Even though the Cubs lost Sunday's season finale, 4-0 at Houston, Quade revived a dead-in-the-water Cubs team and guided them to a record of 24-13 after he took over from Lou Piniella on Aug. 23.
Quade did nothing to play himself out of contention to keep the job beyond this year, and he likes his chances.
"I think I said (Saturday) maybe the most important thing for me was I feel good because in spite of believing you could do this and in spite of training to do this and everything else, guess what? Now I got to do it," he said. "I've been comfortable doing it. It's exactly what I thought it would be. I've had fun doing it. It's a challenge."
General Manager Jim Hendry, set to hire his third different manager this off-season, praised Quade but did not tip his hand. Over the weekend, Hendry interviewed former Diamondbacks and Mariners skipper Bob Melvin. Others to have interviewed are Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and former Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. Hendry said there is no timetable for a final decision.
"It's been an extremely well-run club," Hendry said. "We've won a lot of games. From Day 1, I said that wasn't going to be a requirement for Mike to be a contender in the end, but it's sure been nice. He's mixed and matched the veterans and the young people well. He's done a fine job, he really has."
--Rookie SS Starlin Castro did not play Sunday after going 2-for-3 Saturday to raise his batting average to .300.
"I looked at it (Saturday)," Quade said. "I said, 'You know what, this kid's going to play, and he's going to have to perform today to get to .300.' He was feeling the pressure. I absolutely loved watching him, loved watching him perform."
Castro is the first Cubs rookie to hit at least .300 since Bill Madlock hit .313 in 1974.
--Carlos Zambrano went 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts since returning to the rotation in early August. He has said he will not waive his no-trade clause, and Hendry said he's not looking to trade Zambrano.
"I've never assumed that he really wanted to go," Hendry said. "He earned the contract he got and I've always assumed he'd be pitching for the Cubs, and I'm glad he's obviously righted the ship and had a really good ending."
--Ryan Dempster tied his career high with his 34th start Sunday. He fell one strikeout shy of tying his career best (209), set in 2000 with Florida.
"I wanted to win the game," Dempster said. "I just got outpitched. It would have been nice to go out on a winning note the last game of the year, but at the same time, it doesn't take away from how well down the stretch. It was a lot of fun here the last six weeks."
--Sean Marshall appeared in his 80th game of the season. It was the eighth time a Cubs reliever has reached 80 appearances in a season. The Cubs bullpen finished the season without having allowed a run in 28 consecutive innings.
--Aramis Ramirez finished the season with a .241 batting average to go along with 25 homers and 83 RBI. Injuries limited Ramirez to 124 games. He reiterated he would not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, ensuring his return to the Cubs next year.
"I've just got to stay healthy," he said. "I hit 25 homers and 83 RBI in (465) at-bats. If I play the games that I'm supposed to play, I should be OK."
BY THE NUMBERS: 96 -- Despite their 75-87 record, the Cubs got 96 quality starts from their pitchers. The team's record was 58-38 in those games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm here to tell you I'm not changing. The way you approach a full year and everything else, some of that will change, but I will not change." -- Quade on how he might be "marketed" if he gets the managing job beyond 2010.