Francona. Francona has the experience. Check. He has worked with Theo. Check. So it just makes sense that the Cubs should just give him a look. Theo seems to be bringing his guys and Francona is one of his guys. Francona also says that he wants to manage next season, so I think the odds are better than average that Francona gets the Cubs job.
Then of course there seems to be the hottest name going around in the managerial vacancies, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. Martinez will get a managerial job, no question about it, but the Cubs look like they want a former manager rather than a great bench coach with no experience. Odds are that Martinez doesn't go to Wrigley.
Another one of Theo's guys could be on the list, Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. Sveum served as third base coach, a horrible one at that, in Boston while Theo was there. Sveum is going to be interviewed by Boston, so, presuming Sveum doesn't go to Boston, Sveum would more than likely get at least an interview with the Cubs. I give Sveum fair odds that he lands in Chicago.
Lastly, another one of Theo's guys, Boston Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale. Hale probably won't get the Red Sox job considering they want to shake things up from last year and Hale's hiring wouldn't do that. Hale is well respected by his players and by Theo Epstein. Granted Hale doesn't have managerial experience, but he was one of Theo's guys in Boston, so I give DeMarlo Hale a great shot at the job.
At the end of the day, I think Terry Francona gets the job because of his relationship with Theo Epstein and his track record. Francona and Epstein will try to recreate magic at the Friendly Confines.