Last September Mike Quade was praised for playing his younger guys on a daily basis. The notion that the interim manager was thinking ahead for next season, instead of solely playing for wins, was significant in landing him the full-time job as Cubs manager.
However, that approach appears to have changed this September with the lack of consistent playing time given to younger guys like Tyler Colvin and Bryan LaHair, who were again absent from the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game vs. Cincinnati.
With the Cubs in a similar, if not worse, position than one season ago, why waste the opportunity to further develop prospects in favor of sticking with veteran players down the stretch?
The rub, I believe, is Quade knows he needs every win he can get to save his job–if that’s even possible given the departure of Jim Hendry.
But since Quade’s still here, it makes sense he would want to leverage his case with a few more September wins in addition to the Cubs’ (23-19) record since July 31–tied for fifth best in the NL.
With 13 games remaining, the Cubs need at least eight victories to avoid the always dreaded 90-loss season, which equals almost certain death for any big league manager, including Quade.
A fourth place finish in the standings is also within reach given the Cubs trail Pittsburgh by a mere two games. And a fourth place finish of 80-plus losses is far more comforting to a manager on the hot-seat than a fifth place finish with 90-plus defeats.
Of course, none of that is of particular interest to Cubs fans considering Chicago has played well below expectations all season–no matter how you slice it.
Then again, we’re not the one managing from the hot-seat, where wins speaks louder than rebuilding.