Sandberg has managed five seasons in the Minor Leagues, including four in the Cubs organization, but he does not have Major League experience. Epstein called Sandberg about 10 minutes after the Cubs issued the release about Quade.
"He didn't owe me that at all," Sandberg told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. "He didn't have to do that. It was a classy move, and I'm very appreciative of the phone call. In the end, I wished him and everybody there good luck."
Epstein did interview Sandberg prior to the 2011 season about managing in the Red Sox system, but the former Cubs second baseman took over the Phillies' Triple-A team and led it to the International League playoffs.
"Cubs fans should have trust in Theo," Sandberg said. "They're in great hands with him and Jed [Hoyer] and Jason [McLeod]. They're heading in the right direction, and they're going to do everything in their power possible to get the Cubs where they ultimately want to be."
Before Epstein left the Red Sox to join the Cubs, he and Ben Cherington compiled a list of managers to consider as replacements for Terry Francona. Now, Epstein and Cherington, the Red Sox general manager, are most likely working off similar lists.
Among the names being mentioned are Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Red Sox bench coach and Chicago native DeMarlo Hale and Milwaukee hitting coach Dale Sveum.
Sveum, who was the Red Sox bench coach in 2004-05, interviewed in Boston on Wednesday. Sveum, who turns 48 on Nov. 23, just completed his third season as the Brewers' hitting coach and sixth season in Milwaukee's organization. On Sept. 15, 2008, he was named the Brewers' interim manager, replacing Ned Yost, after the team got off to a 3-11 start in the month. Milwaukee finished 7-5 and made the playoffs.
Epstein and general manager Hoyer met with Quade last Thursday for nearly seven hours to discuss the 2011 season, which was Quade's first full year at the helm.
He replaced Lou Piniella on Aug. 23, 2010, and the Cubs went 24-13 for the final six weeks. But Quade, 54, was unable to get the same results this season as the team finished 71-91, 25 games behind the Brewers and in fifth place in the National League Central.
"I wish him well," Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd said Wednesday. "He's a great baseball man, and I know he has a lot of teaching the game left in him."
This season, Starlin Castro was one of the few highlights, leading the National League in hits. But he also committed 29 errors, contributing to the Cubs' last-place ranking in the NL in fielding. The Cubs lost Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells after their first starts because of injuries and finished 14th in the NL in ERA.
Quade seemed to lose support from some players. He and pitcher Ryan Dempster argued in the dugout in Pittsburgh, and Quade had run-ins with Carlos Zambrano.
"It hasn't been what we hoped for, but I'm not disappointed in the way I handled things and the way I went about my business," Quade said on the last day of the regular season. "Good seasons, bad seasons, you go home and evaluate and you're always trying to get better. I still feel pretty good about this job and doing what I do. If somebody else has a different thought when they come in here, they'll make that decision."
In his statement, Epstein said Quade lived up to his reputation as an outstanding baseball guy and tireless worker.
"His passion, knowledge of the game, commitment and integrity stood out immediately," Epstein said. "While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any Major League staff, Jed and I believe that the Cubs would benefit long term from bringing in a manager for 2012 who can come in with a clean slate and offer new direction."
Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bench coach Pat Listach and bullpen coach Lester Strode all have contracts for next season.