Cubs manager Mike Quade is in over his head

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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.

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.

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.

The obvious move was to pull him then, but Quade left him in.  Alex Rios singled before Gordon Beckham grounded to third for the first out of the frame.  After that, pinch-hitter Adam Dunn walked and Juan Pierre delivered a two-run triple, giving the White Sox a 6-4 lead that would stand up for the rest of the game.

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.  They’re getting solid production out of every spot in the lineup, and while the bottom of the rotation has been a disaster, the top three guys have been just fine the last two months.

Quade is getting outmanaged at practically every opportunity, and it’s time for him to go.  I’m not sure bench coach Pat Listach is any better of a choice to step in — he’s the one in Quade’s ear when the tactical choices are being made — but he would be the likely choice to take over on an interim basis.  The Cubs need to wipe the slate clean anyway, and when GM Jim Hendry is fired — something that needs to happen this winter whether Quade is retained or not — it’d be for the best if the new general manager gets to pick the manager of his choice.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.