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The Cubs fire Dale Sveum: My thoughts and Theo Epstein's statement.

The Cubs fire Dale Sveum:  My thoughts and Theo Epstein's statement.

Per Twitter, both Ken Rosenthal and David Kaplan, who have been very accurate with their reporting, Dale Sveum has been fired.

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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  • Is someone pining for Gardenhire?

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Gardenhire wouldn't be a bad pickup. He's not amazing, but he has an NL style of managing, and would in all likelihood have been invigorated by coming to a new team. Though, I don't see the Cubs and Twins as being on terribly different timelines to compete, so I'm not surprised he stays up in St. Paul.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Gardy would be a mistake. I am relieved he is staying in Minneapolis, although lots of Twins fans are not.
    Gardy does a lot of head-scratching moves with his roster and lineups, and seems to me to have lost his sharp managing edge in the recent poor seasons. He has become very predictable in his in-game moves. He also hasn't been affiliated with a National League team for close to 20 years.
    The Cubs can do better than Gardy, although I wish him all success with the Twins and their prospects.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Some are, yes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am shocked, after an extensive hiring process they fire him in 2 short years. It smells like Ricketts wants Girardi, which I am ok with.I never thought Dale was the guy to take this team any further,lots of egg on Theo's face for this. I hope they find another spot for Dale, especially after they snagged him away from Boston, what the Hell?

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Certainly not me.He's competent, but not someone I'd pick for the long haul. Sandy Alomar Jr. is an intriguing candidate based on the latin connection of players due to arrive. Baez,Soler and Almora come to mind, but Sandy lacks the management pedigree deemed essential now by the brass. Theo's butt will be hanging out on the next hire.

  • This just doesn't sound like our front office. This smells like Ricketts.

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    In reply to CoolerbytheLake:

    What do you mean? You think Theo thought Dale was doing an okay job w what he had? He got as much out of the team and the players continued to evolve as his tenure went on?

  • How about Mike Maddox, didn't they love him?

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    Jorge Soler for Joe Maddon?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm surprisingly unopposed to that trade. Not sure the Rays make it, though. Maddon and Friedman work too well together.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I hope that's sarcasm.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Wow, really?

    Maddon's awesome, but there isn't a manager alive or dead that I would give up a top prospect like Soler for.

    I just don't think the position is all that important, to be honest. As long as the guy you hire isn't just awful.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    It was a reference to the Theo compensation talks, guys.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Nah, Soler can't manage worth a hoot. Rays would never go for it. ;}

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes...

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Soler, Castro, Vogelbomb, Grimm, Vitters, plus some smaller pieces for Maddon and Price .

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    If not Joey G, I like what Brad Ausmus brings to the table.

  • In reply to NaughtyJohnny:

    Count me in as well, I have heard nothing but good things about Ausmus

  • Don't like it. The only thing I can figure is that they don't like how Sveum handled the young talent. He could not possibly have been expected to win with the roster that has been handed to him.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    Eddie- you're correct

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    In reply to Eddie:

    I don't either. Why not at the very least let Svuem continue for the remainder of his contract? Statistically, a manager controls the outcome of 3-4 games in a 162 game season. You'd think that baseball ops people like Theo and Jed would understand this.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    What makes you think they don't understand this? This decison is not about 3-4 games, it's about 4-5-6-years.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    So, if that's the case? Then under the experimentation philosophy that this team is currently using, what's the harm in keeping Svuem until his contract ends?

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    The harm is that under Dale's leadership, the young players are not developing the way they need to. Pretty important if you want to follow a plan to win.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    That's my take. After the years Rizzo and Castro put up, I want him nowhere near Kris Bryant.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    So, when are those young players coming up? By my watch, mostly after 2015. Whose to say that Theo and Jed didn't have a hand in the vaunted "Castro experiment"???--not me!

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    This is pointless. Sveum is gone. Point all the fingers you want at phantoms, but there will be a new manager and the FO will choose him.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Three or 4 games seems like a good enough reason for me. Usually enough to be the difference

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yes, currently three or four games is the difference between the #4 pick and the #10 pick.
    I think the FO wants to have the #30 pick.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    3-4 games on an actual, functioning team, maybe not a re-building one. I'd have reservations that this was an ownership thing, but Theo's speech seems spot-on: we need better communication to help these players grow (ie. the same message/instruction coming up and down the line). Also the Shamus news has me interested to move on (and not to a celebrity).

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Shamus = Ausmus. Stupid phone doesn't know baseball.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Haha;)

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    In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Ausmus has me intrigued. But odd replacement in this situation. If you wanted him and they go and get him, why not hire him in the first place? Second point I'll make to your comment--so, even on an "actual, functioning team", the effect of a manager in the end result is minimal. They were experimenting with Svuem as manager just like they're experimenting with players on the field to determine who they think might end up as a part of the core when it's all said and done. Keeping Svuem to the end of his contract doesn't really change much to that end, regardless of what Theo says.

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    At least they didn't leave Dale in the OHare parking lot like Lame Kiffen at LAX.

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    The one thing doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the other. No one should be shocked by them firing Sveum. They obviously came to the conclusion that he was a detriment to the overhaul effort, but to assume that they fired Sveum just so they could hire Girardi is nonsense. Girardi will or will not be interviewed and potentially hired for his own merits. Sveum may be a bad apple that had to go, but Girardi is an orange, and the two have nothing to do with one another.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You know that how?

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Namely, because that isn't how this FO operates. If this were Star Trek, Theo and Jed would be Vulcans. Girardi may, in fact, end up being the guy, but Sveum wasn't moved out of the way just for that reason, and if he was, that is disconcerting because it would indicate that ownership has decided to meddle in baseball operations.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If Theo and Jed are Vulcans, do they interview guys by holding their elongated GM fingers over the brainy part of the humanoid skull and mind-reading the managerial content?
    /raises one eyebrow..."Interesting, Captain"/

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    LOL

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If one is dumped by his girlfriend, is it better if she just didn't like you or that she met someone she likes better and makes her a better person?

  • I'll wait and see who the replacement is before I form an opinion here. If they can bring in someone like Girardi or Scoscia, I'm all for it. Ausmus would give me "wait and see at the end of '14", though I do like him quite a bit, and have felt he'd be a good manager for a decade or so now. I'd just hate to see this being a move just to tread water, with the Cubs replacing Sveum with someone that just winds up doing the same as Dale did.

    IMO, Rowson's gone for sure, though. I think Bosio gets a chance to stick around, and that they'd be insane to let any new manager fire McKay.

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I agree with Jim, I hope they keep Bosio and McKay.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Totally agree.

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I am not sure the Cubs would be interested in Scoscia as he is adverse to playing younger players so I don't think his philosophy will mesh with the FO. Then again, a job is a job and I suppose if you have nothing but young players you have to play them.

    I agree with John, Girardi seems like a long shot but who knows, I thought they would keep Dale.

    I still think Jason Varitek is a guy to watch and if they want an experienced manager (jeez who would actually want this job?) I honestly have no clue who would be on their radar. Maybe they can coax Tony LaRussa out of retirement.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Who would want one of the only 30 MLB manager jobs in the world? LOL, besides everyone in baseball, that is? :) Sorry, had to rib you on that.

    I think an experienced manager makes a lot more sense than a first time guy. If Theo really wants the proper big league environment as his statement says then it has to be an experienced guy to know how he handles things. Mike Maddux is a great baseball guy but an unknown as far as manager. The risk of hiring a guy with no experience is what we just saw, two years from now you might not like how he does parts of the job. Someone with a track record has a history to look over, to interview others about, etc. Whether that is Girardi or Scioscia or whomever, I don't care, doesn't have to have Cubs ties, I just want the right guy.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I think it will be a very attractive job when all the variables are considered. This should be a very dynamic offseason.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't get the sentiment that this would be a tough job to sell someone on. It may not be an ideal situation yet, but there is a lot of talent on the way, a major market, historic (soon to be renovated) ballpark, and the chance to go down as one of the most memorable managers in history. Really, I can think of only a couple of more marketable jobs in the industry (and Mattingly isn't going anywhere)! I think most people could see past a potentially tough 2014 to be set up to win down the road.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Well, they just let a manager go with one year on his contract after putting that manager in a position to lose over the two years he managed. I tend to take Epstein at his word but certainly some will question the motivation behind the firing and the subsequent hiring. I mean, there are certainly some deficiencies in Sveum's abilities , especially when you take into consideration everything that encapsulates the position. Still, it could be considered somewhat of a d*ck move. Also, who wants to come in here for another two years and watch 88 players shuffle in and out of the MLB roster? There is not a legitimate pitching staff in place, not one worthy of competing in a yearly basis and the offense is atrocious. Also, there were ZERO .300 hitters on that team among regulars. I am as high on the Cubs minor league system as anybody, but there are no guarantees with any of them and they aren't all just going to show up in Arizona next February or the February after that and morph into the '27 Yankees.

    Just playing devil's advocate. The Cubs as a brand don't sell very well right now. There are better openings available: Washington, possibly New York and Detroit.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    And it is important to point out - historically speaking - the Chicago Cubs bench is where managers go to kill their careers. The trend is horribly off-putting. Now I am going to chill with some Yo La Tengo and some Pavement. Getting my 90s Indie Music on..........

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Except Dusty has done ok after he left the Cubs. Didn't "kill his career". And I'm not a Dusty fan at all.
    Piniella just wanted to retire, so the career thing is moot with him.
    The guy who comes in and wins will put a gold star on his career.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Yeah but you are talking about two guys out of how many and no disrespect, but I do not think teams would have been lining up to hire Lou Piniella after his stint with the Cubs, though it is fair to say his late career track record included an ugly tenure at Tampa Bay. In Dusty we trusty - the teflon manager. Nothing sticks to him, steroid allegations, misuse of pitchers, sleeping in the dugout, etc. - though he does give a great press conference.

    As far as the gold star - it's there for the manager that takes any team to a title. And the guy who *leads* the Cubs to that champion will no doubt be deified in ways that would make Mike Ditka blush, but realistically, how much credit does any manager REALLY deserve? Baseball is probably the one sport that relies the least on a head coach.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    "...but realistically, how much credit does any manager REALLY deserve? Baseball is probably the one sport that relies the least on a head coach." That's true, but it doesn't apply any more or less to the Cubs' job, specifically. Also, I don't think you can underestimate the allure of doing what no one else in a hundred plus years could. Ego is a powerful thing, especially when dealing with the world's elite in any profession.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Matt I think you are saying the same thing as me but in different words. In my statement above I pretty much agree with everything you just wrote.

    "As far as the gold star - it's there for the manager that takes any team to a title. And the guy who *leads* the Cubs to that champion will no doubt be deified in ways that would make Mike Ditka blush......"

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    LOL Whose Mike Scoscia going to put in the lineup when Jedstein gives him a roster of all young kids ?? He will have no choice. :P

    I think Mike is a NL type manager anyway so he needs to get out of the LA

  • First decision this FO has made that I just can't stomach. Unless there is something behind the scenes we don't know about, you just don't treat a guy like crap. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit, and Sveum did the best he could with what he had, is a stand up guy and tremendous professional. At this point anyway it looks like they are throwing the guy under the bus and treating him like crap. Not cool- very un-Theo.

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    Theo said in a recent statement that his firing was not a result of W/L, which is true, no one in the FO expected them to compete. However, Castro's regressions had to be involved in the decision making.

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    In reply to NaughtyJohnny:

    Castro, Shark, and Rizzo certainly regressed. So did Barney. How much of that might be Sveum's fault? I don't know. But Sveum said at spring training that he had changed Rizzo's swing to generate more power. I wasn't happy with that, it was one year after the FO had Rizzo change his swing to make more contact. A guy with less than a full year of MLB success. Castro we know was being tinkered with, although I thought that was a front office idea.

    I like Sveum as a person, he did get a bum deal, two bad teams and they traded away some of the better players in season every year. I hope he gets another manager job someday.

    I would prefer an experienced manager for the next hire. Then again, normally people want the opposite of what they had. :)

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    In reply to Just Win:

    No one should be shocked that Barney regressed though.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Why not? Barney is better then a .208ish average.

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    If he was doing the best with what he had, Strop would have been closing out games, not Gregg, who had as many second half walks as he did strikeouts. He also would have pinch-ran for Cee-Lo Green/Kool-Aid Man (Navarro) when he was on base late in a one run game a couple of weeks ago. How did he get the best out of Castro, who in three seasons before Dale had never hit below .297? Doing the best with what he had? Hardly.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I think they were throwing Gregg a bone for saving the bullpen midseason. Gregg had a clause in his contract that gave him more money if he finished a certain number of games. I think that was just respecting a veteran and not screwing him out of money. Its not like there were many opportunities to close out games the last week or two. I honestly don't have any problem with how they handled that. Its not like getting Strop 5 save opportunities in September is goign to make a difference long term. He has been put in save situations before in his career.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    It's crap like that that helped get Quade fired.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Its crap like that which prevents clubhouses from turning on a manager. See how far a second year manager gets with his players if his decisions start costing them money. Especially in a lost season with nothing else to play for.

    You want to complain about a stupid decision by Dale Sveum, try continually hitting Darwin Barney in any spot in the lineup besides 8th.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Sorry mjvz, but I disagree. twice in the last month or so, Gregg had back to back bad outings and no one would have blamed him for inserting Strop in the closer's role at that time. As far as complaining about stupid decisions, i.e. Barney hitting second, etc, we could be here all day.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    It was a godawful team playing out the string and fighting for a good draft spot. If you want to go full conspiracy mode, Theo may have insisted Gregg get the ball in tight situations.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Exactly, in the line of decisions that matter, Gregg pitching the ninth inning is near the bottom. It made what, maybe a two game difference in the standings of a 66 win season? While probably doing no damage to Strop long term (lets not pretend the guy is still a young player, because he isn't).

    If Gregg hadn't have had an awesome run for the team in the middle of the summer, this is probably a 105 loss team. He and Russell were the only two guys that could record an out in the entire bullpen at that time. I think letting the guy get an extra 250,000 dollars as a reward is not bad managing, its being a good human being. And I bet there were a lot of players in that clubhouse that agree.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Also, you wouldn't want Strop to get shelled and then have to sit on that all offseason.

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    Adam, you should remove your emotions and look at the body of work...Dale failed miserably at developing our talent at the MLB level...what I will give him credit for is the much improved defense...other than that, he seemed fairly lost when making "strategic" in game decisions....his use of Russel was akin to Dusty's use of Prior in '03

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    Well if this is the first decision Jedstein has made that has you puzzled. You are a very patient man, and I applaud you for that, but you might want to start getting used it esp if he doesn't get his 1st or 2nd choice at manager

  • I believe this quotation from Theo's statement provides the fundamental basis for the change which confirms the view of many, particularly John, that it's about asset development. Epstein said, "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."

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    So how do we coax LaRussa out of retirement?

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    When I figure that out, I'll give Theo a call.

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    This is from the transcript of Theo that Brett has up. Pretty damning of Sveum:

    [W]e 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.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, they obviously felt he wasn't getting it done because the core was regressing, and that's what did him in.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I updated that as well and it does lend some encouragement. It was basically what I was hoping to hear.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    After Friday, I'm being very careful to source EVERYTHING.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, we said this weeks ago. I never lost faith, nor suspected that it had anything to do with Girardi. Everything this FO does is calculated. The ONLY reason to fire Sveum when we are not likely playoff caliber in 2014 is because they didn't like the way he was developing the "core" at the MLB level.

  • The SCORE says that the press release is out; also Matt Abbattacola says that Girardi's contract is through Oct. 31, so he isn't a free agent yet.

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    I don't think he deserved to be fired because he wasn't given a major league quality team to work with. That being said, if a huge upgrade is in the works (like Girardi) then I understand the change.

    Also it would be fun to see a list of managers from teams that win on a consistent basis like the Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees, oh let's say since 1960 to present, compared to the Cubs. I'm a life long Cub fan but I bet I could remember a higher PERCENTAGE of Card, Yankee, Dodger managers than I could Cubs. Even during the Fire happy George Steinbrenner years.

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    In reply to cb56:

    "Deserving" to be fired is a relative concept. His number one responsibility was to move the major league forward in their rebuilding effort (not necessarily quantitatively at this point). If the FO determined that he was not sufficiently performing that task, on a qualitative level, than a change needed to be made. This absolutely has to be built correctly, without any weak links.

  • His handling of the bullpen, the arrested development of Castro and Rizzo, the blowups the last two weeks, and his puzzling lineups against lefties are among the many reasons Sveum was not the manager to move the Cubs forward.

    He wasn't even TheoJed's first choice. Mike Maddux was.

  • Even the smartest people and best organizations make mistakes. Einstein refused to recognize the implications of quantum mechanics; apple launched the newton; google wave was a disaster.

    Sveum was a mistake. NBD. Doesn't invalidate the rationale behind his hire.

    Spending big money out a tight baseball budget on a celebrity manager would be a much bigger error than swinging and missing on a Sveum.

  • In reply to JamesInFLA:

    JamesInFLA summed everything up nicely.

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    In reply to JamesInFLA:

    very well said

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    If anyone should be fired this season, it's probably Rowson, the hitting coach. And if anyone from current staff is to be retained, I would be in favor of Bosio, though the new manager will probably bring in his own guys

    And I also like Mike Maddux if he is available as pitching coach.....

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I think you could make a case for retaining Dave McKay.

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    Well said, John. Here's hoping...

  • I hope they keep McKay and Bosio, though Bosio is a big Sveum guy. I'm guessing they're getting Girardi, but it could be someone else.

    I also bet that Castro is happy about this. He never said anything negative about Sveum or the FO, but I didn't like the way Sveum handled Castro, and I doubt he liked being treated that way publicly.

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    In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    I'm impressed that Castro didn't react badly to the many times Sveum and Quade ripped him in public. Some of it was valid criticism but when a manager singles out a kid for doing the same thing vets on the team are doing, that's hypocrisy.

  • It could be that, if it is Giardi, that he is everybody's choice for the right reasons. I don't think that would be an insult to Sveum or the process. It's a little like the Theo hire.

  • Rowson's definitely a goner. I bet they promote a hitting coach from within.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    Buckner is possibility from promoting within. Just depends if they want to pull him from developing their young players, heard he's doing a great job down there

  • Best of luck to Dale in the future but I'm happy to see this. Dale's poor handling of lineups and the bullpen, his poor handling of the media, and especially young players regressing made this a smart decision. Even if you don;t like the decision atleast we will get some good articles from John to read about who the next manager will be.

  • Count me as worried as well, this smells of Ricketts getting involved . if Girardi is hired, then you know it was....which I don't like.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    You know that how?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Because (like John) Girardi does not seem like his kind of guy . Girardi seems like a guy who likes veterans more.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Speculative.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    But isn't everything speculative at this point? We have a new manager coming to the Cubs who has yet to work with any of these guys. I mean, speculation runs on both sides of the fence, doesn't it? And that manager is going to want and need to win ball games.

    Whomever comes in will manage with his current and next contract in mind, especially after what happened to Sveum - because whatever is said and no matter how many times it is reiterated that Sveum was not canned based on his W/L record, the new manager will still think otherwise, even if it is only in the back of his mind.

    I don't know. But Sveum's record had to have something to do with it. Would Sveum have been retained if the Cubs were a .500 team or let go?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Sveum probably would have been retained if the Cubs were a .500 team because then the core would have developed, not regressed.

  • To me, these 2 lines are what drove the decision:

    "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."

    Development and communication seem to be what it was about, something that has been mentioned on this site on more than one occasion.

  • In reply to giamby:

    This is what happens when you post before reading the entire article, dammit!

  • In reply to giamby:

    Exactly!

  • Of course Ricketts was involved. He's the owner and has to pay Sveum's salary next year. But there's no way Theo would fire his manager on Ricketts' say so. If it had come to that, Theo would have told Tom to take this job and shove it.

    If Girardi is hired, it will be Theo's call.

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    I agree wholeheartedly here. I firmly believe Ricketts only involvement, if he had any at all, was to OK the firing and subsequent payment of Sveum's salary. The minute Ricketts interferes in any baseball decisions - interferes, and not just approves the decision as Theo's boss - Theo will say "adios, amigo".

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    ITA, no matter what Theo says if Girardi is hired....Ricketts will have his fingerprints all over this

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Where is this coming from?

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Not necessarily, but it does make me wonder.-- Theo's statement eased many of my concerns but some think there has been some talk with Girardi for awhile now.

  • After reading the full transcript, who are potential candidates? Not talking popular names, but who are the types of candidates that can actually develop young talent?? The only real name that comes to my mind is the retired Tony LaRussa, but then I'm fairly ignorant outside of the Cubs...

    Girardi's ability to develop seems inconclusive.

    So who are legit player-developing candidates?

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I still like Ausmus but experience is lacking. Dave Martinez is interesting. Maybe Maddux and Sandy Alomar, who both made it far in the interview process last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree John, if Hoyer/ Epstein have a free hand in this , I would be surprised if those names are not on the list. I think Ausmus will be on the list as well, he' been talked about since when was still playing. Look at Mike Matheny, same thing . When he was playing people were saying he will be manager very soon and the Cards loved him....it seems to have payed off.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Sandy Alomar, as well as any other well respected Hispanic candidate, are folks to keep an eye on going forward. My mind keeps going to the Felipe Alou, with the Expos, example from several years ago.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Sandy Alomar is really interesting. He's a great baseball man and with so many young Latin players in the wings, he might be a great communicator as well. Not sure if he is the guy though....

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    Girardi did have a good year in Miami with kids before their loony owner canned him.

    Scioscia, if he is canned, has a long record of developing kids with the Angels. The claims he doesn't play/develop kids are silly. Mike Trout, Mike Napoli, David Eckstein, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar, Jorden Walden, John Lackey, Joe Saunders, etc. etc.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    There is no answer to that question. Even managers who have had young players thrive under them in the past means nothing. Maybe the players were just too talented to fail no matter who their manager was.

    Maybe if there was a guy with 20 years of experience who always seemed to have young players respond under them, but how many guys are there like that? Maybe a couple? And the chances are they have a job or are retired.

    Even a guy like LaRussa, was it him or the Cards org? Have their young players failed to perform since Matheny took over? Nope. So what does that tell you? Nothing probably, either way.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I read an article where LaRussa seemed to give credit for player development to his vets...

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    Joe G developed and mentored some real talents in his time w the Marlins and showed how to win games w inferior talent. I lived in Florida at that time, and watched almost every marlin game unless of course they were playing the same time the Cubs were.

    He had another skys the limit but a little wild n rough around the edges in Hanley Ramirez. He had the present best hitter in baseball in Miggy, as well as some others like Ricky Nolasco, Jason Vargas, Anibal Sanchez, the D train, Dan Uggla, Robert Andino, Cody Ross, and Josh Willingham.

    I would have loved to press rewind and see what he could have done w this team this year.

    I also love Dave Martinez and Mike Maddux

  • Did they actually state the reasons for firing him?

    If not (I haven't heard details yet), then that was pretty cheesy on their part to dump him w/o specific reasons.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Why don't you read the entire transcript before assuming it was "cheesy"? The statement is in the Kaplan article, and it seems very clear that communication and development were issues. They praise Dale effusively.

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    From inside the meeting the David Bell: "Theo waved him out of the office and told him he'd sent a courier with a baseball to his house. If David could beat the courier there, he could keep his job. What David didn't know is that the ball had already beaten him home by an hour."

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    lol.

  • I will stick to what I have felt all along in regards to letting Dale go. The FO only really had 2 choices IMO, extend Dale's contract or fire him. I do not think ownership had any input. I feel there r to many ?'s to warrant an extension, so firing him was in the best interest of the rebuild. A lame duck mgr. at this point would be detrimental to the all involved including Dale and development. Managing for your future is a lose lose IMO. And there are already ?'s about Dale's skills.

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    Personally, if both Scioscia and Girardi become available Scioscia would be my first choice.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    I'm fairly confident that Theo will remove his own gall bladder using only a bottle of moonshine and a rusty bitter knife before he will hire Mike Scioscia to manage one of his teams.

    That isn't even a shot at Scioscia, but he's just about as far removed from Theo's system as you can get.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hear hear. Scioscia would be a big mistake. He'd bench, or try to trade, Castillo after the first passed ball.

  • Sveum is a hard-working guy and a great bench coach type, but he has the emotional iq of a turnip. Not everyone who understands baseball can manage a baseball team. Relieved to see him go.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I thought he was okay emotionally. I was more concerned with his ability to communicate.

  • When theo says communication does he mean talking to players before the media or leaving players to figure things out on there own ?

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    In reply to seankl:

    I'm sure it's both of those and other communication quirks as well. How a manager communicates, and relates to his players, particularly his star players, is vital to the overall success. They will really need to vet out the right fit in this respect going forward.

  • I thought the line in Theo's statement about wanting a dynamic voice was somewhat telling.

    I'm sure player development was the major factor in this decision, but if you believe that a manager should be an extension of the front office, and a public face to fans and media on a daily basis, I wonder if they just didn't like Dale being that person.

    He may have been a great guy behind the scenes, but he came across as such a drag whenever he was with the media. There was no excitement or energy with him.

    And I don't mean in the meatball fan way, where I want to see the manager get thrown out of the game every other day, and yelling at the media post game, but just in the sense that he was so subdued, and honestly couldn't speak very well publicly at all. Maybe they just wanted to inject some life into that position.

  • Look at the way Sveum handled the pitching staff. He is a bungling
    idiot and deserved to be fired. He does not have the innate qualities you need in manager.

  • If Joe is available, I would think he would have to be the man. He has shown he can manage young players at Miami, handle veterans and a tough press in NY. I would think their philosophies would be similar; Why would you not go for the known product who has accomplished everything you hope your new manager can.

  • So I wonder if Shark's strong pro-Sveum comments bode poorly for him staying a cub?

  • I wasn't expecting Theo to throw himself under the bus. But I also think he wasn't blaming Dale for everything. Imagine the dialog if he said the FO screwed up. Every decision he makes in the future would be suspect. That's not a good platform to operate within.
    So onward and (hopefully) upward. It seems Theo is preparing to accelerate the movement of our prospects to Chicago. I believe the horrendous last 2 seasons has forced him to move him more quickly than he previously intended. Ricketts may have urged him to help address the attendance falloff.
    Finally, let's not forget Girardi's success in Miami prior to managing the Yanks.

  • Levine is stating that it is Girardi and then everyone else on Theos search list , makes too much sense timing wise . Seal the deal and give Cashman a huge wet raspberry!

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    "Consider your sources" with Levine. Sure, he has to look like he's on top of this story, but I wouldn't put money on his predictions.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Cashman with press conference noon tommorrow . hmmm

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'd think that's ARod related. Wasn't his hearing today?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    his appeal was tody i think, could be lots of reasons , will be following it tho in case it is related to Cubs / Girardi . I would guess Aroid too since you pointed it out.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Has nothing to do with Levine's credibility or lack thereof.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    was just citing was he was saying You can take it with whatever weight You deem appropriate

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    I didn't think Dale would get fired, but the momentum did seem to build. i think looking back it was pretty clear the FO decided about a week back to fire Dale. But they don't announce stuff till the end of the year. Theo was kinda softening the ground and preparing people, he is a very calculating guy he knew the way his comments in that interview last week would be read by the media. Clearly the FO didn't like the communications break downs and lack of core development. I don't know how much of that you can pin on Dale. Honestly I never thought Dale would go past the end of his contract. I thought after 3 years they would move on to a new manager more focused on winning. Dale was never given much of a chance to win. I think if Dale had massively exceeded expectations and gotten massive development from the core and gotten the win total to the competitive level by year three maybe and extension. But if the FO thought this was a step back this year maybe they decided to pull the trigger now.

  • Sveum and Phil Rogers both gone

  • Must have said something off-limits here. Did my comments get deleted?

    they haven't posted yet.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Sometimes they take a while to show up, so don't worry about it. You REALLY have to step over the line for John to delete your comments. If it's deleted, you should have no illusions as to why.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Did you add a link? Sometijmes those get spammed automatically. I didn't delete anything today.

    I would only delete something if it was a personal attack on another commenter. Everyone disagrees, but personal attacks are off limits. Also inflammatory non-baseball subjects. And I rarely, rarely have to do that.

  • Never mind, I just needed to update the browser. Sorry folks.

  • John, I'm curious...

    You've said that you think managers are overrated in terms of a team's W-L. I think the same thing. By that rationale, why not just bring in whoever, for whatever reason every year or couple of years? Guy A is going to win the team just as many ballgames as Guy B regardless of why he was hired.

    The last three winning teams the Cubs have had were led by "celebrity" managers. After all, a guy doesn't get the "celebrity" moniker unless he's managed a few good teams to go along with his media buzz. So what's wrong with a "celebrity" manager? Theo is a "celebrity GM/PBO". The Cubs are a "celebrity" franchise.

    Let me go on record as saying that I could care less who gets the job as long as the team wins. Same stance as payroll/contracts for me. I could care less how much they spend or who they trade as long as they win. Girardi getting the job depends on his willingness to come but he'd be a good choice (Back channels are a good call). Brad Ausmus would seemingly be a great choice. Dave Martinez. Matt Williams. Whomever. Now that the job is open, I'm sure the calls are flooding in.

    My question to you/all is this........If it doesn't have a lot of effect on W/L, what exactly is wrong with bringing in a "celebrity" manager? If Theo and Jed and/or ownership decided that they wanted someone BECAUSE they were a celeb and it would appease the fan base, why would that be such a bad thing? The last time that happened we won two divisions. Celeb managers are almost always so because they've won a lot despite being somewhat colorful and they are respected (there are exceptions like Bobby V).

    My GENERAL philosophy is that if you're going to bring in a young/unproven manager you better have a veteran team(St. Louis). If you have a really young team (like the Cubs), its nice to have a veteran manager.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    The President/GM/Farm director are 100x more important to a rebuilding franchise than a manager is. So a celebrity FO is not wasted money.

    A celebrity manager is a waste of money if you are working under the belief that a manager has little effect on W/L. The money would be better spent on a better player for the cheaper manager to use.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Okay, that's a fair point. I totally agree that the celeb FO is well worth it and I'm glad they're there. Girardi is said to be looking for an increase on his 3MM (according to Olney). I don't think 4 or 5 mil for a manager is necessarily "worth" it either but that's not exactly a ton of money in the grand scheme. You're right though, mjvz. A guy making 1MM could do the exact same job. I will say this though, I'm not sure that 3MM saved could be stretched all that far, other than maybe to put a posting fee over the top. 3MM doesn't buy as much as it used to.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    3M to a 66 win team doesn't mean much because getting a left handed reliever for that price might make you what a 67 win team? When the team is competitive though that one win might make the difference between making or missing the playoffs (look at the AL this year).

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I don't think managers are worthless, I just think the in-game strategy is way overrated. I think the manager has to fit your team's philosophy and culture.

    Nothing wrong with bringing in a celebrity manager as long as he's the right fit. I just don't want to bring in a guy just because he's a celebrity and makes some fans happy.

  • Lost in all this...

    If Sveum is fired, it means the team is no longer in purgatory mode. If next year is another rebuilding year, they would probably stick with Sveum.

    If they want a "real" manager, they have to start proving they are ready to win. It's time. One Choo, one Tanaka, one Girardi, and I believe this team gets back over .500 immediately.

  • Does anyone remember a World Champion that did not have strong leadership at the top in the dugout?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    Bob Brenly. Arizona.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Well, it depends partly on perception. Winning a WS makes you a strong leader even if you weren't considered that before you won (like Joe Torre) or after you won (like Sweet Lou).

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    Even though he had a bad week with his Chris Johnson incident, Terry Pendleton is a name I'd like to see considered as well. The Braves have always integrated young players into their organization. Since he came up with the Cardinals in the 80s and has been with the Braves through the 90's to now, I would want to talk with him. He spent an awfully long time near Bobby Cox and Whitey Herzog.

  • What is alarming to me is when theo says there was not a single message in the coaching staff. There are to many voices preaching different things. That is disaster with young players.

  • Please just give us a staff that can teach and insist on soild fundamentals. It was depressing to see Castro and others regress. BTW, Castro needs to move away from short. It ain't working.

  • Castro has cut down his errors once again and represented positive value on defense for the 2nd straight year. I think it's working fine.

  • No one likes to see a person fired. Yet I agree with those who say communication and development of the core players were areas that Sveum didn't do well. And those are areas Theo emphasized for the future. So in that sense the decision made sense. There's no doubt Sveum had a lousy team to manage. But there were many times where he was inconsistent and imo I thought he could have done better. How much the FO was involved in asking him to showcase players or if they were involved is a question mark in my mind. It'll be interesting to see what and who the offseason brings and how many of the minor leaguers are brought up to the majors.

  • My only problem with this is that I have been confident that Castro and Rizzo would rebound big next year and now when that happens the new manager will get the credit.

    This will suck if they lose Bosio.

  • I can recall often that the reason that a team finished 2nd according to many 'experts' was due to the fact that they were out managed. There may have been a team or two that were so togrther almost any one with a uniform could have delivered a championship, but don't count on it. If Girardi wants to manage the Cubs I think the search is over.

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    Girardi is a done deal. Book it.

  • And didn't you say this wasn't Epstein's style? I predicted Sveum's cashiering weeks ago.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I said it wouldn't be Epstein's style to fire Sveum only because Girardi was available. It would be Epstein's style to fire Sveum because he didn't perform. Girardi is a potentially happy coincidence.

  • I think Theo decided about half way through the second part of the season he wanted a new manager. It seems he purposely started the drama (with the "In Process" statement about Dale returning) as to gain public support for the move. If Theo doesn't make that comment and makes this move people would think it was out of left field and definitely that Dale was their scapegoat. Since he did get the rumors churning from his comments it made the transition easier because a lot of people then thought it was the right (ish) move. Smart man.

  • I think Theo handled this just the right way. At the all-star break he had a talk with Sveum about the things he needed to work on. Obviously when things continued to go south with Castro and Rizzo, the decision was obvious. I agree planting the seed a couple of weeks ago was the right move.

    Reading between the lines, it seems we had one hitting coach too many with Rowson, Deer, and Sveum probably giving conflicting advice to "the core" hitters. Production with runners on base was especially pathetic.

  • I'm not one of those people who downplays the role of manager or hitting or pitching coaches. Those positions are there for a reason, they affect approach and aren't window dressing. That said, I put very little blame on Sveum for either Castro or Rizzo. With Rizzo I think it's just natural growing pains and he'll be fine. Castro was an organizational decision to try to change him and I think you could have had Jesus Christ instructing him and the son of man still would have had problems teaching Castro selective aggression because of the type of early-count instinctual hitter he is.

    I think this is much more about communication and Sveum's relationship with players. This last month, you really started to see some cracks in the veneer. The Jackson incident, the Samardzija thing, but the most telling to me was Gregg apparently not understanding Sveum to the point that Theo had to step in and explain. (In which Theo also gave an admonishment about Gregg running to the media, something it could be argued Sveum did more than once this season regarding his young players.) I really think that's it - communication and building trusting relationships with his players, maybe with a pinch of them really liking a manager that's available right now. Good luck to Sveum, I think if those parts of him get better, he has so much skill in other aspects of clubhouse management, that I really see him being a winning manager, given the talent.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    You know, after rereading Epstein's statement, it seems like he might have been hinting at Sveum's teachings being at odds with some of the organizational philosophy, maybe in particular with what what Rowson was trying to impart. "We must have clear and cohesive communication with our players about the most important parts of the game." Also seems like the "...we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level" could in part be alluding to getting young players more playing time. The fact that they sat him down and talked to him as early as the All Star break makes me think there was some in game management stuff they didn't like either.

  • I've criticized Sveum's management before but I do feel bad for the guy. I know he wanted to win here, and he was looking forward to seeing everything through. Dale also seems like a stand-up guy and some players did improve greatly. Seeing him handle his exit professionally today made me more bummed out for him.

    I know there's no need to weep for him as he's in the MLB and still gets paid a lot of money next year, but I figure it was worthwhile to say some nice things about him.

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    I totally agree, they are planning on making some splashes this winter and trying to get this team heading into a positive direction. Theo wants progress, he wants this the mistakes he sees in april in may eliminated by September. He also wanted to see his core stars take steps forward even if it was a mini step ( as the league is so sophisticated that some scouting reports are going to find your weakness) or at least have their games evolve, ie Castro avg n hits may have gone down, but if he became more patient, became a better situational hitter, showed more power, or cleaned up his fielding. ( although I think his fielding is better but you get the point) Problem is Jedstein didn't see it, plus now Tommy nickels is also losing patience as hes losing $$. The weather has been great this summer, and you couldn't give cubs tickets away.

    If I was running this team, I really don't know how I could Keep Dale here another year unless my owner was fine being the laughing stock of the city while actually finding a way to keep people from going to Wrigley as well as get a top 3 pick again.......

    For gods sake, he hired Rob Deer to help teach hitting. Yes, I am familiar w the saying, those who can't teach, but is everyone here too young to remember Rob Deer as a player? Baseball reference him for a good laugh.

  • Well, firing of Sveum confirms that "hiring of Sveum" was a mistake. Many people felt, including myself, that Ryne Sandberg, with his work in the Cubs minors, was a much better choice than Sveum.

    So, if accountability is the reason why Sveum was let go, then Epstein should fire himself for a critical, failed "bone head" decision he took two years ago. Maybe it was ego thing--don't know.

    Having said all of the above, I strongly support the rebuilding plan in place.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Sorry, I disagree with you, especially the "failed 'bone head' decision he took two years ago" comment....hindsight is what I see there. Neither Sveum nor Sandberg had a major league pedigree, so either could have failed when hired for this team. Granted, what was expected of Dale didn't come to fruition, but that's still hindsight. How was anyone able to predict that, and how is anyone able to predict a different outcome from Ryno? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Ryno fan, but to say he WOULD have been the answer is a tough one for me.

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    In reply to cubs1969:

    Agreed.

    Also, looking at the current situation, an argument could be made that one of the cons to hiring Sandberg could've been that if he DID fail and got fired, there could be fan backlash for dismissing a Chicago icon.

    I'm very happy to see Sveum go.

    Our young stars not only did not improve, but regressed. And worse, he had several instances of embarrassing or poorly representing his players in the media or on a national stage.
    And really, there's little if any strong points to his tenure. He really doesn't have anything at all to hang his hat on, or any redeeming characteristics to his time in Chicago.

    I'd like to get Girardi, not because I think we'll magically start winning, but I was very impressed with the way he handled the debacle of A-Rod returning to the Yankees.

    Castro's struggles were nothing compared to the New York shitshow and yet Sveum failed to handle it with a fraction of the class tat Girardi did.

    Pack your bags Dale, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    I can't predict the future so I can't say that Sandberg would have been success or failure...But, I do feel that Sandberg was more qualified than Sveum.

    :)

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Possibly, but it wasn't a team designed to win, would you have wanted Sandberg to take the fall on this?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think again I will default to not be able to predict future. Assumption that Sandberg being at the helm would have led to the same outcome I don't buy.

    I feel that Sandberg would have done a better job with the youngsters due to his work in the minors...

    Anyway, all this is for discussion/debate. The reality is that we are where we are today. I am a big supporter of the rebuild. Hope it all pans out.

  • I agree with almost everything here, but the only quibble I'd have is the idea that Epstein and Hoyer don't leak.

    The Cubs have been an epic leak-fest since they took over, and it strains credulity to always come up with explanations for why it's someone else.

    Leaking Girardi connnections gives the Cubs some positive PR while they fire the manager. It's in the front office's interest to leak that.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Oh, I know they leak stuff. Agreed. All FO's do. I just don't believe they leaked this one.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Come on John...They leaked this one. :)

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