Cubs fire Mike Quade, already ruling out Ryne Sandberg?

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Mike Quade is out as Cubs manager after meeting last week with new team president Theo Epstein to essentially interview for his own job.

Epstein called it “a productive conversation” and Quade is under contract for $980,000 in 2012, but not surprisingly the new regime wants to bring in their own guy.

Ryne Sandberg’s name will no doubt be linked to the job, but in making the Quade announcement Epstein said that the Cubs’ next manager “must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.” That seemingly rules out Sandberg, who’s struggled to land a prominent spot on a big-league coaching staff, let alone a managerial gig.

Quade took over as interim manager in late 2010 after Lou Piniella stepped down and worked his way into the full-time job thanks to the Cubs going 24-13 down the stretch. None of that same magic was present this season, as the Cubs finished 71-91.

UPDATE: Sandberg might have to settle for the Cardinals job, which would be … interesting.

Report: Yankees J.A. Happ, closing in on a three-year deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal is now walking the report back a bit, saying that indications that the Yankees and Happ are close to a deal but that it is not yet done.

10:29 AM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and J.A. Happ have come to terms on a three-year deal. The agreement is pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known.

Happ just turned 36, but he has been effective enough to warrant a three-year commitment. The Yankees know this as well as anyone, having acquired him last year and watched him post a 7-0 record and a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts in New York. For the entire season he was 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 193/51 in 177.2 innings between the Yankees and the Blue Jays.

With Happ back in the fold, the Yankees rotation now consists of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, not necessarily in that order. A good group, assuming it stays healthy.