Double Take: Sveum fate to be decided on Monday

The Top 50 Prospect series will return later today but right now the manager situation and how it’s being handled is on my mind.

Dale Sveum’s fate is to be decided on Monday and I have to admit I have some mixed feelings on the matter.  While the rallying cry from the media and many fans point to his dismissal, the people I’ve talked to consider that an unlikely move.  Keep in mind thought that I’m not talking to inside sources on this.  I was just talking to some industry people on the thought process involved in these kind of decisions.

So, I’ve been debating myself and it goes something like this…

On the decision day

Take 1: That means he’s being fired because if they were going to keep him, why keep him guessing for the last few games of the season?  If they were going to keep him, why not tell him now?

Take 2: This is normal protocol.  The Cubs have a process where they don’t address staff evaluation until after the season is over.  The reason the focus is on it this year is because the question is being asked for this time.

Are they really waiting on Joe Girardi?

Take 1: Yes.  The Cubs have reason to be confident that Girardi will leave New York and they are making this decision early to give themselves enough time to go through their interview process, which as we know is quite lengthy.

Take 2: The Monday decision day shows the Cubs are not waiting on Girardi since they don’t even know if he’ll be available.  If they fire Sveum, it has more to do with how they evaluated his performance than looking to hire a specific manager.

Was Sveum treated fairly?

Take 1: No.  Sveum wasn’t really given a fair chance.  He’s been given two rosters that weren’t designed to win but to accumulate long term assets.  He competed reasonably well in both first halves but any player who had short term success and a short term deal was traded for a player or players with long term value.  Firing him would mean he was essentially set up to fail — hired to be fired.  Would Sveum taken this job if he knew this considering the more ready-to-win Boston Red Sox were also in hot pursuit?

Take 2: Yes.  Sveum knew this was a job that entailed the tough job of rebuilding and developing players at the MLB level.  It’s a challenge to be sure, but a challenge he felt he could handle.

The Media’s Role

Take 1:  The media never really took to Dale Sveum and when fans started to blame Sveum for the Cubs failures, they jumped on the story and it picked up momentum from there.

Take 2: The Cubs front office may have misread the Chicago media, thinking it was more like the Boston media rather than a New York style media.   Sveum never seemed comfortable with the constant barrage of questions — some of which were on target, but he showed obvious disdain for the more inane questions.  There was also the issue of miscommunication, particularly in the cases of the Castro/Rizzo demotion fiasco and the recent Kevin Gregg flap.  Joe Girardi has demonstrated he can handle the New York media quite well and it seems logical he could handle the press here in Chicago too.

What does the Sveum decison mean going forward for the organization and the front office?

Take 1: Firing Sveum and hiring someone like Girardi (or anyone for that matter) turns the focus back on the front office’s rebuilding strategy.  It speeds up the timetable.  For one, Girardi isn’t likely to come on to a long term rebuilding project and secondly, if Girardi doesn’t win in two years, the blame could well shift to the Cubs front office.  It’s a huge risk on the front office’s part and it must mean they believe they can win by at least 2015.

Take 2: The front office has reassurances from owner Tom Ricketts that they will not be held accountable if the Cubs rebuilding project carries on into 2015.  This would imply some input from Ricketts if Sveum is fired.  A front office isn’t accountable to fans, but ownership is.  Fans are becoming impatient with the rebuild after just two years, an unfortunate side effect of playing in a large market, and one way to quell fans without directly derailing a rebuilding strategy is to fire the manager. But it makes me a little uneasy if ownership is in any way involved in baseball operations.  That hasn’t worked well for the past 100 years here on the north side.

So what’s going to happen?

I honestly don’t know. I can see some merit to both takes and I was more sure that Sveum was going on to stay until the past couple of days.  If Sveum does get fired, then I would say that this would be the front office’s first major failure no matter how you slice it.  They’ve made some mistakes to be sure, but whether you think Dale Sveum was meant to be a point A to point B manager or whether he was hired for the long term (which I believe is the case based on the front office’s history), they certainly didn’t think he’d last just 2 years.

And while firing the manager buys some time to keep their rebuilding plan in tact, it will likely only buy them another year, maybe two.  They would have obviously preferred to buy that extra time a year from now rather than in the 2nd year of the rebuild.  Indirectly, it artificially speeds up the process and that can’t be something they’re happy about.  Still, it’s preferable to speeding up by sacrificing long term value for short term gain in terms of their roster.  It’d be a compromise, but again, they probably didn’t expect to be making compromises at this relatively early stage.

If they keep Sveum, it means the rebuilding strategy remains on schedule according to Theo’s original plan.  I think in a perfect, rational world this is what they’d prefer to do.  But as we all know, things don’t always go according to plan.


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  • fb_avatar

    Jason Varitek. I think he would be at the top of any list of potential Cubs managers.

    Also, I think if Sveum is gone it is more to do with Sveum wanting to leave. But I have no inside sources or anything, just an opinion.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Sveum seems to be worried about his fate though. That doesn't sound to me like a guy who wants to leave.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, my feeling is that he may want an extension or some kind of commitment it won't be another year of trading assets, though I read somewhere yesterday that Sveum allegedly knows he was nothing more than a short term hire anyway (think it was Gordon W. - whom I have no respect for anyway).

    Sometimes publicly worrying about fate means you want to leave or is a submissive way of forcing the hand of your bosses. Other managers have certainly used that method to push themselves out of favor and out of a job. I certainly don't know Sveum or have any clue as to how he feels. But it has to be tough to continue to manage this way, especially if you feel that you are not in their long term plans anyway.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I took what Dale said in general terms as the likely fate of any manager that gets hired, not that he specifically was hired to be short term. But we both know sound bytes can get used in all sorts of ways.

    Personally, I think he's just resigned to his fate.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John I do not consider you "the media". To me you are flat out a huge Cub fan. Nobody cares even a small bit about what the media thinks. They all think they can destroy a person and they have no feelings about that. Sveum should not be going anywhere. Wait until he is given a team that could win. The media is what is wrong with this country. The team will be built into a winner and when that happens the media will sit there and take the credit for it. I love what you do but the media should'nt ever be mentioned on this sight. I love this team and all of sports but we should not be forced to listen to people like dave kapplin or any of their opinons.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    While I'm not about to use the low hanging fruit, "blame the media" for everything., I will take the Cub's beat writers and reporters to task. Apparently every member of the Cubs organization, be it a player, manager, GM, whatever is expected to kiss the press's asses. It really gets tiresome to hear snarky, useless comments about a player, or whoever, who hurt the writer's "feewings."
    Do your job, be professional,or GTFO.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    That's one hell of a cagey call on Varitek, Michael! Lots of guys will come out of the woodwork for this job.

    No chance Dale wants to leave. That would mean he and his family take a 75-80% pay cut if he doesn't find another managerial job right away. Even though he would get the remainder of his contract, he has zero leverage and wants to stay.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I think Epstein loves Varitek and everything I've read indicates he would make an excellent manager. Just no experience.

  • My thought is that if they believe that Girardi is available and that he can take them to the next level of competition then they need to fire Sveum and get Girardi.

    I fully admit that this would send a bad message and would be unfair to Sveum but it would be in the best interest of the organization. It's more of an issue of timing rather than anything else. If Girardi is available then somebody is going to get him and he may never be available again. There are a pretty good collection of potential available managers, the FO needs to really be sold on Sveum to not make a move this winter.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think if the Cubs think a manager can be a savior, then I'm really worried.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think that they think a manager would be a savior. But that one manager can have more of an impact than another manager.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True... but then why would firing Sveum be "the front office's first major failure no matter how you slice it"?

    I don't say this just to pick nits, but perhaps to emphasize that it's hard to quantify the value of a manager. I don't buy into the "WAR" of a manager, so to speak -- I agree that the game day decisions only do so much.

    I do, however, think the development of players is huge, and even more so for a team that is completely rebuilding like the Cubs. I think Castro and Rizzo are the Cubs' two biggest assets right now (literally -- they have the two largest contracts on the team, no?) and so it's crucial to maximize the value of those assets. I do put that on a manager, at least to a good degree.

    I doubt Theo is focusing on the name brand of a manager, i.e. Girardi. If the Cubs fire Sveum and hire Girardi, it will be because they think he can develop guys much better than Sveum could, in my opinion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We talk about impact players a lot. Dale's not an impact manager and there may be some of those interested. Pinella was an impact guy. I don't think he made the team win more games than they would've necessarily but he made an impact in other ways. Dale makes no impact.

  • Sveum is gone. Life is not always fair. The only question the FO has to answer is he the manager of the future.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not that easy. I've talked to some high placed industry people here and there's just a lot more involved than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If one can hired, one can be fired. Maybe the Cubs will fine another position for him in the system.

  • I think rationally, Sveum was given his specific evaluation criteria when he was hired. That's the way any well-run job/organization does it. Most likely, these things were related to instilling a certain culture amongst the club, developing young players at the ML level, and appropriately representing the organization to the media/public. I find it very unlikely the decision about whether to keep him or not falls outside of these criteria, but who knows. Perhaps when a preferable option emerges (Girardi), the FO has the right to move a different direction. There have been things I haven't liked about Sveum, but overall I don't think the manager makes that much of a difference. I haven't liked the way he's called out players, esp. Castro in the media, but who knows if the players like him or not.

    I'd ask myself these 2 questions: What is to be gained by firing/replacing Sveum now? What is potentially lost? If you come up with honest answers to those 2 that justify firing him, then I suppose you do it.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    I agree with this analysis. I don't think Sveum's stated goals would have involved Wins & Losses or Attendance figures. He's done some good things, he's done some questionable things, but I don't think he's done any bad things.

    This team is not going to compete next year either in all likelihood. I don't see them bringing in a guy to take them from 70 wins to 75 wins (or whatever value you think Girardi could bring.) Sveum in 2014.

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    As Hawk Harrelson would say-"He Gone"!

    All kidding aside, I don't think he's staying. Sveum will get another chance after being a bench coach with someone else.

    I sincerely think he lacks the people skills.

    I don't think it's all about Castro and Rizzo either. I think Starlin had to expand his knowledge of hitting and right or wrong that was done at the major league level. Rizzo just shouldn't have hit third. Horses or not, you can't give a guy hitting .230 the three hole. I don't think that was at all positive for Rizzo's development.

    It's funny-in 2012 they talked so much about being aggressive on the bases, playing fundamental baseball, etc...The risp and lack of stolen bases are strong indicators that the offense sputtered outside of ob% and sabermetrics.

    The FO put this team together to compete with matchups. Using strengths and hiding weaknesses. Wins and Losses off the table, I don't think Sveum maximized the use of his resources.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I am gradually recovering after having read the Hawkism you intoned, Dale.

    It has an effect on some of us more sensitive readers similar to that of Regan MacNeil getting sprinkled with holy water in the Exorcist. ;)

    That said, John, great analysis. I believe that a move to replace Sveum at this juncture would in large part be an attempt to mollify a restless fan base. I also believe, like others, that he was a stopgap hire who was set up to ride out a rebuild, and that he was selected because he seemed a likely fit to mete out the Cub's Way philosophy. Since I don't know all that entails, I can't fully judge him on his success/failure, but it is my opinion he has only done a fair job at other aspects of managing.

    I will say this: if the Cubs do not replace Sveum at the end of the season, it speaks highly of ownership's willingness to let Theo & Co run the ship without interference. And this makes me hopeful that the rebuild plan, which seems sound, will be allowed to unfold as designed.

  • Sveum at best was a stopgap hire, a sacrificial lamb in the early stages of Epstein's master plan. He won't be around for the turn-around, if there is one.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    That would go against everything they've said and done. Doesn't fit their pattern to do that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    sometimes it doesn't have to fit the pattern, john. as theo has stated, "all progress is not linear." :D sometimes you have to abort the plan, no matter how much you want to stick to it.

    it really is hard to say if they keep him, but i think he stays and is on the hook to exceed expectations. no just improve, but exceed. we'll see.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I agree with aborting the plan if necessary -- I don't think they hired him as a sacrificial lamb.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The FO has promised to change the standards by which people are judged. It insists everyone must be held accountable for their actions. No one should have expected that its manager be evaluated based upon the teams record.
    However, has the team improved over the past two years. Are Rizzo, Castro, Barney better ballplayers under Sveum's leadership? Offensively we are among the worst in baseball. Our baserunning is atrocious.
    As the season winds down we see cracks in the so called happy clubhouse. Bottom line we must judge Dale based upon the team's progress. I have seen two years of correctable mistakes being repeated. That leads me to respectfully request a change at the helm.

  • In reply to tharr:

    They'll hold people accountable, but that's not to say they see Sveum as responsible for everything. They may well see him as responsible, but that's largely been our assumption so far.

    At any rate, as I've said, if he get fired, it won't be for that kind of stuff, it'll be that they're worried about his development and communication with the young kids. They are the heart of the rebuild and the Cubs can't afford to mess with that if they don't think Sveum is doing harm there.

  • If Sveum is getting launched on Monday then they know who they want and what it will cost to get him. If Monday comes and Sveum is fired, I totally expect Girardi to become the Cubs manager.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    See, that's funny, I tend to think if Sveum is fired on Monday they're mostly concerned with his handling of Rizzo, Castro, Russell, etc. and would replace him anyway.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Those are the two ways to look at it. Girardi isn't available right now, so unless they have inside info as to his intentions (that is, if Girardi himself has come to a definite decision) then we can say it's because of Girardi. But we don't know that.

    He's not available. They've already made a decision on Sveum which is to be announced when the season ends. They're doing this before the fate of Girardi is officially known.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    All good points. While you make the case for the timing of the announcement as being dictated in part at least by normal process, I can't help but think the announcement and its timing has other substantive meaning attached. If not, the announcement along w/ the apparent failure to indicate a positive outcome for Sveum along private lines of communication doesn't particularly speak well of the FO's tactics IMO.

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    I like the article, because it does feel like things are at a critical point. The Ricketts need to demonstrate that, long term, there is going to be money spent here. At the same time, I totally understand they didn't expect the resistance they've gotten to monetizing the ballpark, but the frustration is real. I think it has as much to do with Wittenmeyer's and Yellon's attacks as with the miserable performance and field, so spending money might alleviate some of it. (Tanaka must be a Cub.)

    An announcement on Monday does feel like game over for Dale. Girardi is the equivalent of a big free agent signing without spending a fortune -- but it will only provide a short term uptick in sales, if that. Long term, well, this team really needs Baez and Bryant to make an impact next year. That could put butts in seats to support the rebuild going forward.

    And if this is going to be a mid-market team for the foreseeable future, Bud Selig needs to step in. (I know, I'm holding my breath, too.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thank you. It' s disappointing to me that ownership could possibly be involved in all of this. That to me is the reason why the Cubs haven't had success. The ability to make money doesn't mean you have the ability to make good baseball decisions. And if Ricketts is acting like a fan here and thinking Girardi is some kind of savior, then I have some real issues with that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. I have some empathy for the Ricketts, because they clearly weren't ready to play Chicago politics. But, at the end of the day, there needs to be a commitment to the front office by the ownership. That means not tweaking things they aren't experts on to get some short-term boosts in numbers.

    And I really hate writing this because I've been such a staunch supporter of everyone involved, but the signs are kind of ugly here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would have issues with that as well. I am in favor of letting the manager manage. I think he's made decisions while looking toward the future his entire contract. He's even went so far as to talk about Almora being the CF of the future and how Lake could seize that job in the meantime. I think he's given many different players a shot to make an impact.
    Also, in my view, I don't think he seems to have a problem with "peope skills". I think everyone would think he was a whole lot better guy if he was part of a winning organization. I would question him a whole lot more if he went smiling to reporters during a losing season. He's done some things incorrectly, but he's done a lot right too, and I think he's getting better at managing the game.
    In two seasons the Cubs have let Ramirez and Pena walk, traded Dempster, Garza, Feldman, Maholm, Marmol, Soriano, Dejesus, Soto, Cashner, Marshall, etc. He's kept a pretty upbeat clubhouse despite a lot of turnover and losing (while coaching an inferior team).
    I think it would be a spit in the face to fire him. It's a skapegoat decision if they make it.
    I also, don't like how they've scheduled to talk to the media on Monday, especially if they're keeping him. If they intend to fire him, they should have just said so at the end of the season without all the deadline talk.
    I'm a fan of the organization, management, blah, blah, but this is the first thing they've done that I really don't agree with (unless there is something behind the scenes that no one knows about).

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    Take this with a few grains of salt (or cups of salt), but a couple folks on Twitter with sources are saying that the Ricketts aren't involved in this at all and Theo isn't impressed with Sveum's performance.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The thing is if it's Theo, then I think it's strictly about Dale's performance -- specifically with the kids. If it's about having eyes for Girardi, then it makes me wonder if Ricketts is involved. I think it's the former. At least that's what I hope.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Huh. Well, if that's so, you gotta make a move I guess.
    I just think they should have gone about it differently. When people ask about the manager, just mention that those conversations will be had and those decisions will be made at the appropriate time. I think it's best to be vague about those things. Then, make your decision and address the public. I don't like the whole we've made a decision and we'll tell you Monday thing. To me, the only reason to do something like that would be to announce an extension, not say, "ya he's coming back" or "we're making a change".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ideally, 'You are correct sir', but it is Ricketts money and the fans have a say because if Sveum is managing in front of a near empty Wrigley that will not be good. I do not believe that is about anything but reality. I see no issue with Girardi stepping in with Theo' s rebuild. He is a quality character guy. John, do the Cubs have to go through a bogus interview process if Girardi is their hire or can they have a news conference Tuesday morning with him in a Cub hat?

    By the way thanks for the good write up and presenting both sides so well.

  • I think that the manager's chief job is to be the whipping boy if things don't turn out well. Most in game decisions are a wash over time. The main area of concern for Sveum, then, is the patience that the FO has with the rebuilding process. If they think they need more time, they'll fire if. If not, they won't.

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    I agree except for the last part. Firing him cuts down their time because the expectation of hiring Girardi is that they will win. I'm sure the Cubs FO is pretty aware that they still need talent to win. If the team doesn't win in two years, they've effectively removed the manager as an excuse. The focus shifts to the talent on the field, and then by extension, the people who acquired them.

  • I do think it's a bit strange that it was made public that Sveum would be informed of his status on Monday, yet at the same time, I understand evaluations and decisions aren't completed until the season ends. Why make Sveum anxious for a week if you plan on keeping him? At least give him some private confirmation even if it's not made public. Stating the time that he will be informed of the decision indicates the decision has been made already, and if the decision is to keep him, then you can go ahead and make that public. I just think it's unlikely they're going to uncover new information in the next 4 days that would change their minds.

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    In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    I think they announced the Monday decision so it would show the decision is based solely on svuem's performance and not who is available. I believe they announced the Monday decision to quiet the media for the remainder of the season. my guess is svuem received a year end evaluation last year as well. just sounds like something the fo would do.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    Agree. I don't like it.

  • I see similarities between Sveum's fate and Dennis Savard's fate with the Blackhawks. Savard really had done nothing to deserve to get fired but a better coach was out there so they made the move. Sorry to Dale but doesn't a team have the responsibility to always have the best manager out there. Let's hope things work out as well for the Cubs.

    To be honest except for the development of perhaps Wood, I really struggle to find things Sveum has done well. People blame him for Rizzo and Castro having off years but to me his coddling of Barney is what I find most disturbing.

  • I'll comment, since this isn't about minor leaguers. I've been anti Sveum from the start. I felt we should have had a higher profile guy from the beginning of this regime. That said, I feel; that Girardi is probably sick of the circus in the apple. Who wouldn't be? The Yankees are IMO farther from a championship than the Cubs, and have little left in their system with which to rebuild. When this type of announcement is made it is usually an ill omen for the incumbent. If Dale is retained, I think the fans and media will be very tough on the FO. Blame is the name of the game and the FO is certainly not firing itself.

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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    I would have a hard time believing that the Yankees are further from a championship than the Cubs. But everything else I agree with (though Girardi being sick of NY is a stretch - he will go where he has the best chance to win and to whomever is willing to pay him and may well stay in NY).

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't read Girardi that way.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I cannot read Joe Girardi because I don't know him. But my point is based on the human condition of making the best possible decisions and putting oneself in the best position to succeed, and when it comes to employment, to maximize salary. I guess I should have added that in there as my reasons for the statement. Sorry 'bout that.

    I have this unemotional chip on my shoulder and make observations based on logic, which often doesn't sit well with others, but I mean no harm and I am usually wrong more often than I am right.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I'm the same way. And sometimes I forget that you can't always separate emotion from the process.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't know if I'm reading Girardi correctly, but put this new twist in the mixer. Cano is looking for over $300 million over 10 years. Cano is 4I and second base is not a critical position. His new management is drinking its bathwater. Nobody is giving him that money.


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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Bloomie, is that a typo, speculation or hyperbole? According to baseball-reference, Cano is 30.

  • Except for McKay and Bosio, his choice of coaches has been bad. His strength was supposed to be fundamentals, yet too often the Cubs executed them like little leaguers.

    Sveum had managed only about 15 games in the majors before the Cubs hired him. So even though he was stuck with a weak roster that had no chance to win, it was career advancement. Therefore it's not fair to say he didn't get a fair shake.

    If Girardi is available (and I won't be surprised if his people talked to our people) Sveum is gone.

  • I must admit I am somewhat confused. If my memory serves me right -- this same process was in place last year. At the end of the season it was announced that Dale would return. Dale has done a decent job this year -- given the circumstances. I suspect that when Monday comes it will be announced that he is returning, but a member or two of his staff will not. Dale needs support and encouragement -- not the constant -- maybe there is someone better out there we should get. The Cubs are trying to build a "team" and leadership will be critical. Let's play this one out.

    Perhaps the bigger question is, "Does Chicago want the Cubs?" I get a sense that some of the neighborhood owners feel like they are part owners of the team -- with only one concern -- "Where is the money -- for me?" It is hard enough to put a team together, let alone deal with some of the "owners".

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    Sandberg now has managing experience (as much as Sveum had), which means he might be an option, too. :)

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    In reply to brober34:

    brober, the Phillies have already locked sandberg up to a three year deal, so he is not an option.

  • John...Very good article and points on both sides. Made me think about all the quality players that played for Dale and were traded at deadline. We all agree that cubs didn't have the best talent. I do not think Dale will be evaluated on wins and losses. And if the core had been hitting .280 or so and making progress we could live with 85-90 losses. Dale will be evaluated on his relationship with players. I feel like he has no people skills. He will also be evaluated on progress of players. And most took a step back. A few guys has solid years and those hitters didn't play for Dale last year. I was actually excited when Dale was hired. Listening to him talk about how they had no fundamentals and played sloppy and would hold them accountable. But as years progressed I saw none of the fundamentals get better. Dale blew a bunch of hot air at us. If he is not the guy in 2015 then we need to let him go now. It makes no sense to have him come back 1 more year and if player development is the issue/concern then it makes no sense to allow him to keep working with this team.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Thanks. I think there is merit to the argument on both sides. The only thing I'm really concerned with is that if they fire Sveum, it's for the right reasons.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What are the right reasons for you?
    Theo/FO also has to look down the road and see if he is a good fit.

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    Don't forget the Cubs employ some exhaustive type of managerial Wonderlic Test that is required of all candidates. Remember when they hired Sveum? I am not sure Girardi would even agree to take the test. He might. He also might say he has earned the right not to.

    Also, the Cubs just announced that the new clubhouse and some other player amenities will not be available for another year. With the stadium pretty much status quo until at least 2015 I would think the Cubs stick to their current plan of trading short term assets for long term assets which means that Sveum probably stays and the Cubs continue with another season of frustrating baseball. I hope they continue to address the bullpen. At some point in 2014 Olt, Bryant and Baez will all be up. So maybe the tide starts to turn second half 2014.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I would think Girardi would ace the Wonderlic, but I agree he shouldn't have to take that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Northwestern grad. I tend to agree.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I'm not sure I totally follow your logic about the lack of a new clubhouse dictating what they Cubs strategy will or will not be next year.

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    In reply to Pura Vida:

    It would have been a positive selling point at the major league level for a team with few positive selling points at this time. That is all. The revenues will be delayed for one season because of the delays as well. So there will be no spending this offseason to make the team better for anyone who may consider the job.

  • Despite the horrific losing at the Big League level and possible worst 3-year stretch of losing in team history, I'm still in favor of staying the course with the rebuild.

    If we start to sell/trade long-term assets now to enhance the short-term status of the parent club, then IMHO we will have strayed from the whole purpose of this long rebuild.

    I hate losing, just like any other true Cub fan, but we have to swallow hard and stick with "the plan".

    That means keeping Suevm, for at least one more year, even tho I 'm lukewarm on him as a manager. He does need to improve his communication skills with the players and his bullpen management decisions, however. The FO can tell him to at least improve in these areas, at a minimum.

    Just my take on the whole subject.

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    John, do you think that the hiring of Rob Deer may have a lot to do with the struggles of Rizzo, Castro and Barney? I haven't looked at the stats but do the Cubs even have one .300 hitter among their regulars? I am guessing no.

    Did Sveum or Epstein hire Deer? My guess is Rob Deer is the guy who gets launched Monday.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Rob Deer is turning Rizzo into Rob Deer. Not funny.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I think Sveum hired Deer and I don't know what kind of impact he had, but Rizzo did look an awful lot like Deer last year ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A deer in the headlights one might say.

  • I like Seveum & feel he has held up his end of the deal. Some coaches will be replaced, however.

  • My feeling is they keep Sveum with the idea he replaces Rowson and Deer and the FO adds at least one or two new pieces ( Tanaka Cargo etc) and no big sell off at tradeline. 2014 now becomes more about wins and losses and Sveum will be judged on next year.

  • Managers can make a difference, Boston this year vs. last.

    Enough said

  • In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    Absolutely Lee! There are too many examples - Joe Madden, Terry Francona, Clint Hurdle, etc. - where great managers have all separated themselves from the pack. Obviously, the FO & ownership play an important role as well but IMO a strong manager can make a significant difference.

  • In reply to Pepitone8:

    Agree on Madden and Francona as good managers, but many actually consider Clint Hurdle a terrible manager and think Pirates are winning in spite of him, not because of him.

  • In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    They can but that's not a typical example and it had to do with more than the manager change. Team completely quit on Valentine. They couldn't stand him. That hasn't happened with Sveum.

  • So if they fire him and Girardi decides he wants to stay with the Yankees who are the other candidates that could be considered?

  • In reply to Ricky Maravilla:

    Maybe Maddux if he's available. I always liked Dave Martinez but not sure if that would happen.

  • I personally don't see Sveum being fired just to be fired. If the Cubs don't feel they can grab someone like Girardi, Gardenhire, or Scioscia, there's no reason to fire Sveum.

    That said, if there's a significant upgrade available at manager, the Cubs owe it to the organization to have the best pieces in place.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    See, I think the opposite. If there is an urgency to fire Sveum, it is because of his performance -- specifically with development. Nothing is more important to the future of the team than their young talent and if they don't like what he's doing there, then they have to move on.

  • Managers are replaceable, just like hitting and pitching coaches. I believe a baseball team's performance is 98% player talent. Managers and all the other coaches account for the other 2%.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I pretty much agree with that.

  • I don't think Sveum is going anywhere. He was brought in to work with the young players and the FO really hasn't given him many of those yet. Obviously the regression by Castro and Rizzo make it look like he's failing at this part, but I thought Castillo had a fine year.

    The one way I see Sveum being fired is if the FO really blames him for Castro & Rizzo's struggles and don't want him to be in Chicago when Baez and Bryant arrive next season.

    And FWIW, I think Girardi ends up in D.C.

  • Stability. I've said it a few times, but what the Cubs need is stability. They have no veteran leadership on the roster and their 'stars' are both under 24, have both struggled and have a microscope on them constantly.

    If they keep Sveum, fine. 2014 already seems like a lost cause unless everything breaks right - regardless of who the manager is.

    I think the Cubs need to draw a line in the sand and say 'here is our manager for the next 3-4 years'. I believe this person should have A) managerial experience, B) be well respected by his peers and by the young core (a WS ring, multiple deep playoff runs, etc.), C) be able to handle the pressures that come with managing the Cubs, D) be an effective communicator both internally and externally (i.e. not call players out to the media, make sure the closer understands his role, etc.) and E) protect the current and future young players and shepherd / develop them.

    Personally, I don't think Sveum meets many of these characteristics (or any really). Who does? Girardi.

    Managers need to know how to push their player's buttons and be able to take the focus of individual players or team struggles. Its a random example, but I remember when Barrett and Z got into that dugout fight. What happened the next day? Lou went bonkers on the 3rd base umpire and got thrown out. Two things happened immediately after that 1) The focus was on Lou and not on Barrett / Z and 2) The Cubs got hot and rolled to the playoffs.

    I doubt Sveum gets fired. If they wanted to play the field (check on Girardi, Maddux, etc.) they wouldn't select the day after the end of the regular season as D-day.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I think that criteria you listed was what they thought of Dusty Baker when he was hired.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I agree, somewhat. First, its a different FO - so 'they' are different people. Second, Dusty NEEDs veteran leadership and/or a star. When they brought him in, the cubs had or went and acquired a lot of vets (Sosa, DLee, Alou, Wood, a crazy old BP), etc. And had big time talent in Prior.

    Maybe Gerardi 'needs' the same thing....but the spotlight in NY is going to get hot with Mo / Petite gone, Jeter literally on his last leg, Arod's ongoing PED / Suspension, Granderson leaving, etc.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    Excellent analysis, Roscoe, and I think you're right about Girardi meeting those criteria. And I hope that you're wrong about Sveum not being let go. His coaches, with the exception of McKay, have been lacking, and he DOES make bad decisions on the field as well is in the interview room. Girardi is available until his name is in ink on a new contract. I'd rather see it on a contract that includes the name Chicago Cubs than on one that has the name New York Yankees.

  • Unfortunately, Chicago fans and media often remind me of the restless crowds outside the Roman Colosseum gates! Instead or giving 2 drachmas perhaps Mark Anthony could just promise a 38 year old $20mil/yr free agent to calm the masses. Then 2 months later they would be cheering the lions!

    I don't dislike Sveum. I only have two issues personally that I think are fairly significant. First, one of the Cubs most reliable young talents was James Russel, who has pitched in 74 games and seemed burned out. I think this probably has slowed down his call, but I am not since I don't hear every game.
    The biggest issue I have will be the evaluation of handling young players. I like how Sveum has made Castro accountable! Very positive in my opinion, if the hand has been evenly applied among all players?
    But what troubles me is that he and Rowson have had hands on with 3 core young talents who have really regressed. The future of the team is going backward! Castro, Rizzo, and Brett Jackson are the pupils. They spent 1 week with Jackson, and you know the results. Yet indeed, he needed fixing. His bat-wrap was immense creating a very long looping swing. How much and what needed to be done, and all that was done is beyond my knowledge. I do not think you can fix everything at once, change every bad element! A pragmatic and methodical approach works best. Rizzo was corrected with a low hand position, but as John says, he doesn't know who was involved. But I think it is unlikely that a major leaguer with his talent would be changed too much without input. As I mentioned before, there was a less dramatic solution to the same issue by simply inserting a "toe-tap" into his "knee-knock" load. If that doesn't work, then you can get more dramatic. The hand change has allowed too much body movement to infuse beyond his "load phase" into his stretch (stride) phase. All you have to do is disrupt your timing by .04 seconds, and you aren't going to be able to hit an inside fastball over perhaps 91mph. Standing farther off the plate is a temporary fix, not a solution. With Castro, that is more nebulous. The coaching I think was more of a mental approach than a physical issue. I am not sure how much blame can be applied. I could certainly make the same mistake.

  • Stay calm. Everything will work out OK. I think Dale will be back next year.

  • Unless they can't work with Sveum any more, or they're long-term managing solution is available (Girardi or some one else), don't see them firing Sveum. While there have been some hiccups with Sveum (his mocking sabermetrics, some clubhouse friction, being too transparent about player performance to the media), it seems mostly par for the course for a new manager. But if they do fire him, I can't see this FO going with another newbie manager on a 3-year deal. That doesn't align with the long-term plan.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I agree -- especially with the first part. If they fire him at the end of the season, it means they were dissatisfied with his performance -- because they have no way of knowing if any specific manager is coming to Chicago or if they'll even be available. Then again, maybe they do know through their inside channels.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I also feel it unlikely that media pressure will independently affect Theo/Jed's decision. The media has no power over this front office to force their hand. The FO has job security for the time being, and this is also their best chance to "train" the media so to speak as to how they do business and abate future tea-leaf readings.

    A couple exceptions: Could the media stir up a fire storm and accelerate the thinning of fan/ticket buyer patience with the rebuild? Possibly, but since no one has any really strong list of grievances against Sveum, I can see it quieting just as quick as it boiled up.

    And again, if the right long-term solution at manager becomes available one can see making a move... which is their approach as well to the major league roster.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know this assuming a lot, BUT bear with me...

    -What if Theo & Co. happen to think that Girardi is one of the top five managers in the game...

    -What if Theo & Co. happen to think that Sveum is not...

    -What if Theo & Co. have already had conversations with Girardi and/or his representatives through back channels...

    -What if Girardi has given the Cubs some type of indication that he'd want the job...

    -What if Ricketts has given Theo every assurance that he supports the rebuild wholeheartedly and that he isn't on some artificial timeline to have a winner by X date...

    Then why wouldn't the Cubs make the decision to fire Sveum and hire Girardi (even if they know they're still a couple of years away from being "winners")?

    What's more, if all of the above were true, wouldn't we WANT Theo & Co to make that move?

    Under what circumstances wouldn't we want them to? Even if, say, we think that, according to some advanced metric, managers don't affect wins and losses all that much, isn't giving the team every opportunity possible to win (including by hiring the best manager possible) important enough that they make this move (assuming they don't have to overpay for Girardi)?

    This isn't to say all of the above is true, but it certainly seems like a very plausible scenario, and it's why I'm at least open to the possibility of the Cubs firing Sveum and hiring Girardi.

  • In reply to LBJCubfan:

    That is a scenario that would make sense... firing Sveum for a long-term improvement in Giardi. I don't see the Cubs firing Sveum and then rolling the dice to see if Giardi or someone else might be interested. Since Sveum is under contract, they don't need to roll the dice. It would need to be along the lines as you described or it happens after the World Series. Just because the media hopes for a decision right after the season concludes doesn't mean one will come then.

  • Taking the corporate HR approach to this, Sveum is given the best roster to manage that the FO can put together to start the year. He is told his mid-year review will be primarily based on whether the team he will manage is at .500 at the trade deadline. If it is he will be given additional (better) player resources to go forward with, if it is not, his veteran players will be used in asset transfers for the overall good of the company. He is also told his year-end review will be primarily based on overall player/team development, not wins and losses. Therefore, he should understand that his reviewable goals are to show incremental improvement in wins at the start of the season and to develop overall by the end. In addition, his personal KPI's will be dealing with the media, leadership, morale, effort, etc.

    His first season, he is reviewed, but not held accountable for reaching or not reaching his goals. His second season, he has been reviewed, and we are waiting to find out if he has been held accountable and to what extent. It would appear, however, that his mid-year review was scored low with a "needs improvement" rating. His year-end review is open for debate, but obviously we can see why he appears to be nervous. If he was written up at his mid-year and didn't turn those issues around in the second half, he will face the consequences, even if some of his KPI's are rated good to excellent.

  • Having one LHRP the last two years, tells you all you need to know about the concern for wins by the FO. Player development and managing towards
    their system will be the evaluation.

    If he is fired Monday, there will be pressure to hire Joe by the fan base, even if he isn't their first choice.

  • What are Sveum's strengths? What does he do well? He's not good w/ the press. He lacks charisma, which is surprising. I thought when they hired him he would be a strong presence, but he's a bit of a nebbish. He doesn't inspire the players to "give it their all." His line-ups are baffling. He doesn't even come up w/ any good one liners.

    In other words: Keep him for one more year. Time his replacement to come in fresh after what promises to be another losing season. Whoever it is will not have a tough act to follow and will seem like a genius and we'll save the extra $$$ to spent on talent.

  • I think he is gone to get a head start on girardi/whoever else they have on their list

  • Great stuff everyone. Really like the balanced takes here.

  • Thanks John for the all the blogs!

    I was briefly watching the Yankees game last night on ESPN (don't ask me why). The announcers were discussing Girardi's status. A few things worry me about Joe's decision to come here or not They stated he and his family just purchased a new home in NY this year. Secondly, his daughter is now a freshman in high school and varsity cheer leader. Not sure if these a significant deal breakers, lets hope not.

  • Personally, I don't think he's to blame for a dismal season. I don't agree with everything he's done, but am not going to bash the guy. MY loyalty is to the Cubs and I have the highest level of confidence in this FO.

    Whether he's canned or not, my sleep pattern(s) will not change.

    No matter who the skipper is for 2014. The real difference maker is going to be bounce back season from Castro & Rizzo, the FA signings/trades and development of Baez & Bryant (can either make an impact in 2014?), etc....

    Girardi would have lost 90+ games this season too.....

  • I never feel too sorry for someone who gets let go and still collects 100% of their salary, until the contract is over.

  • I don't know whether Sveum will be fired or not but I do think the FO is strongly considering it. With the possibilities of Girardi, Mike Scioscia, Mike Maddux (if Washington is fired) and Ron Gardenhire being available, there are probably a lot of teams that are considering making moves.

    I think Girardi is considering it as well. Didn't he grow up a Cubs fan in the area? We all know he came up with the team as a player. He's already proven himself with a payroll driven team with the Yankees and the opposite with the Marlins. I think he would like to be that guy that manages the Cubs to a World Series.

  • Raicel Iglesias has defected. Is this a potential target? Seems like another small stature/destined for bullpen type?

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    I don't think so, but I don't know on that right now.

  • I don't think he's to blame for the bad years by Castro and Rizzo. I would have liked to have seen Maddux and still wouldn't mind but it's a bad precedent to fire someone without just cause. All that said, I trust the FO would only do so if they had insights we're not aware of.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    By the way John, appreciate the way you balance the viewpoints above, I'd rather hear both sides of the argument then one!

  • I think Girardi has had his people reach out , Yankees farm system stinks, payroll is shrinking, the core is old and the future gets worse each year in NY. Conversely the Cubs have some of the best positional prospects in baseball 1-3 years away, a core of a few young Major league players, manageable payroll that can be increased in the near future and the lure of coming home. Girardi would be nuts not to have his agent at least see if Theo would have interest. I also don't think Sveum is that guy to take the Cubs to the World Series. Time to strike is now .

  • The more I think about this, the more I'm guessing player development has been the primary deal for Sveum.

    Theo is always thinking of the future, right? Well, guess who's about to come to the MLB -- Baez and probably Bryant. Player development might become an even bigger priority for the Cubs than it has in the past couple of years.

    I think if Sveum stays, it's because the front office deemed Rizzo's and Castro's performances this year as outliers. If they don't deem them outliers, I think Sveum is gone. Simply put, the Cubs can't afford another year like this year.

  • I don't think some people here appreciate just how much Girardi loves the Cubs. It is his DREAM job. I will be very surprised if he is not in the Cubs dugout next April.

  • Dale Sveum is unprofessional and incompetent. He needs to
    be terminated Monday. Hopefull, Girardi will be available.

  • In reply to ELAN:

    He's a baseball guy, I could see in a different context being characterized as unprofessional, but I haven't seen anything like that from Dale....let's compare him with Ozzie...

  • John, I don't get the "they don't know if Girardi is available". At 5:00 Eastern time on Sunday, he is available. Same for Gardenhire.
    To me, a lot of it just comes down to business. The finances of this team are in a freefall. Actual attendance was less than 2 million this year. They have to make some kind of splash, and I don't think they have the money to get any big name players.
    Other factor is, you going to give Sveum and extension? To bring him back for one year would be a disaster. He is already having trouble keeping the troops in order at the end of the season.
    Bottom line, to me this diverts attention from the real problem with this franchise. The Wrigley field debacle is slowly sucking the life out of the organization, yet they just seem to let it simmer. Action is needed now.

  • May not want to leave NY. Until he is truly open to leaving, then I consider him unavailable.

    They won't make this decision based on attendance. They'll decide it based on Sveum's performance and if they decide to let him go, then that's fine.

  • If available I vote for Girardi. He did a real good job with the hapless Marlins in their rebuilding mode. Problems I see with him is he will have the whole team going to the barber for a shave and a haircut which might not bode well with such a young team. He will also speak his mind to Rickets and I don't believe thats what Theo and Co. want to have happen.

  • That's a great piece, John. I like how you explored both sides of each idea.

    I think a few things:

    --The FO's job security isn't on the line if they don't win by 2015. They'll have a couple of more years than that, IMO. I think they'll win by then though and I think they think they will too. As we know "ready to win" just means that they have to get into the top third of the NL coming down the stretch. That's been done a lot.

    --I think Joe Girardi, having already won a ring, would in fact take a two year rebuilding job provided it was with the Cubs. A championship with the Cubs will go down as one of the biggest in the history of American sports at this point. Plus he's a Chicago guy, obviously. Not that you don't already know that, I just think he would take THIS 2 year rebuild.

    --I think Dale absolutely is a two or three year guy and that's evidenced to me by the fact that he wasn't their first choice by most accounts when they came in. He was their second (or maybe even lower if there's something we don't know) choice out of a weak-ish group of managerial candidates. This year's group could feature their original first choice Mike Maddux, Joe Girardi (most poular choice amongst the majority of fans I would guess), potentially Scioscia, potentially Gardenhire, and maybe even another guy or two out of the woodwork. That's a strong group. If more than one of those guys steps up and shows genuine interest, as I'm sure the FO has anticipated, its going to be hard not to bring in another guy.

    --I don't think Ricketts or the ownership group in general is above suggesting a managerial change. Nor should they be. Owners who get bad press for "meddling" are guys that step out. It probably happens a lot more than gets talked about in the media. Things like that can and should be done subtly and behind closed doors to protect the GM. I don't think there's anything wrong at all with a round table discussion between ownership (which is really a group of several men) and the FO discussing HUGE moves like managerial changes and 100MM commitments. The draft, the Feldman trade, waiver claims, Rule 5 pick-ups, the 40 man roster...they stay out of all that "day to day" stuff; the baseball operations. But what huge baseball move ever happens without ownership involvement?

    --Its not looking good for Dale. He's in a real tough spot and I feel for him genuinely.

    --My view has shifted and at this point, I think they should bring in a new guy. I'm no longer neutral. If he stays its just going to be Dale Sveum firing watch when they start out slow next year. I think they should bring in a new guy now, PROVIDED THE RIGHT GUY WANTS THE JOB. There does figure to be some really good choices. None of us can deny that, regardless of whether or not we think Dale should be fired.

    --Since so many of us agree that managerial prowess is somewhat overrated, why not bring in a guy who's a little bit of a face and has some cred. A little media pop never hurt anyone. It certainly, certainly will not hurt. They've lost more games in the last two years than in any other two year stretch.

  • fb_avatar

    I hope Theo and Jed aren't making decisions based on worries about how it might speed up the timetable of when they will be judged on whether their program for success is working. Personally, I don't think we can evaluate that until revenues increase to the point where the Cubs are proceeding as a big market team and the rebuild is being addressed on that front in addition to all the ones currently in place (which may not come during Theo's current contract).

    This decision should be simple. If Sveum is a guy Theo and Jed believe can develop the young players currently on the roster and the new ones coming in, then he should stay. If not, he should go. I don't think they want Baez and Bryant - if they are promoted next year - getting acclimated to Sveum for a good chunk of 2014 and then a new voice in 2015.

    I think Sveum should go, but only if Theo and Jed are sure they can get Gardenhire (all Twins fans I know were saying he was not a good manager even when they were winning), if they think he is their guy. Or Girardi. Or Scioscia. Somebody they entrust to develop young talent at the MLB level. Sveum does seem to have failed to some degree in that regard as well as in the all-important area of getting players to have quality at bats.

    My guess is that Theo would not have let all this doubt creep up about Sveum if he did not know he was going to make a change.

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    I also didn't think Sveum would be fired at first. I still think odds are he stays but now I feel there is at least a 30 percent chance he will go. The media is in a frenzy of speculation now. You would think the FO would trickle out word that Sveum is safe. Even if it was strategic leaks. The lack of that causes some concern for Dale. You do worry cause previous ownership did make moves to "soothe" the fan base. The fear being a loss of ticket revenue and a fall in tv ratings. We saw in 2007 with Sori and other moves the long term damage that could cause. I can't help but think in the back of my mind wouldn't Cub fan favorite Joe Girardi help ticket sales and excitement? On the other hand Girardi did help develop the young Marlins in 06. So would he be a real asset to the young players? But I think Dale was give a very tough job. I don't think he deserves a quick hook.

  • Paul Sporer at BP responded to this question on Arrieta today.

    Matt (Chicago): Paul , folks here in Chicago are beginnng to drink Arrieta Kool-Aid. Is this a fool's errand? Have you seen any changes over the last couple of months that lead you to believe the improvement is sustainable?

    Paul Sporer: Not at all. He's being driven by a .239 BABIP despite a career-worst 25% LD rate which screams some very good fortune. Any .239 BABIP has some good fortune behind it, but this one is PURE luck.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    This is the kind of thing where the stat geeks lose their credibility. To anyone who has watched him pitch with the Cubs, to say he has just been getting lucky is asinine. The guy has electric stuff, when he pounds the strike zone, he gets outs.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Cant say it will continue or not, but with his games with the Cubs his LD rate is 16% & improved his GB rate to 46% from 33% with Baltimore. At least those numbers are trending in the right direction.

  • I have many qualms with Sveum, but I think he should stay, and I think he has earned it. It may seem ass backwards, but I really believe that.

    What is there? 1 year left? If he can learn from mistakes that were of his doing the last couple of years, and improve upon it, sure, let's give him one more shot.

  • The amount of comments on this blog so far about the possible firing of the Cubs' manager shows that it was a terrible decision to create this build-up the way the front office has. This is a situation I am unimpressed with.

  • To clarify; I'm not saying that I'm above commenting about it or judging anyone else. I have commented about it. I'm simply stating that this was a poor move by the front office. This is not how these things should play out. Perhaps new information will come out that causes me to change my mind.

  • The list of things more important than a manager to the success or failure of a baseball team is too long to list. I know it may seem flippant, but I couldn't care less who manages the team, with the one caveat that the guy not be a complete tool who alienates an entire team like a Bobby V.

  • Anybody who says a manager really does not make much difference, never watched many Cub games under Mike Quade.

  • Those examples go both ways. Many think Clint Hurdle -- and even Mike Sciociscia are bad managers, yet both have found success. The Angels have obviously had talent while Pittsburgh took a step forward in terms of overall talent. We know what Hurdle can do with a bad team -- which is lose a lot of games. He now has a good team, and he's winning. And where are seeing what happens when Sciocscia isn't getting good years from his best players -- he's below .500.

  • The nmanager is all options to the casual fan.

    I will say one thing that has troubled me about Sveum - calling out specific player's performance in the press.

    I have learned, first hand, while in industry and working with amateur athletes that is a ineffective method (and a sign of poor leadership) to address issues.

    Issues need to be handled in private, one on one, not in a public forum.

  • I'm not sure that at this point the Cubs could keep Sweum even if they wanted. Baseball is a business and the Cubs are selling a product.

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    I dont give a flying crap who The Cubs would replace Sveum with , just get us some wins and develop The kids properly,,, Sveum had struggles with both and nobody called for Dallas greens head when he canned Lee Elia 1.3 years into his deal

  • First, this is a business. In business, if the resource you have managing the project demonstrate they can’t get the job done, then you replace them. We have the same parallel in my company. We have an R&D project that will determine the fate of our company. It has hit a snag in the last few months and we’ve determined that some of the resources working on the project no longer have the skill set or experience required to get the project over the finish line. We have a “point A to Point B to point C” issue. We found a person more skilled in specific areas we need to manage and complete the project.

    The first manager did their job. However, he is demonstrating that he is not skilled enough to finish it. Nothing against him, he’s done a fine job up until the last few months. As the project has bogged down, we are spending additional money and delaying market entry causing revenue delays. Now, we need a “White Knight” to take us to the next level.

    The ownership and front office of this team are much more professional and baseball savvy than we have had in the past (perhaps save for Dallas Green/Andy McKenna). My guess is that they will make the same evaluation and a change will be made based upon the evaluation that will rate Dale Sveum’s performance and projected ability to get the Cubs to the Championship. If they deem he is unable to do that based on their observation and assessment, then he will be gone. If he is, the will stay. One does not change on a whim only because someone else looks better. If Sveum is moved, it because of performance.

  • In reply to Indy57:

    That's all good stuff and I agree. And like you say, the part we don't know is how the office has evaluated Sveum and what they've held him responsible for. If he hasn't achieved the goals they had set for him, then they should let him go. That is a fair evaluation process.

  • Somehow my first sentence got mangled.

    I meant to type: "a manager is all optics to the casual fan".

    I gues the typing class I took in high school didn't stick........

  • It is just too easy to imagine a scenario where Sveum stays for next year, Castro and Rizzo have great years next year, and a year from now people are posting about how great Sveum is at developing talent.

    I hope they keep him. And if they keep him, I think they should give him a one year extension. First class organizations do not send out a lame duck manager.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    What you said Richard,.... give the man a one year extension, project stability for the upcoming years,.... and show some class.

    You can always fire him as you go along if you need to anyway.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:


  • I think Sevum has done a good job, with the tools he has been given. Especially with two straight mid-season sell-offs.

    Give him a year more - give him an extension or at least an option for an extension for one extra year.


    Then give him a team NOT designed to be sold off at the trade deadline for long-term assets & see what he can do. How many different players have started a game this year?

  • Take 3 for "Are they really waiting to hire Girardi?" would be that they want to create the mgr opening as soon as possible so Girardi will know that option is there when he makes his own future decision, which will also be coming soon.....

    I'm not for canning Sveum, maybe he deserves at least another year with all of the player-flipping that has been going on, but OTOH I'm not really encouraged with the development of our two key position players (Castro & Rizzo) under his watch, either.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Maybe -- but that's not something they can count on. They either have to act like he's not going to be there or have good information that he will.

    I actually think Take 2 on the first question is probably correct. It's protocol for them to do this after the season ends regardless and my guess is Sveum had a similar evaluation last year on that day-- we just didn't hear about it because there was no serious talk of him being fired.

  • This FO is geared toward the future. When it comes to player development the manager will have to have an impact in that area. So far, I don't see that as Sveum's strength. To announce that a decision will be made on Monday is not a vote of confidence it seems like a signal that he's done and they are moving to the next point in their plans.

  • I honestly don't believe the FO has decided on what they'll do with Sveum until after they have a chance to talk to him Monday. If I'm doing the evaluation I like to ask an employee how they would assess their performance and what do they believe they could've done better. An astute Dale Sveum should answer that development of their young impact talent wasn't up to par and game management remains a challenge. This is not a manager that should run the club when the Cubs are competitive- he just doesn't have the type of drive or ability to will his team to win, but I say Sveum is the favorite to stay next season based on the support the current team has for him and the lack of impact talent to make the team a winner. But if Theo/Jed are smart they'll immediately dump Deer and Rowson to send a message that the failure to improve plate discipline is NOT going to be tolerated.

  • Id say besides the lack of development of the core. This team has underachieved. I believe this team is better than a 67-68 win team.

    Their isn't a projected standings that have them close to their actual record, maybe its dumb luck but they should be 7-8 wins better. It could be poor game management.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    It probably WOULD be 7-8 (or more) wins better were it not for that atrocious bullpen to start the season. That's not on Dale, IMO.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    It could be. Bullpen performance is also a variable that can create a gap there. But it's been pretty established that they're not concerned about wins and losses at all.

  • Sveum end of season evaluation.

    Dale: I've been in baseball as long as Joe.

    Theo: I served in the AL east with Joe Girardi.
    Joe Girardi is a friend of mine.
    Dale, you are no Joe Girardi!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Theo: You have done a heck of a job Sveumie.

    Dale: I we I'll go clean out my desk!

  • Weeks ago when this subject was brought up, I stated that the Cubs last game of the season would be Sveum' s last day as Cubs manager. It's not that he is not a good guy, knowledgeable, or fortituteous. He just has not done enough to distinquish himself. Baseball is a results business. I hope that I have not offended anybody.

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