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.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.