For those pining for Joe Girardi, his contract is until October 31st so the Cubs will have to seek permission from the Yankees before then. For those pining for Ron Gardenhire, he will be retained by the Minnesota Twins.
I've not been on the bandwagon to fire Dale Sveum, but that is not to say I have been a huge fan either. I've had my own reservations, particularly when it comes to development. My question was how much of that could be put on Dale Sveum. Apparently the Cubs decided that he was indeed primarily responsible. I tried to take an even-keeled approach here.
What I can say is this: I really do hope the Cubs fired Dale Sveum because he didn't perform up to their standards and wasn't the right fit going forward. There really is no other reason to fire a manager. As noted above, there are no certainties as far as candidates at this point. Gardenhire (of whom I'm not a big fan anyway) is out and Girardi is under contract. What's more, he recently purchased a new mansion in New York. That doesn't sound like a manager eager to leave. They may well like Girardi and perhaps they've gotten some info that he'd be willing to leave via some back channels, but I don't like the idea of firing someone to count on an unknown.
And though nobody would ever admit it, my fear is that if Sveum was indeed fired because the Cubs had eyes for Girardi and not because of performance, then it makes me wonder if Tom Ricketts was involved. After all, I don't think the Girardi information was leaked by Epstein or Hoyer. And if not by them, then by whom?
So, for me, this isn't (and has never been) about wanting to keep Sveum or not wanting Joe Girardi. It's not that black and white. I just want to know that the Cubs did this for the right reasons.
I don't want to believe that the Cubs did this because...
- They believe Girardi is some sort of savior.
- They are trying to appease the fan base.
- They are throwing us a bone by hiring a new manager but not doing much to fix the team.
- It's in any way a political move with all the renovation issues.
Please just tell me this was strictly a decision made by Theo and Jed based on Sveum's performance, or rather the lack thereof. I'd rather they admit this was a mistake in judgment and that they are seeking to correct it rather than compounding it.
And if Girardi is ultimately the choice, then I want it to be because he is the best man for the job, not because he is a celebrity manager or a fan favorite. And most of all, I hope that if he's hired, it's because he is the choice of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
Theo Epstein's statement gives me much encouragement that it was indeed their decision and that it did have to do with player development,
Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level. The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game, and a clear path forward. In order for us to win with this group – and win consistently – we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level. We must have clear and cohesive communication with our players about the most important parts of the game. And – even while the organization takes a patient, long view – we must somehow establish and maintain a galvanized, winning culture around the major league club.
I believe a dynamic new voice – and the energy, creativity and freshness that comes with this type of change – provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek. We will begin our search immediately – a process which will be completed before the GM meetings in early November and perhaps much sooner. There are no absolute criteria, but we will prioritize managerial or other on-field leadership experience and we will prioritize expertise developing young talent. We have not yet contacted any candidates or asked permission to speak with any candidates, but that process will begin tomorrow morning.
To me, concerns about development (and also communication, which is intertwined) would be the right reason(s) to fire Dale Sveum and now they need to seek out the guy who will be the best leader and teacher for the young talent that is about to arrive. If they eventually decide that's Joe Girardi, great. Then I have no qualms with that. That would be the right reason to make this move.
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