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joe girardi managerI’ll say up front that I’m plenty comfortable with the Cubs going into 2014 with Dale Sveum and his coaching staff still at the helm. The rosters of 2012 and 2013 have been designed to generate two things: (1) development, and (2) flippable assets. The efficacy of Sveum’s leadership with respect to the latter can’t really be questioned. On the first, I know some will point to the apparent regressions of core pieces like Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Jeff Samardzija. We could debate each of those players – or point to obvious development success stories like Travis Wood and Welington Castillo – but I’ll probably leave each of those for another day.

The subject of this post, which is being offered largely as a discussion piece in light of my ongoing home move (which will keep me out of the loop for most of the day), is the impending free agency of another manager: Joe Girardi.

A favorite son of Chicago, Girardi was a popular managerial suggestion in each of the Cubs’ last three vacancies (with varying levels of plausibility). Ken Rosenthal writes about the decisions that lie ahead of the current Yankees skipper as he heads into the offseason, suggesting that the Cubs would be desperately interested in landing Girardi. The article is worth a read.

The value of a manager – in terms of added wins – is the subject of a great deal of debate, whereas the contract value of a “name” manager like Girardi is quite clear: he’d be expensive. Rosenthal says Girardi is believed to be at the end of a three-year, $9 million deal, and he’s likely to get a raise the next time around – be it from the Yankees, who’d like to have him back, or from another suitor.

Against that backdrop, have at it, folks. Should the Cubs be active in any Girardi free agency? (“You have to sign them when they’re available.”) Should Sveum be given another year (he’s still under contract for 2014), to continue seeing the Cubs’ development process come to fruition? Sveum was, after all, the hand-picked selection of this front office, and – a few bunts notwithstanding – he seems to have a keen grasp on the kinds of things a modern, statistically-inclined front office would want to see.

  • SenorGato

    Girardi is one of the best and one of my favorite managers in the league. Yes please, no offense to Sveum.

  • BlameHendry

    We could have a winning record and I still wouldn’t like Sveum purely because I can’t stand his managing style. It’s like common sense completely escapes him sometimes. The way he handles his pitching staff makes me sick. His line-up constructions are counter-intuitive. When it comes to baserunning it’s just mind-boggling. He is also very inconsistent when it comes to discipline. He has knee-jerk over-reactions like yanking Starlin out of a game because of a gaffe but lets all kinds of other equivalent gaffes and performance shortcomings go like they never even happened. He is either too lax with discipline and pressure, or too harsh, and never in between. Also, this is minor, but when a fan criticized Sveum for always looking like he woke up under a bridge every day, he captured it perfectly. The guy always looks like a bum. Can we get someone who actually looks like a professional?

    Joe Girardi has been a little handcuffed with a team full of over-the-hill declining old players, but I much prefer his style of managing. I really hope the Cubs pursue him and give Quade Part 2 the boot.

    • Satch Dobrey

      I agree 100% about Sveum. The guy looks like a bum because he is one…(no harm intended)

      • mjhurdle

        if you mean vagrant, then i very much doubt Sveum is one.
        if you mean he is devoted to one activity, then yes, i would agree that he is a baseball bum

    • Cubs_Questions

      Do you have any examples to back up your criticisms of Sveum?

      • TOOT

        Where does one start?

  • themusicbox

    Even under joe the cubs would still suck donkey nuts this year. I say keep sveum and lets see what he can do next year.

    • Senor Cub

      They can keep Joe. Their is a 0 percent chance that the cubs would go after him. He’s had the highest payroll in baseball for a few years now and hasn’t done much with it. He would have one of the worst teams in baseball with a middle of pack payroll. No thanks. Loved him in Chicago wish him nothing but the best in his future just as long as it’s not with the Cubs.

      • AdamAE24

        Ya, that dude hasn’t done anything besides…
        Winning the World Series in 2009
        Wild Card in 2010 (and literally 1 win away from being the 1 seed)
        #1 seed in 2011
        #1 seed in 2012

        And has a team with a -15 run differential 3 games out of a playoff spot this year.

        He’s not the GM, he doesn’t hand out contracts. The Yankees are aging and have some bloated contacts. Thats not Girardi’s fault

  • MightyBear

    Anthony Rizzo is nominated for the Roberto Clemente award. I’d like to see him win that. That would be nice.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Girardi: his resume is EXACTLY what the Cubs need.

    First, his IE degree from Northwestern means he thoroughly understands statistical applications and motivating people and how and when to use both. IEs are the engineers usually promoted to run operations – plant managers – and so, I think it fair to say Joe has been an excellent plant manager in baseball. Being a catcher, a position well known to turn out excellent baseball minds – from Connie Mack to Branch Rickey on up to the present day in Joe Maddon, Jim Leyland, Joe Torre, Mike Scioscia, Bob Brenly, and Bruce Bochy – leads one to think we should be interested in this Chicago Catching Joe.

    Second, his most recent time in New York reflects an ability to deal with a whole array of issues. He has managed the oldest team in baseball (31.8), the A-Rod circus, the Jeter decline, and a Yankee record 56 players in 2013. Oh, and they are above .500 with their biggest mid-season acquisition being Alfonso Soriano, who got religion, and put up better stats in NYC. (Maybe Girardi, maybe not….)

    Third, he’s dealt with dip shit owners (Loria & Steinbrenner); and can manage pretty well with a massive payroll (WS Champs) or the lowest ($15 mil) in Florida. He can handled the youngsters (Florida had the youngest by age in 2006); instills rules, and seems able to get good results. So, by and large, he’s:
    1) Successful with a wide array of circumstances
    2) Can handle cranky owners (so imagine what happens when they are on the same page)
    3) Has the educational background and baseball pedigree to go with on-field successes to support a hire

    Maybe Theo & Jed are happy and content with Sveum. But if Girardi is interested in talking, and they are interested in him at all, it is a no brainer to me. The salary he may want is negotiation – and that comes when it comes.

    Managers may not win you more games, some argue, but at the margins, anyone in his position has direct influence on the lineups, pitching changes, and in-game stuff I hear plenty bitch about on this site. Girardi seems very complete as a manager, and has the overall records, and the intellectual horsepower from a prestigious university to support his worthiness as the Cubs manager.

    That’s my opinion.

    • Jason P

      I agree. The only thing that would stink about losing Sveum is that would we would also lose Bosio, who is in my opinion one of the better pitching coaches in the league.

      Sveum probably hasn’t been given a fair chance to prove himself, but I think it can be said with reasonable certainty that Girardi would be an upgrade.

      • Blublud

        If Bosio is under contract, losing Svrum won’t mean losing Bosio unless the FO wants him to leave.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        That’s not a guarantee proposition. I am sure Bosio can stay if Theo and Jed desire that outcome. He is independent of that.

        Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone worked in Atlanta for 16 seasons (1990-2005.) Mazzone left in 2005, and went to Baltimore thereafter. Cox stayed. And I bet that relationship was tighter than any Sveum/Bosio pairing.

        • Jason P

          That’s true, but it seems like managers –especially big-name managers like Girardi — tend to like to pick their own staff. Our lack of big-league talent hurts our chances considerably to begin with of getting Girardi, and I’m sure telling him his most important assistant coach wouldn’t be his choice wouldn’t help matters, either.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            I think he’ll get over it. (He’s been in worse cases….)

            • demz

              You really want Rothschild back here in Chicago?

              I sure don’t.

              • al_einstein

                Why not? Rothschild is clearly one of the best in the game. Most cubs fans didn’t realize how good he was until after he left. Bosio had done a good job, especially considering what he has had to work with, and happy to have him, but it wouldn’t disappoint me to have a Girardi/Rothschild tandem in Chicago.

      • Reality Check

        Signing Girardi, if he is interested; is a NO brainer.

        Move on from Dale Quade.

        • bbmoney

          whoa…ohhh…I see what you did there.

    • KBwsb

      That was really well put. My knee-jerk reaction had been “Why the hell would we need an expensive manager when we won’t even compete for another 2 years?”

      But that post made me think twice.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    I hope Theo makes a statement on Sveum’s future the day after the season ends because this site is going to go ape until he does.

    Thanks Brett.

    In any event, the Front Office has been clear that they are judging Sveum on some internal metrics that go bring what we see every day on the field. We don’t know how he’s doing on that scorecard. If he’s doing well I don’t think they’ll look at Girardi. Several reasons:

    1. Successful people don’t jump ship for something new and shiny when things are going well.
    2. Management is people business and the FO has invested a lot in Sveum learning the people in this system and building relationships and rapport.
    3. Theo and Jed know the value of a manager is hard to quantify. I am sure they love Girardi but recall they didn’t even give Francona a shot. Which is to say that while trying to keep payroll down I’m not sure signing Girardi is in the budget.

    Now who knows what Theo’s Dale-o-Meter looks like? What I will say isa lot of people sound like broken records… I recall the same complaints made about Sveum being made against Quade, Piniella, Baker, Baylor… everyone. And their the same complaints I hear in every town about their club’s manager.

    And about Piniella quitting… ya know… his mom was dying. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      No 3: ” I’m not sure signing Girardi is in the budget. ”

      I hope the budget is flexible if he is the right hire.

      I haven’t said much for or against Sveum. He maybe the right person for the present team as constructed. BUT, going forward, I see more upside to hiring Girardi if he does really want to test the waters.

      Whatever they invested in Sveum is a sunk cost; they can abandon that route at anytime, to receive what they project are greater (or more successful outcomes) with Girardi, or anyone else. No matter how well they think they are doing, successful people are LOOKING for better opportunities always. (Risk/Reward – they will weigh all the outcomes, make the decision they calculated.)

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I agree with you. I’m suggesting that IF (big if that we don’t know) the perspective of the Front Office is that Sveum is hitting the marks they set for him, then I’m not sure they’re going to expend precious (as they seem to be now) budget resources for a guy who might (assuming they already think Sveum is doing the right things) might be worth a fraction of a win next year. Of course, if they think Sveum isn’t making the marks, then maybe they think Giardi is worth 1-2 wins more than Sveum, and that could be a great pick-up.

    • Blublud

      I was actually pretty happy with Paniella and Baker.

  • Sean

    I think the 2014 season should again be about developing young players, flipping assets, and getting a top 10 draft pick again in next years draft

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      I think it should be about MLB growth and showcasing the future.

      Starting out with the “we should suck” goal is a pretty stasis objective. We’ve done that – for like – the better (worst) part of a century.

      Off-season:
      1) Make a substantial trade that fixes some offense issues, or lines up a top of the rotation arm

      2) Pick 1-2 minor leaguers to move up after April, so we can see a glimpse of the future (Alcantara, Kyle Hendricks) that does not endanger any development plans for the BIG 4-5. Because: Hendricks is at AAA now, and probably needs only another 5 starts to have 400 IP in the minors. 100IP at AAA. Alcantara likely is better than Barney, younger by 5 years, and has developed in 1800 PAs. Give him a month at AAA, if he’s legit, bring him up.

      3) Acquire 1 Position FA we think can be a solid asset for 2-3 years
      4) Acquire 1 Reclamation SP for a 1-2 year prove it deal; flip as desired

      That gets the ball rolling towards success, not stasis.

  • jon

    If the Cubs hired Girardi what kind of position would that put the “Shoulda hired Dat Sandberg” meatballs? Would they back down, since the Cubs hired a former player. He does bring “Da fire and Da passion”

    • Blublud

      I don’t think the Cubs should hire a manager based off his connection to the Cubs. The need to hire a manager that can develop prospects and turn them into legit players.

      I’m not sure, but off the top of my head, Girardi has done a great job of that in NY.

      My hire would be Joe Maddon, but that’s in a fantasy world.

      • Blublud

        Meant Girardi has not done a great job.

        • jh03

          Why do you think Girardi hasn’t done a great job?! There’s a great chance he wins the AL Coach of the Year despite the fact his team won’t make the postseason. The way he handled all the drama, and a not-so-good lineup was outstanding.

          • Blublud

            Reread and you see this was a correction. I said he hasn’t done a great job developing prospects.

            • jh03

              Gotcha. My bad.

      • MichiganGoat

        You would hate Maddon as a manager, he would bench Lake 50% of the games and have a different lineup everyday. And he’s all about Sabermetrics.why would you want a guy that does the exact things that frustrate you with Sveum.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          That’s true. Maddon would drive blublud insane.

        • Blublud

          I don’t have a problem with benching Lake. I would prefer our roster be so good, that Lake wouldn’t even be good enough to play for us. My problem is who they are benching Lake to play.

          I’m not even opposed to sabermetrics. I researched a lot of metrics and have come to understand them very well. I just don’t think they should dismiss other stats that are also important. And I don’t like how some people who use them take the human element out of the game. I do believe in clutch performers, and I do believe in hustle and playing the game with heart.

          Maddon gets results, and has done so for a while, and with a mostly home grown team of prospects. He has done a great job of developing young players. I’m hoping that’s what the Cubs are headed for. That’s why I have never bashed Theo for not going crazy in free agency.

          I love Theo and I think if I had to grade him on his 2 seasons, I would give him an A+. He has stocked the system. Hendry left him with a deep system and he has added most of the star power to it.

          Sveum on the other hand has been a disaster. He runs his mouth to much. Never accepts blame and always blames his players. His in game coaching is horrendous, and his lineups scream anything but sabermetrics. I don’t think we should fire him, as I think he was brought in to be (I know, sounds crazy) but once his contract is up, I would not bring him back.

          • Blublud

            I meant he was brought in to be bad.

            I never said Lake is a super star. I just said he should be playing everyday as his splits are pretty good as of right now. Also based off what we have, he is our best OF going into next season.

          • baldtaxguy

            Maddon’s first two managerial seasons yielded 101 and 96 losses, respectively. I’m not comparing Sveum to Maddon, or the Rays then to the Cubs now, but I’d like to see Sveum with another season or two with a bit more more talent. I think its easy when a team loses a majority of their games to deem that the majority of the manager’s decisions suck.

            • Blublud

              Good point. I don’t think Sveum will make the same turn around however. If he remains a Cub, I hope he does.

  • Kevin

    If you want fans to fill up Wrigley and have some optimism moving forward hiring Girardi could only help. How many fans show up because Svuem is the manager?

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      So hire Sandberg away from Philly if that’s the goal. But it’s not the goal. The Cubs can bleed a little $ until they win.

    • Blublud

      If fans are coming to the game for the manager, then our team really sucks.

  • Brains

    Keep Sveum. What we hire Girardi to watch him lord over our team in shambles while the owners sue the city for 8 years? Forget it, we need a manager with a high thresh hold for pain. Sveum has done a good job and should be given some real players to work with before judgment is passed on his coaching skills. Some of you are just totally reactionary and incompetent.

  • Ivy Walls

    Let me repeat this until it begins to sink in. Turning around a sports team or program is not linear progression. If Girardi becomes available and is interested than by all means. He is more talented and possibly one of the best managers in the game. He has worked with teams retooling and teams that are mature.

    So the chatter by us is immaterial. And it is my opinion that Epstein and Hoyer would not hesitate a moment to bring him into the fold. As for Girardi wanting to come here he is a Chicagoan, and former Cub. He would love it.

  • FastBall

    If you can hire Joe Girardi you do it. I don’t really give a crap if it cost Ricketts $4MM a year. You spend more than that on a guy coming back from TJ surgery. So that part of it is a no brainer. Unless baseball ownership has a pact that they won’t pay any manager more than X $$. The Cubs need a leader who knows how to lead. Not some guy who they hoped could teach some fundamentals. I don’t like Sveum as a baseball guy. He was hired to learn how to manage at the same time teach guys how to bunt. Okay that is sarcasm. Fact is no decen’t manager wanted to preside over this pile of crap for 2 years. Managers are usually judged by their winning percentage. So managing the Cubs is like going in a hole you can never crawl out of. This team needs people who know how to win all over the damned place. Starting with the field leadership. If Joe Girardi is talking I’m listening even if I don’t like the Yankees. He knows a lot about the manager job in Chicago. Being a Cub and a Scholar from NW he must of be of some intellect. God if he was an IU grad I would love him even more. He was a lunch pale catcher for us. Now he shocked Miami with a result that nobody expected. With Yanks he has never disappointed his fan base. He has put a make shift lineup of has beens in playoff contention. Dealt with more media shit than Chicago media could dream of conjuring up. So he is the man for the job in all significant categories on your hiring check off sheet. Lastly these players will do what their told and know they better do it right the first time. Unlike the Sveum the Coddler. He is just like the wishy washy parents down the street. The kids get in trouble so they bitch about them getting in trouble. But do they enforce anything… not so much… you do that more than once with talented athletes your authority figure status ain’t crap. Now, not one player is going to come out and say anything bad about Sveum. Don’t want to end up like that 3rd baseman we don’ t have anymore. That would detrimental to your playing time if you get any. So fire Sveum the day after Christmas and hire Girardi or anyone who has managed a team and won a minimum of 1 world series. None of these other guys out there who haven’t done that don’t get an interview. Sorry if your an up and comer. Go learn in Houston.

    • bbmoney

      #you’re

  • Die hard

    Day late and dollar short — I predicted weeks ago that Sveum would be gone and in fact reiterated same as late as early this am before this thread started– if Brett starts a thread it means he’s already fit a tip that it may happen — my money is on Bud Black as I have stated before many times– I may also have mentioned JG– but point is now that Brett has alluded to the fact it’s even money that this may be it for Sveum— no tears from this corner as he’s been overmatched all season and totally inept at working with Ricketts family 2 biggest investments in Castro and Rizzo — don’t want to rile Poppa Ricketts — picture Ned Beatty calling in Sveum into the dimly lit conference room in Network– not pretty

    • Brains

      Ned Beatty from Network calling in Ned Beatty from Deliverance is more like it.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Reading people tell us what they know goes on behind the closed doors of the clubhouse or the front office and what all these characters really think of Dale Sveum…. is. really. fun.

    • mjhurdle

      are you trying to tell me random internet posters DONT know everything going on inside the clubhouse at all times?!
      I don’t believe you, because every time Junior Lake doesn’t start, or Barney starts over Watkins, there are about 15 people that will tell you there is ZERO reason for that. How could they say they unless they knew everything?

  • CUB5

    Girardi would be a coup for the Cubs, but does anyone seriously see him coming home at this stage? The Cubs are supposed to be on the up and up (at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me), but I have yet to see it. Joe won’t leave a team that can contend every year for a team with a 100+ year drought. Why would he? The only way I see him leaving is if he can’t get assurances for a quick rebuild once Jeter, Rivera, A-rod, etc. retire/leave.

    I would like the Cubs to pursue Ryno in some capacity. Give him a chance. He’s been a solid coach and did a great job for the Cubs minor league team. Keep Sveum for next year and see if progress is being made. If not, then bring in Ryno and let him cut his teeth.

    • ETS

      The yankees are a mess and sort of can’t win situation for a manager.

      Ryno ship has sailed.

  • cub2014

    Girardi isn’t coming next year unless
    they show they are done with rebuilding.
    Then their is a small chance. I am sure
    Girardi would love to be here if there is a
    world series on the radar.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Man, I sure hope we aren’t done with rebuilding. I would really hate to be stuck in the state we are in now.

      • cub2014

        Sign a couple of big league hitters
        and a quality starter and bring back
        some of our free agents, while
        bringing up our 2-3 rookies over the
        course of the year then in 2014 we will
        have turned the corner and probably
        an 80 plus win team by next year.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Badda bing badda boom. All we have to do is out-bid for a couple FA big bats (who), out-bid for a #3 SP (who) and bring back *some* FA that are on the current roster (who). I don’t have a problem with the 80 win mark you stated that is where I am already expecting them to be.

          • cub2014

            Who to bring back? Gregg,Sweeney and
            Navarro if he doesn’t go crazy on the open
            market

            • Cubbie Blues

              I’ll go with those, now how about the Free Agents?

              • cub2014

                cubbie blues, I mentioned earlier:
                sign: choo & someone like Arroyo
                trade for: Carols Gonzalez & Price
                if he can be signed long term and
                we only have to give up one of out
                top 5 prospects. For 2014 it would
                cost around 45m in payroll bump.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Not in this string you didn’t. If you want to have a conversation with someone, hit the reply button. Cargo and Price won’t happen (especially both). The cost would be too great. Also, Cargo and Price are not Free Agents. Isn’t that what you said in your original post?

                  • cub2014

                    Probably not on Price but I think
                    Gonzalez is a possibility he would
                    be controlled for several years at a
                    reasonable price. You were right I
                    didn’t mention trade in responding
                    to you but I did minutes before to
                    another poster. Oh and thanks for the
                    info on the “reply button” is that how
                    that works?

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      How would this trade to get Cargo go down? Also, your welcome on the reply button help. It looked like you were having difficulties.

            • Hansman1982

              Eh, I’d rather stay away from Gregg. Navarro isn’t likely to land here by Sweeney will be back.

  • cub2014

    the Cubs cant afford another year
    of junk. No one will go to the games.
    Next year it has to start. I have backed
    this FO from day one. I believe they will
    do all they can to field a winning team in
    2014

    • cub2014

      Cubs will finish this year only better than the Marlins in OBP and BA. They’ll finished around 6th in slugging and 12th in runs. They must have a couple OBP guys they are not that far away. The ERA and runs allowed this year will be one of the lowest in the last 20 years (only 09,08,04,03 were similar but slightly lower). This years stats should have translated to 85-90 wins. We must get some major league hitters that can get on base.

  • cub2014

    Wrigley if they drop to 27000 average
    attendance compared to a normal
    decent team this will be the cost (not
    including non ballpark or souvenier
    related).
    10000patrons x 81games x$80 avg
    spent = $65M just at the park.

    • cub2014

      that’s going from 37k per game to 27k
      per game

  • cub2014

    sign : Choo 13-15m
    Arroyo 6-7m
    trade: *Gonzalez 11m
    **Price 11m
    that’s 42 million, with everyone
    else in place that should be a
    playoff team.
    *to Colo: Samardijza,Schierholtz &
    Pinyero or Underwood or ?
    **to Tampa: Christian Villanueva or
    Olt,Soler,Black or Johnson,Raley,
    Grimm or Ramirez.
    I know it would probably take more.

  • Scott

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Girardi, either! But for heaven’s sake, if you are going to go out of your way to sign him, you also need to (more or less) give him a free pass until he has a roster to work with that can actually be considered a legit contender.

  • Brains

    The only way we’re signing Girardi is if we sign Cano. The Cubs are going to reduce salary though, not increase it. There’s no incentive for anyone to want to come here in the foreseeable future if we’re deliberately shooting for 90 loss seasons into the future. So all of you just give it up.

  • Kevin

    Cubs should offer Girardi a 6 Yr deal @ $5M per year. Add bonus incentives for playoff and World Series appearances and he’ll move back. Hire Joe because he is smart, not because he played for the Cubs. There should be no Ryno comparison here either. Ryno was Mr. Cub in the 80′s, Joe never held such an honor. Theo/Jed please do the right thing here.

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