In a development surprising only for its timing--because basically any timing would have been surprising--interim Cubs manager Mike Quade is formally being announced as the new manager today, with a two-year contract.
It's probably the right move and the right length of contract for a guy who guided the young Cubs of the latter part of the 2010 season to a 24-13 record. He probably will be working with pretty much the same group next season, and there was no reason to hire a World Series winner like Joe Girardi if the Cubs aren't planning to add much next year.
It seemed like maybe the Cubs were going to wait for Girardi, which would have very publicly made Quade or Ryne Sandberg second choice if Girardi had turned down the job. Of course, the most obvious choice prior to Quade's late-season tryout was Sandberg, and if Quade hadn't done well it would still be Sandberg.
I'm wondering if the timing has something to do with Sandberg turning down a behind-closed-doors offer to be one of Quade's coaches. The Cubs may now have to watch Sandberg take a manager job elsewhere, and if Quade stumbles early, fans surely will be calling for his head--and GM Jim Hendry's--and demanding explanations for why Sandberg wasn't hired as manager. Had Quade never been given the chance by Hendry, most fans probably would be behind Sandberg as top choice, but Quade's success leaves them conflicted, and, as always, hopeful.