The Chicago Cubs Fire Dale Sveum

The Chicago Cubs Fire Dale Sveum

Today, Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs made official what many fans saw coming weeks ago when the dreaded vote of confidence was given. The matter became even more obvious when Epstein met with the media and failed to give Dale Sveum that same vote of confidence. Instead, he just stated that everything would be evaluated at the end of the season. If that were not enough, things could not have been made more clear when Epstein stated the fate of Sveum would be revealed on Monday, the day after the season ended.

Unfortunately for Sveum, Monday is here. After getting swept out of the 2013 season, Sveum has been informed that he will not return as manager of the Cubs/ Many fans would call this a no-brainer after the Cubs and their fans suffered though two seasons of underwhelming baseball which saw them lose a total of 197 games.

However, the poor record is not the reason Sveum was fired, at least not completely. Epstein said countless times that Sveum would not be evaluated based on the record the Cubs put up under his tenure. Instead, he would be judged upon how well he did in his job as caretaker of the young and budding franchise. He had one job when he was hired, and while every manager wants to lead a successful ball club, winning was not what he was hired to do. His only job was to help the young players grow, and develop into the cornerstones of the Cubs rebuilding efforts into the superstars they were envisioned to be.

Because there was not improvement under Sveum’s leadership, a managerial move had to be made to get the Cubs on the right track. There had to be a different voice in the Cubs clubhouse that could get the most out of the players the Cubs are counting on to be main contributors of a potential World Series winning team. The most important players in Sveum’s first two years all took steps back in 2013 after taking small steps forward and looking to be coming in their own.

Jeff Samardzija, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were three players that were left in Sveum’s hands. He was supposed to help them develop into superstars. Under his care, all three players took steps in the right direction in 2012. They appeared to be coming into form and appeared as though their ceiling could be unlimited. With how well they played, both players received lengthy contract extensions which would keep both players in the Cubs organization until their 30s. Castro received his extension in August of 2012, with Rizzo agreeing to his deal this past May. A Samardzija contract extension seemed to be just around the corner as well because of the steps forward he took last season.

Despite their slow starts, the talent they both displayed last year had fans drooling at how good they could be and could not wait to see how they would progress they would display in 2013. Instead they all regressed to the point where fans were wondering if they truly had a future with the Cubs World Series championship team. Castro saw his strikeouts go up while his walks and batting average plummeted. Rizzo also saw his stats go the wrong direction as he embarked in his first full year in the big leagues. In his half season last year, Rizzo dazzled hitting .285 while smashing 15 homeruns and 48 RBI in just 87 games. Unfortunately, while he was able to almost double his power stats in almost twice as many games, like Castro his batting average plummeted. Samardzija also saw regression. His ERA went up a half run from 3.81 to 4.33. He looked as though he lost the edge he had when he forced his way into the starting rotation.

With the young stars taking steps back, someone had to be held responsible and that someone is Sveum. With several more young players getting closer and closer to the big leagues Epstein wanted to get a new voice in the clubhouse, one that could be the leader and teacher he was hoping he had when he hired Sveum.

With as many rumors as there are about who will be replacing Sveum as leader of the Cubs, I doubt the fans will have to wait too long to find out who the new manager is. The hottest name in the rumor mill is former Cub Joe Girardi, though the name of former Houston Astro Brad Ausmus has also been floated out there as a possible replacement.

Whoever replaces Sveum has a tough job in front of him, though after the two years Cub fans just suffered through, expectations will be rather low.

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