Theo Epstein to meet with Mike Quade

CHICAGO -- New Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Tuesday he plans to meet in person with manager Mike Quade, whose future appears uncertain after a disappointing 2011 season resulted in a front-office shakeup.

"I've already had a couple of nice phone conversations with Mike Quade," Epstein said during his introductory news conference Tuesday at Wrigley Field. "We have plans to meet in person sometime over the next week.

"Mike seems like a great guy and he has developed a great reputation over many decades in this game. I look forward to sitting down with him in person as a first step, sharing with him my vision for the organization. I'd like to hear his vision for the organization."

The Cubs finished 71-91 in a season filled with injuries and controversy.

Carlos Zambrano left Atlanta's Turner Field during a game in August and said he was going to retire, which he quickly recanted. Zambrano was put on the disqualified list and later activated after a grievance was filed. His future with the Cubs also is uncertain, despite having a year and $18 million left on his contract.

Zambrano also made headlines in June when he called out closer Carlos Marmol, who wound up leading the league in blown saves, and said the Cubs stink and were a "Triple-A team."

Ryan Dempster engaged Quade in an animated dugout confrontation over being pulled from a game in Pittsburgh too quickly. Dempster holds a player option for $14 million and has expressed a desire to return to the team.

• All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro was ripped by ESPN color analyst Bobby Valentine for having his back to the plate during a pitch and not paying attention during a game at Wrigley Field. Quade said after the game he didn't see it but would look into the situation.

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who led the team in RBIs, declared he would opt out of his contract and test the free-agent market. Ramirez said he wanted to return to the Cubs, but he didn't want to be part of a rebuilding process.

"We have to talk up some things that have happened the last year or so," Epstein said. "I look forward to that process of exchanging information, sharing our visions and we'll get together as a group and decide where we go from there."

Quade replaced the retired Lou Piniella at the end of the 2010 season on an interim basis, and the Cubs' strong finish helped earn him full-time status this season.

But the disappointing season, which began with two pitchers going down with injuries in April, cost general manager Jim Hendry his job in July.

During an Oct. 12 interview on MLB Network Radio, Quade said he was out of the loop during the search to replace Hendry.

"I really did vanish for a week and then I've got 80 million texts and phone calls from people to get back to," Quade said at the time.

Quade, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bullpen coach Lester Strode and bench coach Pat Listach are under contract for next season, but Bob Dernier and Ivan DeJesus are not. Quade told all of his coaches that they were free to listen to any outside offers.

ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine contributed to this report.