GROTA End of the Year Round Table: Part 2
Today's epic roundtable focuses on Mike Quade's stint as manager. Look for other roundtable questions being answered the rest of the week.
Mike Quade’s stint as manager was a positive one with the Cubs playing better baseball. Some people would say a manager doesn’t actually affect a team too much in regards to wins and losses. Do you tend to believe in this mantra? If so, was it more timing of the change or does Quade actually bring something positive to the Cubs?
Peter: Quade does bring someting positive to the Cubs, but I am quite certain what he brings to the table had no correlation to the positive record of the team. Quade is a no-nonsense, gritty guy that seems to see things pretty clearly black and white. I like his attitude and approach to the game a lot more than what Lou showed us over the past few years. Quade isn't afraid to use benchings as a "learning experience," he believes in a team with a strong fundamental foundation, and he seems pretty calm and collected. That being said, the main reason the team performed well after Quade took over has more to do with the fact that the games were meaningless and the team played loose. Add the pressure of a playoff push, and the team collapses just like it did in the start of the season.
AJ: I haven’t studied Quade’s lineups and bullpen changes enough to be able to tell you how his management style differed from Lou’s. But I would guess that the fire and adrenaline that comes with your first chance at managing in the bigs motivated him to make changes to how this team played. I do recall having seen Soto bat higher, for one thing.
Sayers40: Often when there is change on the top of a organization, the organization will thrive in the short term. I believe this along with the fact that the Cubs were always better than they seemed helped Quade out. The next manager needs to set a tone for the team that leads to a winning environment year after year. He needs to help in picking out and developing players and coaches in his image. I’d like the next manager to be someone who can stay around for the next 8-10 years and not be a fly by night solution. I look forward to playing against a Mike Quade managed team but he’s not right for the Chicago Cubs.
Rob: As the "intangibles" guy on this panel, of course I am going to say that I think this mantra is dick. At the very least, the manager creates the lineups, so he needs to know who deserves to play and which matchups work the best each game. Managers must follow each game's flow and ensure his players are aware of each situation. Some say that is unnecessary - I ask if you have ever had a conversation with a big league ballplayer, and tell you that they are fortunate they put their shoes on the correct feet every day.
Most of all though, a manager sets the tone for his club. Lou Piniella, whether it was due to age-induced inability to grasp the situation, or emotional defeat, appeared to one and all like he didn't give a shit less about competing this year. Everyone around him picked up on that. Having him leave the team was like finally putting your stinky old basset hound to sleep. Everything smelled fresher, and people stopped tripping over the inert lump lying on the carpet.
Mike: I think a new manager can definitely bring a shake-up to a club, and I think that's what we saw the last quarter of the season. Will that carry over? I'm not sure. That being said, I'd be lying if I said I thought the Cubs were playing the same way in September.
Kurt: Meh. Timing. Bad teams have good months, just like good teams have bad months. I'm sure Quade is a good manager -- or at least I'm sure he's not a bad one -- but I don't put too much weight behind the team's strong showing after Lou retired.
Yarbage: I have to agree with Kurt and Rob here. I said a little of this yesterday about Lou, but managers - at least the good ones - don't get in the way of a team. If he does that one thing, then usually the results are pretty good to where the team should be. I always thought the Cubs should have played better this season, and they got good pitching. So, the record should have been better. That means Q got lucky with the Cubs putting things together. The Cubs still have major flaws and even Quade will not be able to cover them up. I don't think Quade would be a terrible choice for next year, but that discussion is for another day.