Is Mike Quade in over his head?

I’ve argued with Mercurial Outfielder on here that there’s no reason to think Mike Quade is in over his head. Hardball Talk now has an article up titled Cubs manager Mike Quade is in over his head. Here’s why.

At least he sort of admitted after the Cubs’ latest loss Friday.

“This one is on me,” Mike Quade said after trying to get Randy Wells through the seventh inning in the game against the White Sox.

Because the manager took the blame for a loss, he’s in over his head? That must mean that Lou Piniella is. So is Dusty Baker. So is Tony LaRussa. So is Terry Francona. So is every other manager who has managed a professional baseball game. They have all, at one point or another, taken the blame for a loss because at one point or another, they are going to feel responsible for the loss. Managers generally aren’t shy about placing blame on themselves. In fact, it’s actually part of their job. We want the manager to shield the players so in doing so the manager covers for his players often excusing the play or simply taking the blame. If all you got is that Quade said this loss was on him, you got nothing.

In Quade’s defense, Wells was cruising up until that point.  After a two-run first, he retired 11 in a row at one point.  That stretch was only broken by a Brent Morel bunt single to begin the sixth.  After the single, Wells got Carlos Quentin to ground into a double play and Paul Konerko to ground out.  The entire inning consisted of just three pitches, and that followed a fifth in which he threw all of five pitches.

So he’s cruising along, throwing very few pitches in these innings, Mike Quade is in over his head.

Wells, though, didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt once thngs started unraveling in the seventh.  The right-hander, who was 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in six starts since coming off the DL, gave up a single to A.J. Pierzynski and then an Alexei Ramirez homer that tied the game at 4.

True, he’s gotten off to a horrible start, but instead of quoting small samples, how about we look at everything RAndy Wells has done. He has a career 4.02 FIP. He’s a good pitcher who was rolling along. Should Quade have taken him out? Probably, but he’s far from the only manager who doesn’t take his starters out soon enough. See any non-elite starter who faces the lineup the 4th time around. Well, not every time. Some of them are meaningless blowout innings so why not, but most of the time the game is not in that state.

This is the way things have gone for Quade all year.  Not that any manager would have the Cubs playing better than .500 ball, but even with their injuries, they’re better than a 34-49 team.

False. When the Cubs were 32-46, they’d have been expected to go 32-46 if healthy.

What exaclty is it that a manager has to be able to to do for him to not be in over his head? There have been some unbelievably stupid human beings who have managed baseball teams. It’s not a difficult job. Let’s forget about this. Managing a baseball team is as simple a job as there is. It’s the fucking equivalent of being a McDonald’s line cook. The hardest thing they do in each shift is fight to get through the rush. The hardest thing a manager does in his shift is manage a bunch of overpaid athletes in a way to ensure that their egos don’t interfere with what he wants. The rest of the shit is easy. If Joe Blow can sit at home and watch a game and know what should happen, don’t you think a manager knows? It’s not rocket science.

It’s putting together a lineup, talking to your bench coach, pitching and hitting coaches on occasion, telling overpaid athlete number 1 to shut up when he gets out of line, give someone a pat on the back who just sucked because confidence in this game is important, taking the ball out of an adult’s hand and handing it to someone else a few times each game and deciding when to pinch hit, hit and run, put on a stolen base for the players who don’t already have a green light, and then shaking hands with your team if they won the game. That’s it. That’s a manager’s job in MLB. On occasion they get mad and look foolish on tv as they argue with another adult just an inch apart. I imagine not having smelly breath would be a bonus in that situation so add regular teeth brushing and visits to the dentist to the list of what a manager has to do. He’s either got to sit on his ass or stand on the ledge a long time. Putting on some sun screen lotion when it’s really hot is probably a good idea so investing in some of that is important.

Mike Quade has been around this game a long time. He makes some mistakes as all managers do. He has some tendencies I’d prefer he not have, but that’s also true with all managers. One thing I know for sure though is that Mike Quade is more than qualified to write a lineup and hand baseballs to adults because that’s basically his job. That and sitting in the dugout for long stretches. It is not hard work. Any person who has ever played professional baseball would not be in over his head as a manager. While this game is complex, it’s not that difficult to grasp.

Besides, how the hell do we measure in-over-his-headness? I’ve only seen Quade manage for half a season, but I’d bet a thousand dollars that he’s not even the worst MLB manager in baseball.


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