Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010
By Patrick Mooney
SAN DIEGO Arms folded across his chest and a smile on his face, Mike Quade sat behind his desk late Tuesday night, enjoying the 21st victory of his major-league managing career.
Quades teams won 1,213 games across his 17 years as a manager in the minors, but his bullpen decisions were never scrutinized like this in Rockford or Des Moines, Iowa, or at any of his eight other stops.
Near the end of his postgame media session in his office, Quade was asked about Carlos Marmols availability for Wednesday. The Cubs closer had been used on back-to-back nights, and in three of the past four games.
You will not see him, Quade said. You have a better chance of me waking up with hair.
Marmol wasnt needed during Wednesdays 3-0 loss to a San Diego Padres team that desperately needed a win at PETCO Park to stay in the playoff hunt. But it would be interesting to see if Quade could maintain his sense of humor like that over the course of a 162-game season, if a multi-year deal to take on one of the toughest jobs in sports would change him.
The chances of that happening seem to increase with each endorsement from a key player in the clubhouse, though ultimately it will come down to general manager Jim Hendry bringing his short list of candidates to ownership.
Whats most striking is the language. Ryan Dempster said great job three times during a 27-second response to a question about Quade. Geovany Soto indicated that Quade would be welcomed with open arms if he returns.
Ask Marlon Byrd or Aramis Ramirez if they want Quade back, and youll get an answer like Who wouldnt? or Of course.
I dont know if anybody else could have done any better than what hes doing right now, Ramirez said. After we traded some good pieces away, he came in and (did) a great job with the players. He knows what hes doing. You can tell.
Hes been doing it for awhile. He just hadnt got the opportunity to manage up here.
Lou Piniellas resignation on Aug. 22 didnt come as a total shock, given the state of the team and his mothers declining health. You could even argue the bigger surprise was that the job didnt go to bench coach Alan Trammell, who had previously filled in for Piniella and managed the Detroit Tigers for three seasons.
Quade didnt have the name recognition of Trammell, much less Ryne Sandberg or Joe Girardi, two perceived favorites.
I always like the underdog, Quade said. People that are making decisions will make decisions. So you guys can put the lines and the odds on (it). When it comes to being underdogs and handicapping, Ill stick to horses.
The Cubs (72-86) are 21-12 under Quade after being shut out for the 14th time this season. The Padres are built upon pitching and defense and they showed that when center fielder Will Venable robbed Alfonso Soriano and Ramirez of potential home runs with two great catches.
In the third inning Venable leaped, extended his arm into the stands and crashed his body into the wall, right in between the Budweiser and Subway advertisements. Ramirez couldnt remember hitting a ball that hard without it going over the fence.
The Padres (88-70) are two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West and trail the Atlanta Braves by 1 12 games in the wild-card race. Randy Wells had no margin for error and gave up three runs across seven innings, ending his second year in the majors at 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA.
Continually making mistakes (is) not the way to make a long career in this game, Wells said. You just got to reflect on the season and come back fresh next year and roll the dice, see what happens.
Maybe thats what the Cubs ultimately do with Quade. The players would approve that decision, but also understand their limits. Byrd, one of the clubhouse leaders, wouldnt go to management with a request.
That's not my job at all, Byrd said. Hendry has a better feel than I do. He knows what he wants to do. Everyone in this organization trusts him, and that's why he's been given the job to name the next manager. Whoever he's going to bring in is going to do an excellent job, and we're going to play for him hard.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.