CHICAGO -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was in Arizona on Tuesday to interview Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg for the team's managerial job next year. However, Mike Quade is making a strong case to keep the job.
The Cubs entered Tuesday's series against the National League West-leading Giants with a 12-4 record in September. It's a baseball cliche that it's tough to evaluate players in the final month because of all the callups. Is that true for the team, too?
"I'm an optimist," Quade said Tuesday. "You see this club play well here at the end and if they continue to play well and they play this thing out in the next two weeks in good fashion, I'd go home and whoever gets the job next year should be excited about this job. That's the way I feel. It has no bearing on what happens this winter with Jim and what moves he makes. A lot of guys have finished up well."
Sandberg wrapped up his fourth year as a Minor League manager. He guided Triple-A Iowa to an 82-62 record and won Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors.
Hendry was in Arizona to formally interview Sandberg, who has made it clear he wants the job.
Since Quade took over on Aug. 23 for Lou Piniella, the Cubs have gone 17-7. That's pretty impressive.
"Coming into the situation, it couldn't be much better than this last road trip," Quade said of an 8-1 trip to Milwaukee, St. Louis and Florida. "Having said that, I didn't make one pitch, I didn't swing the bat, I didn't play defense so the credit goes to the [guys in the] clubhouse.
"I think they're having fun and they're playing the last six weeks on a club that hasn't had a very good year," Quade said. "We've talked about the process and things I've asked for them, but more than anything we wanted to make the last six weeks matter and not just play out the string, so to speak, and to their credit, they have."
Does he think this squad can contend in 2011?
"Maybe it sounds crazy, but, yeah, I think so," he said.