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The Cubs hire Mike Quade. There goes Joe Girardi's leverage.

So much for that drama after the Yankees' season ends, whenever that is.

Yup, the Cubs announced today that they will retain Mike Quade, who obviously impressed team brass with his interim stint after Lou Piniella began his retirement earlier than scheduled. And that means that Girardi, barring some stunning development, will absolutely return to the Yankees for 2011 and beyond, no matter what occurs for the duration of this postseason.

While I have absolutely zero proof, it would be far from outrageous to wonder whether the Cubs and Girardi engaged in back-channel, third-party communication that led the Cubs to their decision. That would pretty much be standard operating procedure in the industry. 

Remember that Cubs GM Jim Hendry passed on hiring Girardi four years ago, going with Piniella instead, and that commissioner Bud Selig is stressing to his owners to control costs on managers. The Cubs simply weren't going to blow the Yankees out of the water for Girardi's services.

And the Yankees want Girardi back, and all indications are that Girardi wants to be back, no matter how miserable he might look at times. Now it should be a relatively easy process to re-up.

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