The number one question brought to the Chicago Cubs over the past few days is whether or not manager Dale Sveum will be retained and come back for the final year of his contract. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein did not say if Sveum will be back or if he will be let go. Epstein just said we are in our evaluation process and we will determine which direction the organization will go. Epstein did not give any boat of confidence to keeping Sveum and let his wording open to a lot of questions. The Cubs are about to finish back-to-back 90+ game losing seasons.
The Cubs signed Sveum back in 2012 to a 3-year contract to replace recently fired manager Mike Quade. The finalists were down to Sveum and Mike Maddux. But Maddux ultimately dropped out to keep his position with the Texas Rangers and that opened the door for Sveum. Sveum had a connection with both Epstein and Jed Hoyer with their time in Boston together. Sveum came over from the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He manly was a coach in the minors, but became interim when Ned Yost was wired. However, after the season the Brewers did not keep Sveum and gave the managerial job to Ken Macha. Sveum stayed on the roster as the hitting coach and when the job offer from the Cubs came open in 2013, he interviewed for the job and was later hired.
Going into the hiring process of finding a manager the Cubs knew they wouldn’t be good for the next few years and had the mindset of finding a cheap temporary manager that may be good with player developmental and fundamentals. Sveum has done good with fundamentals as he brought the bunt tournament to spring training as the Cubs have been a bad bunting team for years and he worked on defense more than anything. Soriano turned into a pretty good LF and lost the hop. Now teams can keep him in for the rest of the game and not take him out for being a defense liability. Also, Sveum was Castro’s number 1 priority to be a better shortstop in the field and Castro has looked a lot better. Getting the ball out of his glove a lot faster and not making many errors. He still has the mental lapses in the field, but it seems like he’ll have that every once in a while and the Cubs just have to limit them.
Sveum’s second year has been everything but good. The Cubs core players of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro has progressed badly and many blame Sveum. In Castro’s case, the Cubs wanted him to walk more and that’s not his game. Epstein came out recently saying “we are done tinkering with Castro.” I’m not sure why Rizzo has struggled, but I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on his self. Rizzo just can’t hit with runners in scoring position this year. Sveum is also being blamed for Darwin Barney’s regression and Jeff Samardzija’s poor 2nd half.
The Cubs top prospects are closer to the majors and many in the organization do not want Sveum to be in charged of player development when players do start to come up from the minors. The Cubs lost complete faith in Sveum this year and will look elsewhere for a manager. The Cubs brought Sveum in for player development and it has not gone to plan.
After the 2013 season concludes the Cubs will make a play for Joe Girardi. As of right now, the New York Yankees will not make the playoffs and the Cubs may be able to talk to him sooner. If the Yankees do make the playoffs, the Cubs will have to wait to talk to him until their season comes to an end. Girardi’s contract runs out at the end of the season. There’s is mutual interest between the Cubs and Girardi. Girardi always wanted to become the Cubs manager and his heart is with the Cubs. And it may be time for a reunion.
The Cubs like Girardi and how he is with player development. Girardi has done a great job with the Yankees, but there’s no point to look at his win/loss record and their playoff appearances. Girardi came into a loaded team and a team with the highest payroll. Don’t get me wrong, Girardi is a good manager.
Girardi will cost money, but if you want to win and look toward the future, the time is right the spend money on a big-time manager. Next year won’t be a good year for the Cubs and may look bad upon Girardi, but the Cubs are not worry about next year and 2015 at the earliest. Girardi will come in and try to help with the young players to start off and then when the comes have the players on the field, look for a World Series title.
If you asked me about a month ago, I would have said there’s no way Sveum would get fired and would have finished out his final year of his contract. Then just not re-new his contract. But from the way Epstein worded his media conferences and reports coming out saying the Cubs are not happy with Sveum, I changed my mind completely.
This is how I see it … if the Cubs can get Girardi, Sveum is obvious gone. But if the Cubs somehow can’t get Girardi, Sveum will be back for his final year of his contract. If the Cubs really want Girardi and a new guy in charged of the players, he will be the manager next year. I’m leaning toward 60-40 of Sveum being fired and Girardi the next manager.
The million dollar question: Should Dale Sveum stay or should he go?