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.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.