Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

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Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010
11:40 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer your questions about the White Sox's recent acquistion of Manny Ramirez, Mike Quade's 2011 staus and more!

Tony, Chicago -- What are your thoughts on the White Sox claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers? Don't you think they should be more focused on pitching than offense?

Steve Stone: You can't really choose who is going to go on waivers. If at the time, they knew Eric Threets was going to be lost to the club, there is a good chance or possible scenario, Brian Fuentes to be claimed before Minnesota. But that wasn't the case. Kenny didn't have the luxury to wait and because Threets was throwing very well and it's still believed Thornton is not injured badly, they went after a hitter.
Roman, Hobart, Ind. -- Now that Frank Thomas Day has come and gone, what are your favorite memories of the Big Hurt playing on the South Side?

Steve Stone: You have to understand I was not on the South Side for his career. I was doing some baseball on the other side of town and consequently because our games was, most of the time, completely different in time and time zones, I didn't get to see a great deal of his career. Safe to say, he was one of the great hitters of all time. When you ask me about the great recollections, that is Hawk's plate.

Kate, Chicago -- If Mike Quade ends the season on a winning note, what are his chances of returning next season to manage the Cubs?

Steve Stone: As far as his chances, I said I like him as a good solid baseball man. I believe he knows the game, he certainly pays his dues and understands the culture, but there isn't much I don't like. I think he could make a good manager; I don't think he should manage the Cubs next year but then again, I don't have the decision to make. I am thankful for that and wish him best of luck; he is a quality man. We will have to see what Hendry and Ricketts feel about Quade, but about the many worthy candidates for what I believe is the last and greatest sports challenge -- to win a world championship in the uniform of the Chicago Cubs. If you know someone 102 years old, they were just being born when the Cubs won their last one.
Tommy, Winfield -- What are your thoughts of Sammy Sosa's recent comments about the Cubs not caring about him?

Steve Stone: I think they are very accurate as far as Sammy is concerned. The sad part is, there are a lot of things said and done at the time that maybe, maybe some people felt later on that they shouldn't have said. I know that probably applies to Sammy. I would hope that applied to the Tribune Company. After the death of Harry Carry in February 1998, having been on that broadcast with Harry's grandson Chip, what we were selling was Sammy and the Ivy. The Cubs had a very good break in '98 and made it to the playoffs in the Wild Card, only to be knocked out by Atlanta. Up until 2003, they were not great years and Sammy was a big part of the show most of the time, and sometimes the whole show. He probably made them about 200 million. When a guy does that for you, he deserves a little more consideration as you shoved him out the door. With that being said, we can just go back and perhaps bring him back into the family. I know about his performance-enhancing, but many players with the same cloud over their head. I believe he was an intricate part of the past. I think he should be welcomed back into the family some where down the line. This opinion won't be shared by tons, but that's how i feel about the situation.

John, Chicago -- What has surprised you most this season in MLB?

Steve Stone: Its hard to pin down one thing, but if I were to delete everything as a whole, the most surprising team, the Padres. They have done a tremendous job with a low payroll team in a small amount of time in putting together a ball club that has all the marks of a team going to the playoffs. It's a magnificent story. The Rangers are a good story, but not quite as surprising being in a four-team division and as many stars on that team that they were able to put that race to bed in the West. Omar Vizquel having an opportunity to play a lot more than expected and play better than people thought he could play. If the Sox go on to win, he will be one impressive array of contributors and one of the most surprising. Starlin Castro is also a great story of the year as the Cubs are concerned. It appears he is going to be an excellent player. Don't worry about those errors, they happen. He is here to stay. In my estimation, he could become a truly great story on the north side of town.

How Cubs decided Kyle Hendricks would be their fifth starter

How Cubs decided Kyle Hendricks would be their fifth starter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Joe Maddon made the obvious choice and named Jon Lester as the Opening Night starter, the Cubs manager joked about Kyle Hendricks reacting to the news by throwing stuff around the weight room.

So imagine how last year's ERA titleholder and a World Series Game 7 starter responded to the idea of being slotted fifth in the rotation.

"I heard things rattling in there," Maddon said with a laugh.

The Cubs revealed their alignment before Wednesday afternoon's Jake Arrieta vs. Zack Greinke matchup at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, confirming Brett Anderson will work as a starter (for as long as he's healthy) while Mike Montgomery moves to the bullpen for the defending champs.

The Cubs want John Lackey to face the St. Louis Cardinals, so he will open as the No. 3 starter at Busch Stadium. To break up the lefties in the rotation, Anderson — who once tweeted: "Kyle Hendricks looks like he'd celebrate a World Series win with a glass of 2% milk, Oreos and a book" — will start Game 4 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Whether or not the Cubs are overthinking this and overplaying their hand with a mild-mannered personality, don't expect Hendricks to rage against the pitching infrastructure.

"That's the point about our group," Maddon said. "Everybody buys in. Everybody's good. They understand being a part of the puzzle in your own unique way.

"It's kind of neat when you can have these conversations, knowing that ego's not going to play a part of it from the player coming back at you. They know it is part of the overall picture. They also know that the purpose is to try to do what we did last year.

"It's a unique situation. I'm not saying we're taking advantage of it, because everybody kind of digs it."

Whether or not Hendricks repeats his 2.13 ERA and third-place finish in the National League Cy Young Award vote, the Cubs see 200 innings as his next level after throwing 180 in 2015 and 190 last season (plus seven playoff starts combined).

"Everybody gets hung up on numbers," Maddon said. "He's definitely better than a No. 5 starter. It just happens that we're going to slot him in the five-hole coming out of camp. It's not a pecking order regarding ability by any means.

"A lot of it is just comfort zone for us with Kyle doing so well there last year. But, listen, Kyle can be a lot of people's No. 2s or even a 1 in a situation right now, too."

All along, the Cubs have coached up and managed Hendricks to the point where he could beat Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the franchise's first pennant in 71 years.

"Why mess with that?" Maddon said. "As long as his ego doesn't force you to attempt to try to do something differently, and it doesn't, outside of throwing things a little bit. He's beautiful. We're all good."

Theo Epstein tops Fortune's list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

Theo Epstein tops Fortune's list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

The Cubs keep raking in the accolades.

Theo Epstein is the latest to be honored, with Fortune naming the Cubs president of baseball operations No. 1 on the newly-released list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.

Epstein — the architect of the Cubs team that ended a 108-year championship drought — beat out such names as Pope Francis, John McCain, LeBron James and Joe Biden.

Fellow Chicagoan and White Sox ambassador Chance the Rapper also made the list at No. 46.

The rationale for Epstein includes:

In his book The Cubs Way, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci details the five-year rebuilding plan that led to the team’s victory. The Cubs owe their success to a concatenation of different leadership styles, from the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts to the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of club president Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox. In the following passages, Verducci describes how a deeper understanding of important human qualities among his players—the character, discipline, and chemistry that turn skilled athletes into leaders—­enabled Epstein to engineer one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports.

For more on why Epstein and the Cubs topped the list, head to Fortune.com.

Epstein had a classic reaction to the honor with his official statement:

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball - a pastime involving a lot of chance. If Zobrist's ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."