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Theo Epstein first Cubs move- fire the manager

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In one of his first signature moves as Cubs president, Theo Epstein flew to Florida on Wednesday and fired manager Mike Quade. The search for Quade’s replacement begins immediately.

Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer met with Quade for almost seven hours last week, gathering information on a 91-loss season. Epstein spoke with Quade over the phone again after Tuesday’s press conference to introduce the new inner circle at Clark and Addison.

“When I joined the Cubs last week,” Epstein said in a statement, “I knew that Mike had a reputation as an outstanding baseball guy, as a tireless worker, and as a first-rate human being. After spending some time with him this past week, it became apparent to me that Mike’s reputation is well deserved. His passion, knowledge of the game, commitment, and integrity stood out immediately.

“While Mike is clearly an asset to any organization and any major-league staff, Jed and I believe that the Cubs would benefit long-term from bringing in a manager for 2012 who can come in with a clean slate and offer new direction.”

In outlining the general qualities he’s looking for in a manager – communication skills, integrity, an open mind – Epstein listed a very specific requirement that seemed to eliminate Ryne Sandberg.

“He must have managerial or coaching experience at the major-league level,” Epstein said.

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