The Cubs ended months of speculation and debate today, naming Mike Quade the 51st manager in team history. Quade, who the Cubs never did call the “interim” manager, was given a two year contract (with a club option for 2013). The contract is in part a reward for his 24-13 record down the stretch this season, which impressed a lot of people who previously had thought of Quade as a joke.

I was one of those people, back when Quade was named Lou Piniella’s replacement I was not happy. Quade was a no name, minor league manager, who wouldn’t garner the respect of a veteran team. Instead Quade was able to win some games (not that it matters), and was able to get the veteran players to work with him.

Quade got the support of most of his veteran players, including Ryan Dempster and Marlon Byrd, which helped his case as well. He was able to get better results out of a young bullpen, no doubt at least partially due to his willingness to support them, an approach that Lou Piniella could never get behind.

The Quade hire represents a new direction for the Cubs, one that will emphasize developing young talent over the signing of high priced free agents. Quade spent 18 years working with young players in the minor leagues, often with great results.

More later, including a thought or two on Ryne Sandberg. For now, it looks like the Cubs made the right move for this team.

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