Cubs near end of search for new manager

It appears the Chicago Cubs are getting closer to a conclusion in the hiring of their next manager.

All indications are Mike Quade is the leading candidate to be named the Cubs’ next dugout boss.

Former Cleveland manager Eric Wedge is about to become the new Seattle manager, according to a report from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Therefore, the competition has been cut to three men, with Quade, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and Bob Melvin the only remaining candidates on Jim Hendry’s list.

According to a major-league source, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has met with Quade and Sandberg, but as of Friday had not had any interview with Melvin.

The naming of the Cubs new manager could come as early as next week, according to a major-league source. Major League Baseball does not allow teams to make major announcements during the World Series, which is set to start on October 27.

Although Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been rumored to be interested in the Cubs’ job, there has not been any contact between Girardi and the team. A major-league source told ESPNChicago.com that the Yankees are prepared to offer Girardi a three-year contract after the playoffs conclude for New York.

Quade has been enjoying his time in Florida, where he lives in the offseason, fishing and following through on some personal commitments.

Sandberg and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora have been linked to a very bizarre Toronto Blue Jays’ manager search. According to the Toronto Sun, Sandberg and Cora are among six candidates that will get some form of interview in the near future. The Sun reported that 14 prospective candidates have already had phone interviews.

Late last week, MSNBC reported that Quade would be hired as the Cubs’ new manager and that Sandberg would become his bench coach. A Cubs source said that that scenario had never been discussed, to the best of his knowledge.