A tough 8-7 loss to the Reds on Sunday ended the Cubs seven-game winning streak. But the string of wins greatly improves Chicago’s chances of avoiding 100-losses.
That means little in the grand scheme of things, the Cubs still stink and remain one of baseball’s worst clubs, but it’s huge for Mike Quade.
Because it’s tough justifying the return of any manager whose team reaches triple digits in the loss column, and especially for a club expected to contend.
However, avoiding 100 losses gives Quade some breathing room. And if the Cubs can leap-frog Pittsburgh in the standings over the final eight weeks (they’re only 5.0 games back), a fourth place finish may afford Quade a second season on the North Side.
That’s hardly a measure of success for the skipper under the current expectations that the Cubs are to compete right now. But maybe our expectations should be adjusted?
Just look to the visiting team’s dugout to see building a winner takes time and patience.
Dusty Baker inherited a 72-win team in 2008. He guided them to 74-wins a season later, then 78 the following year. In his third season the Reds won 91 games and the NL Central.
Baker is a three-time Manager of the Year, and arguably should have won his fourth last season. So what makes us believe Quade should turn the Cubs around any quicker than Dusty did the Reds?
A few factors working against Quade stand out. 1) The Cubs have the third highest payroll in baseball. 2) Quade’s forte was suppose to be fundamentals, yet the Cubs have played anything but in 2011. 3) Wrigleyville is short on both time and patience.
That leaves me to believe one of two things. Either Quade is the absolute wrong man for an organization eager to win now, or Chicago must commit to a rebuilding plan under Quade, which may take several years to come to fruition.
With the Rickettes plan of building a winner being vague at best, whether or not Quade returns should tell us a lot about how quickly the Cubs plan to get there.