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.

  • Jono

    Anyone want to fix this picture and photoshop the Yankees hat into a Cubs hat?

    • CubbieBubba

      haha, or just slam a few Budweiser ads in front of it blocking the view?

  • CubFan Paul

    Baserunning. That’s my only beef with Sveum. We suck at it. Whether it’s sissy-sliding into HomePlate or the youngsters making the same baserunning mistakes over and over.

    I could go on and on about Sveum and the other two hitting coaches with conflicting/overlapping messages to Castro but the baserunning and sissy-sliding into Home burns my craw.

    • On The Farm

      I think my beef with him is that Russell has made 150 appearances between this year and last already. I have a really hard time telling if Sveum is a bad manager considering what little talent there is on the team. That being said, I am not sure if I would ever say that he is a great manager.

      • CubFan Paul

        Russell use to be effective against righties. Sveum is just having a hard time letting go, i guess.

        • willis

          He has a hard time with many things. I think you want to keep losing and building minor league depth, he’s your guy. Ever want to turn this thing around and attempt winning at this level, have to go out and get someone who has won.

          • Edwin

            Like when the Cubs signed Lou?

            • On The Farm

              The same Lou that managed two NL Central division champs, and was named NL Manager of the year in 2008?

              • Edwin

                Yep. Also the same Lou who was ridden out of town by the fans and media when the Cubs didn’t win in 2009.

                • On The Farm

                  You are acting like Lou wasn’t a good manager, toward the end I think you could tell he was getting worn down. Also in 2009 the Cubs finished above .500 and second in the division, something that most of the Wrigley faithful would love to be in that position.

                  • Edwin

                    I thought Lou was a great manager, but it doesn’t matter how good the manager is or isn’t. Lou was blamed for the Cubs “failure” in 2009, and many fans were happy to see him gone.

                    It doesn’t matter who the Cubs hire. If the Cubs get Girardi and the Cubs don’t make the playoffs the next two years, fans will want Girardi fired, just like they want Svuem fired. Just like they wanted Lou fired in 2009, and just like they wanted Dusty Baker fired.

                    • frank

                      And Don Baylor before him . . .

              • willis

                Ugh yeah, the same Lou that turned the team from the cellar to winning the central in 2007 and guided them to an awesome season in 2008? And the guy that had another winning season in 2009? Yeah, I suppose like that.

                Saying that, it’s totally different. Pinella was on his way out and this was his swan song. He did just fine for three seasons, with some disappointment in 2009. He did what was asked of him mostly.

                Girardi is still fairly young with much more to bring/give. I can’t see how anyone could be pissed about he getting signed if he’s made available. Huge upgrade.

                • On The Farm

                  I would take two division titles, and three seasons above .500 every four years.

              • arta

                the same Lou who quit on the Cubs? and this wasn’t the first team he quit on. the same Lou who blamed the players for not winning the playoffs in 2008?

                • On The Farm

                  Did you blame Lou for losing those playoff games or something? Dempster gave up a grand slam in game one, and the Cubs committed four errors in the second game when they lost 10-3. The players really did mess that one up

                  • NotJimHendry

                    Remind me, was it Lou’s choice to keep pitching to Manny in that series even though he was hitting every other pitch 450 ft?

                    • On The Farm

                      Haha that is funny your comeback for losing 7-2 in game one is Manny hitting a solo shot off Marshall, and then game two (which by the way, it isn’t Lou’s fault his Defense committed four errors). By the way, in that game, Manny also hit a solo shot (he actually only had 3 RBI in the first two blow out games!!). So remind me, how did giving up two solo shots to Manny equal the Cubs losing 17-5 in the first two games. Thanks for playing though.

                    • NotJimHendry

                      I didn’t say that was the difference in the series. I didn’t say that is why they lost the series. Just saying pitching to a guy who was white hot that batted almost .400 that year on a team without a substantial power hitter behind him (or anybody batting over .250 for that matter) is an example of Lou’s questionable decision making. Everything you cited shows that the team did not show up ready to play in that series, which in general gets blamed on the manager. If that is really his fault or not is another argument for another time.

                    • On The Farm

                      I guess I don’t understand your original reply then. Why bring up pitching to Manny as a bad thing, when while he only accounted for 3 of the 17 runs they surrendered in those two blow outs? Seems like pitching to Manny wasn’t the issue. Also the Dodgers had their starting C (.280), 1B (.289), 2B (.280), OF (.305, .290) hitting pretty well. So I really don’t understand what you are saying. Not sure pitching to Manny was questionable, even considering how hot he was.

                    • cms0101

                      Piniella was a shell of his former self by the time he took over the Cubs job. Hendry and company spent a great deal of cash to furnish that team with players to content. Sure, Lou did his job, but it was equivolent to Don Zimmer and the job he did in 1998. He wasn’t hands on. He didn’t lead with any respectable autority. He was never a highly respected tactical manager to begin with, but he wasn’t even the fiery Lou Piniella from the Mariner or Reds days in the 90’s. When the writing was on the wall, he decided to take an early paid vacation.

                      If Hendry could have gotten out of his own way and hired Girardi over Piniella back then, at minimum they would not have had a guy that would have quit on the team when things were at their worst. If Girardi is available, it’s a no-brainer. Back then the knock was he didn’t have managerial experience, other than the Florida debacle that won him a manager of the year award. Forger that he’s a former Cub. He spent the bulk of his career as a Yankee. I don’t think of him as a Cubbie lifer. This guy is a proven manager, that might have a desire to be here, and has a link to the city and team. The positives are too many to list out. What are the negatives? Seriously, I’m curious why people think this wouldn’t be a good move.

    • Jay

      He has no idea how to handle a bullpen, either. Or when to pull starters or leave them in. Sometimes he seems like he goes by the book no matter what common sense dictates, and other times I wonder if he’s even awake.

  • willis

    Yes, you enter these discussions if he is available. No question.

  • CeeDeeVee

    I haven’t been the biggest fan of Sveum but that has nothing to do with the fact that I think they should absolutely go after Girardi. I think he’s a great,
    manager and I wanted him back when Lou got picked over him. Maybe my love for him as a player has to do with me wanting the Cubs to pick him up lol

  • terenceman

    The only question that matters to me is if Girardi will be a better leader for this young team at this time. He’s been managing a team stacked with some of the best players of their era for quite some time. How would he adjust to re-arranging deck chairs for a year or so?

    It’s been quoted to death, but there’s very little a perceived “good” manager adds in terms of wins over other managers. Tactically, I doubt you’ll see much value from Girardi over Sveum.

    • On The Farm

      Except when he was manager of the Marlins back in 2006 (the year he won NL Manager of the year) he didn’t have the uber talent surrounding him. I think Girardi could adjust just fine for next year, and then once the prospect wave hits it will be like he is back in New York.

      • C. Steadman

        the 2006 Marlins could be really similar to the 2015 Cubs…some aging average veterans mixed with some top, young prospects

    • CeeDeeVee

      Great point about him adjusting. Although it isn’t the same, I would take all the injuries, and staying in the hunt while dealing with a lot of changes as a good sign.

  • terenceman

    If the Cubs are going to let Sveum go at one point, there’s only one manager I want on this team: Manny Acta, the best tactical manager of his generation. Want to see optimal lineups and sensible bullpen usage? He’s your guy…

    • MoneyBoy

      terenceman… I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. He’s had one managing job and had some measure of success.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      I’m in Cleveland. Let’s just say the grass is always greener… Acta had plenty of dissenters here. And he had a winnable division with decent talent and never pulled it off.

  • DReese

    I do like Bosio

  • xaviergunz

    anyone else think he looks like Tony Danza?

  • Ron Swanson

    Go get him!

  • Grant

    I was never much of a Sveum fan to begin with, so this may just be my biases shining through, but I’d be really interested in Girardi.

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge Sveum on his W/L record, but I think if you look beyond that, there are still enough legitimate criticisms to consider a change:

    * Bullpen management – Some of this is likely forced, but there were frequent times this season and last where you had to wonder what he was thinking by going to one reliever over another
    * Baserunning, as mentioned by Paul above
    * Lineup construction
    * Player development – It’s debatable how much of this is the Manager’s responsibility, but it’s important to note that 3 of our most important long term pieces are either flailing or taking steps back in their development. Yes, Castillo and Wood have shown some improvement, but they’re not critical to our success the way that Castro, Rizzo, and Samardzija are.

    With the youth movement that’s going to hit the team in the next couple years, we need to have a manager in-place who will help transition these players into the majors and get them contributing sooner rather than later.

    If we take wins and losses out of the criteria on which to judge Sveum (which I think is fair) we still need some areas on which to evaluate his performance because I don’t think it’s fair to the players or the fans to give a guy a 2-year free pass.

    Sveum’s done some good things, but I just don’t see him (successfully) managing the team when The Plan(tm) comes together. I think we need to consider other options, and Girardi would be one I’d definitely be interested in.

    • Edwin

      “there were frequent times this season and last where you had to wonder what he was thinking by going to one reliever over another”

      This happens to every single manager for every team ever. No matter who the Cubs hire next, this exact same thing will come up. Same thing with the point about lineup construction, and player development.

      • Grant

        Then on what criteria would it’s fair to judge Sveum?

        • Grant

          Sorry for that horrible English…

          On what criteria would you say it’s fair to judge Sveum? I don’t think we can just say that he didn’t have a lineup he could compete with and stop the evaluation there.

          • Edwin

            I’m more interested in judging Dale on is how he handles the media, how he handles the attitudes of the players, and how he deals with off field issues. I think you can look at how Dale handles pitchers, lineups, and benches, but just know that all of these decisions are too easy to second guess, so the fact that people are second guessing Dale’s bullpen decisions doesn’t neccessarily mean that Dale is a bad manager. If the Cubs had Girardi this season, they’d probably have lost about the same number of games, and the same questions would have beek asked of Joe.

            For that matter, I’m sure there are plenty of Yankee fans who would tell you all day about how terrible Girardi has been with his pitching decisions this year.

        • hansman1982

          1. How is the clubhouse environment?
          2. Does the manager generally have a solid rationale for who plays where?
          3. Does the manager instruct Player A to strikeout so Player B has a shot at doing something cool?
          4. Does the manager seem to learn from his mistakes without being reactionary?

          Sveum, overall, has done a solid job. Everytime he trots Russell out there this month, though, I do want to strangle him.

          • MichiganGoat

            Russell is my only real valid complaint with Sveum, yes I have other concerns but I can’t really attach them directly to Sveum… But seriously Dale let James have a week off.

    • frank

      You make some good points–I’d just like to bring up that, having been in education for much of my life, development–whether physical, emotional, academic, or of any other sort–is never the linear progression that most people think it is. There’s always a good amount of progression and regression, ups and downs, as the traits, characteristics and aims of the developmental process are achieved. The time it takes for an individual to move through the developmental process, and the path that individual takes, can be varied–even highly idiosyncratic. Now, whether in the cases of Castro, Rizzo, and Samardzija, we’re seeing permanent regression, or just the variations that are a normal part of an individual’s development process, is very hard to say, not knowing how and what they’re being taught or their individual learning capacities and styles.

  • CubsFaninMS

    If they hire Girardi, I believe it is a more direct sign that they are serious about competing in 2014. Sveum is a placeholder (which, I might add, has been a win-win for him as well) and there’s a good chance they will bring someone else in whenever they solidify their idea of when our “window of competition” begins.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Disagree with the “If they hire Girardi, I believe it is a more direct sign that they are serious about competing in 2014” thing. In a way, Managers are like players, you can only get them when they are available.

    • Nate

      That will probably be determined more on new players signed/traded for. And I’m guessing that will be determined by cash flow considerations and player development. If you think a couple guys will be ready this year (say by July) then sign a couple guys and see what you’ve got at the trade deadline. If you think the prospects are a year away yet. You wait.

  • cubmig

    I’ve criticized Sveum, particularly his oft too-much patience in in-game situations that screamed: “Make a change!”—-That said, I have to wonder how much change of players (those acquired or brought up) and now (maybe) a considered manager change makes for a more unsettled situation for the team. Add to that questions about Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija. How does all that translate into time needed to make things mesh? That is, players are refining working together, skill and habit-wise to be smooth on the field, and on top of that, learning the mind-set of their manager; how he wants them to play the game (strategy). All that takes time. Is there a point at which the shifting or infusion of new people introduces personnel problems for a longer “honeymoon” period?

    Rebuilding to put together a winning team is one thing, rebuilding that keeps quicksand under your feet is another. Where are we, and when do we say “let who and what we have solidify?

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Let me analyze for a minute, a guy with a degree from Northwetern in engineering and who played the toughest position in the game and has won World Series as a player and a manager, or a high school grad who likes tattoos and motocycles and has never won championships anywhere he has played or managed. Yeah, I’d give him a 5 year 25 million deal in a heartbeat. And he’s worth every penny of it. Joe Girardi is the next Cub manager.

    • willis

      We can only hope that’s the case.

    • Edwin

      How does a degree in Engineering from Northwestern help someone be a better baseball manager?

      • Cubbie Blues

        That really has to be explained? It shows a certain level of intelligence and an understanding of math.

        • jh03

          But math doesn’t matter in baseball? All we care about is TWTW

        • mjhurdle

          i would believe this is somehow you could show that managers with a strong mathematical college degree did better than managers that did not.
          Maybe it is true, maybe not. But seeing as no one has shown any proof for this, i’m going to hold out that there is no correlation.

        • mjhurdle

          after a quick check,

          Tony LaRussa has a Law Degree from Florida St
          Joe Torre did not graduate college
          Jim Leyland did not graduate college
          Can’t tell if Francona graduated after leaving Arizona after 3 years of ball there.
          Buck Showalter – Education degree from Miss St.

          Obviously a very small sample size, and we have no way of telling what classes these managers took while in college/high school; but at the very least, it seems that someone would need to do a bit more work before being able to claim that a college degree is a precursor for managerial success.

          • Cubbie Blues

            ” it seems that someone would need to do a bit more work before being able to claim that a college degree is a precursor for managerial success.”

            That is not what I said at all. What I said was an Engineering degree shows that he has a certain level of intelligence and an understanding of math. The opposite is not necessarily true. A perfectly intelligent person could have skipped college all together. Or, put another way, A equals B does not mean C doesn’t equal B.

            • mjhurdle

              i agree, which is why i think that mentioning someone’s college degree is pointless in regards to managing.
              Someone’s intelligence may be important, but a college degree does not make someone smarter, nor does not having one make one less intelligent.

              • Cubbie Blues

                No, just because you can’t disclaim someone that didn’t go to college, pointing out a math degree for someone who did does give them a leg up because you already have an understanding that he is at least intelligent enough to graduate. Not everybody has a propensity for math and there is something to be said for an individual who has already shown he does, with a math degree.

                • mjhurdle

                  i understand what you are saying, but i work on a daily basis with many people who own pieces of paper saying that they have an understanding of computers. However, i would say almost half of them probably have less understanding then the average computer enthusiast that may not have any computer-related degree.
                  Again, im not saying my Computer Science degree is worthless, but when i am interviewing someone, the fact that they have a degree is so far down my checklist that i find it more to be a tie-breaker between two people that demonstrate real knowledge first.
                  Not that i would imply that any athlete would ever have an easier route to a degree from a university than your average student, but some people might point to that as well to further cast doubt on the worth of a degree in evaluating anything in regards to MLB managers :)

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    Computer Science is a totally different animal. Math isn’t being reinvented every year. Also, I highly doubt North Western (the sports Goliath) is going to pave the way for someone to get an Industrial Engineering degree.

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

                    You introduced a red herring – misleads or detracts from the actual issue – “Not that i would imply that any athlete would ever have an easier route to a degree from a university than your average student, but some people might point to that as well to further cast doubt” – which has absolutely no place in this discussion. Those that would cast doubt are out of touch with many things.

                    To get an engineering degree from Northwestern is never based on any passes given. Seeing that MOST baseball players never get any college education – the lowest among the major professional sports by percentage – Girardi was VERY exceptional in both being a baseball player AND an industrial engineering graduate from a top-tier university.

                    I understand the non-degreed, self-made or taught route, plenty have succeeded without a piece of parchment. That said, to dismiss someone’s accomplishments, or to rate them down (or figure it has no bearing) because they could DO both – get a difficult degree and play in the MLB and manage – is just well, a pretty careless evaluation process.

                    His athletic status at Northwestern gave him no easier route if you know what athletes have to do to maintain success in and out of the classroom. And he wasn’t doing phys. ed classes, he was doing:

                    Electrical Circuitry
                    Multivariable Calculus
                    Operations Research
                    Mechanics of Materials
                    Statistical Outcomes

                    His softest schedule probably had 4-5 math related courses. And professors in the 1980s didn’t grade inflate like they do today. Joe probably has seen the ancient slide rule; calculated standard deviations; torque ratios; compression and tension on a truss; and joules of energy to perform work ALL in one day. How bout we credit that.

                    Not a rocket scientist; but certainly not a dumb-ass.

                    • mjhurdle

                      dude, it was a joke, hence the smiley face.

                      granted, it was a little more complex than just a knock-knock joke, (and probably wasn’t that great of a joke either) but the discussion in the thread involved the perceived assumption that a college degree implied a certain level of intelligence.
                      Another common assumption is that athletes have it easier in college than non-athletes.
                      in my own weird sense of humor, i found it funny to counter one assumption with one even more so unsupportable.
                      There a similarities between both, in the fact that you see both ends of the spectrum in both assumptions. Anyone can find a person with a degree that is not that smart, or someone without that is.
                      In the same way, anyone can find student-athletes who benefited from light class loads and ‘tutors’, or athletes that legitimately succeeded both athletically and academically.

                  • D.G.Lang

                    I fully agree with you. I have worked in data processing sine I exited the Army. I started out as a computer control clerk and worked my way up through operator, Programmer, Analyst, Systems Specialist (equivalent to Senior Systems Analyst), and Systems Engineer positions. At the end before I retired I owned my own consulting company.

                    I have been employed as either an employee or consultant by such companies as CNA Insurance, International Harvester, AT&T, GTE, Centel, and Sprint.

                    Upon graduation from High School I enlisted in the Army specifically for the Fifth Army Band at Ft. Sheridan Il.

                    I never went to college at all but I learned to do by doing which contrasts with one company I was employed at who hired a recent college graduate to be a Systems Analyst and then wound up sending her to school for TWO years just to learn basic Cobol programming.

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

                    MJHurdle: I wasn’t trying to be too serious. I was stating the reality of real education and real experiences do go hand in hand.

                    I do have a sense of humor, but MANY here do not.

                    It’s not that big of a deal. But, I tend to think we make blanket assumptions to fit our perspectives of the world, and generally, it turns out we’ll piss someone off sometime.

                    I wasn’t mad, but many here, carry on like they can’t ever be wrong, or underestimating of the folks on the opposite side of a discussion (Not an argument – that’s loaded.)

                    It’s cool.

          • On The Farm

            True, but Mike Matheny graduated from Michigan, Joe Maddon got a degree from Lafayette College, John Farrell went to Oklahoma State, and Bochy went to Florida State. I am not able to find what they majored in, but these are the guys are probably the “best” managers today. Today’s game is a lot different then when Torre was winning his titles in the late 90s(and 2000). Now days with the added emphasis on statistics, you could see FO’s move toward smarter managers. I am not saying you have to have a college degree to be a good manager, but it looks like the managers for the good teams right now seem to be heading in that direction.

      • Stevie B

        Yeah, and how can a degree in English make you a better attorney?

        Oh, wait….

    • mjhurdle

      There may be a lot of reasons to not like Sveum, but i really do not think that a manager’s college degree or his personal opinions on tattoos has anything to do with how good of a manager they are.

      Oh, and Sveum was a member of the 98 Yankees that won the Championship, being let go half way through the season but sticking on as a bullpen catcher. and he was third base coach for the 2004 Red Sox that also won the championship.

    • Jon

      This is a really stupid post.

  • MichiganGoat

    If Girardi comes I’d be more interested to see if he bring Kevin Long and Larry Rothschild (hmmm do we want him back???). I’m never quite sure how much success a hitting coach really provides but I remember reading about Long before and was impressed with his thoughts on hitting. As for pitching coach (which I think has more importance (and this is primarily because of Dave Duncan)) I’d think the next manager would bring is “his guy” and I’m not sure if that’s Rothschild for Girardi.

    • Edwin

      Rothschild seems like a good pitching coach. I wouldn’t mind having him back.

      • MightyBear

        Rothschild was terrible. He’s terrible with the Yankees. His staffs walk too many guys nibbling at the corners.

        • wvcubsfan

          Yeah because throwing the ball over the middle of the plate is such a good idea.

          • MightyBear

            Better than walking him.

            • wvcubsfan

              You do realize that the Yankees have the second fewest walks in the AL this year right? Doesn’t appear Larry wants his pitchers to walk batters either. Might want to try again.

    • NotJimHendry

      Are you judging Rothschild by the blown out arms of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood? If your definition of a good pitching coach is motivating guys to keep pitching until their arm falls off, I guess he is a hell of a coach.

      • MoneyBoy

        Kerry Wood was an arm injury waiting to happen.

        Mark Prior was essentially never the same after he fell on his shoulder after colliding with the STL 2nd baseman.

        Rothschild had nothing to do with either. Dusty Baker was the manager.

        • On The Farm

          How does Rothschild get the same heat that Sveum gets. It’s not the pitching coach’s decision to pull the starter for a reliever. He probably has his input, but ultimately that decision rests with the manager. If you don’t like the guy then fine, but don’t attribute things to him that weren’t his decision.

  • Spoda17

    I am lukewarm on Sveum. The mistakes/head scratchers he has done the past two years are not improving. He is a decent manager, but not at the upper caliber level like Girardi. I am also a pay your dues kinda guy, but this FO doesn’t “owe” Sveum anything much less the chance to manage when [we] get competitive. It is what it is, and I would be shocked if Theo and Jed do not pursue Girardi.

  • Mike Go Cubs

    Dale Sveum is only an OK coach… I think his biggest weakness is his selection of pitching coach. Samardzija hasn’t improved as anticipated, Jackson pitches better under all other pitching coaches, Russell regressed. Remember how good we had it with Rothschild? Let’s get somebody with some real results, who can help more with some of these reclamation projects, not a hack like Bosio.

  • I love marmol

    Get girardi! They need someone with a winning attitude in that dugout

    • Cubbie Blues


    • MichiganGoat

      See I despise this “winning attitude” story we attach to players, teams, managers. Basically there are three categories we attach to people:
      1-if they win (typically a championship) we say they have a “winning attitude”
      2-if they lose (meaning never won a championship) they “don’t know how to win,” “lack the desire to succeed,” or “don’t know how to be champions”
      3-if we like someone that hasn’t won we start to say silly things like “he plays the game the right way” “he has fire in his belly” and of course “he’s scrappy.”

      By saying things like this we are saying that players and coaches that have reached the ultimate goal that only a few percent of the world gets to experience are true “winners” and the majority of them are “losers.” Every single player and coach in the MLB has won on multiple levels, have shown a desire and ability to succeed under pressure. Every single MLB member has been winners most of their lives and know how to win.

      • jt

        and yet “The Ek” freely admits that the bars around Wrigley contributed to an elbow problem that nearly ruined his career; he would bend it too often at 4:00 AM. He further states that Oakland was great for him because of the distance needed to travel for a night life.
        don’t know it TWTW shows up in a particular AB; probably not. But I’m sure it shows up in the quality of time spent in the training room and practice field.

        • MichiganGoat

          Okay Hawk you just keep believing in TWTW

          • TWC

            The game that this “jt” cat plays is “The Exceptions Which Disproves The Rule”. It’s tedious.

            • jt

              If the rule has exceptions then it ain’t a rule. That is the point.
              What was the motivation for Maddux to watch the opposing team take batting practice? He said it was to look for tendencies that he could exploit.
              What is the motivation for players to take PED’s? They allow longer work outs and shorter recovery times.
              Boston has workouts at Fenway in the winter for prospects so they can acclimate to the city long before they get “the call”. Yeah, to get the social crap out of their system before they get to the games that count.
              These guys are competing for millions of dollars. Two guys with roughly equal talent are going to produce a winner and loser. You think the guy who works less has an advantage?
              What gets tedious is beating to death the dead cliches. There is more to the game than luck. The work required to compete requires motivation.
              In theory nothing works as it does in theory.
              science is empirical

              • Cubbie Blues

                I believe the quote you wanted was “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

        • Mr. B. Patient

          jt, what you describe as TWTW, the hard work, quality of workouts and the such, should be referred to as TWTS. The Will To Succeed. That is real, at least in the development stages. There have been many great athletes, in all sports, that just never put in the work, or never made adjustments, that never succeeded.

          • jt

            that works for me
            bit of a semantics thing
            I’m 65 and many, including my Doc tell me I’m in great shape.
            I’ve a 67 y/o friend who still does The Head of The Charles crew races in Boston. That guy is in great shape. There is no way in Hades that I’d do the 365 days a year training that he does now. There was no way that I’d have done it when in my prime. When Sandberg or Yaz talk of how hard the training was I always think of my friend. Kind’a like Walter Payton running up and down the hill in his backyard on Xmas day for a real long time. There ain’t no way I’m doin’ that.

        • bbmoney

          ” But I’m sure it shows up in the quality of time spent in the training room and practice field.”

          Well…..yeah of course working your butt off is an important part of being a good ballplayer (there’s obviously a lot of natural talent required too). You need to be in shape, work on your skills and make adjustments.

          If that’s how people want to us a phrase like “the will to win”, sure, I won’t argue. I’ll take the guy that comes to spring training in shape as opposed to the guy who shows up 30 pounds heavier. But too many people use it to say…oh look at how he’s hitting with RISP the past month……or he doesn’t show the required bellyfire on the field or in the late innings…….or other random subjective observations or cherry picked data points. That’s where the problem comes with the will to win idea.

          Like Girardi having more of a winning attitude than Svuem…..more likely Girardi has just been blessed with far superior rosters. More likely is putting it mildly.

          • Hansman1982

            Even his Marlins roster had some super-studs on it.

            90% of a managers success is based on the roster he is given.

            • jh03

              To be fair, the Yankees have had a pretty awful roster this year. Girardi has done a pretty freaking awesome job handling them, and all the storylines, while getting them into playoff contention.

              • jh03

                Note: I don’t think managers can fix everything wrong with a club. I just think what Girardi has done this year has been really impressive.

              • bbmoney

                He has. I actually think Girardi is quite a good manager (he doesn’t always use Rivera in save only situations, or only in the 9th, they don’t bunt a ton, etc.)

                But it has nothing to do with his will to win or winning attitude.

  • Aaron

    Keep Sveum until the end of the 2014 season. It could get real ugly in Chicago if the Cubs don’t get off to a good start in April and May. Dale is a tough guy who can take the beating. After next June, we’ll start to see some good prospects come up from the minors. We’ll continue to trade “assets” for even more prospects, which will free up roster spots for our own minor leaguers being promoted. The FO will ask Dale to play them. They’ll have a positive impact right away. Fans are starting to get excited about next season!

    When the team is ready to be competitive in 2015, bring in a top notch manager like Girardi. Thank Dale for his service to the organization and wish him the very best in getting a coaching or managing job with another ball club. The front office adds some key free agents in the off-season in 2015 and 2016, while developing their own players. And in 2017…the Cubs win the Word Series!

    • Mr. B. Patient

      1). you can only get great managers when they become available.

      2). love your winning the World Series in 2017, but let’s temper expectations just a little. Let’s go with start their playoff run in 2017.

      3). finally, is Dale the guy we want developing those June 2014 call-ups? Those June 2015 call-ups? These are the questions I have.

      (Would LOVE Girardi).

      • willis

        To your #3…absolutely not. To your #1, that’s the most important thing. If he is available and if he were to have interest in the cubs, you kick those tires hard and if it means bailing on Sveum, then who gives a crap? Girardi>>>>Sveum big time.

  • Aaron

    World Series!

  • baseballet

    I like the job Sveum has done. There will always be some individual decisions that look like mistakes, especially in retrospect; I mean they play 162 games so every pitching change is not going to work out. Also, any mistake Dale does make often looks worse because his players aren’t very good and are apt to fail. A manager of a good team often has his mistakes camouflaged by good players making plays (e.g. If a team’s entire bullpen is great then it doesn’t make much difference who the manager brings in in a given situation. But if Dale brings the wrong guy in then there’s a good chance for disaster).

  • The Dude Abides

    Not sure about Sveum but there will be changes in the coaching staff throughout the system.

    Every successful coaching staff is raided by other teams looking to duplicate our successes.

    You have to believe our hitting coach will be a hot ticket by all teams looking for a change of pace option.

  • http://jjcubs jj

    I agree with lou brock. I think Geraldi has been in tom ritters plans since he became president of the cubs. He knows that eppstein and hoyer wants a manager who manages with help of a laptop computer. Geraldi has the brains,knowledge,experience and class. Geraldi will the first free agent signed. He is the best man to guide the new group of young players that are already here and the minors.

    • TWC

      “Geraldi”? (Three times!) “Tom Ritters”?! “Eppstein”?!

      • MichiganGoat

        Just missing a “cubes” to make it complete.

        People these names are spelled properly in the article!

      • Sarah

        Harry Caray reincarnated

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        You contribute nothing to this whole thread…but this? How is your response not considered trolling? You’re a good contributor. I enjoy your insights…but your snarkiness seems to be on rise. Take careyo

        • TWC

          I comment on what I feel like commenting on. You do the same, champ. It’s just the internet. Don’t take it too seriously.

          • miggy80

            Yeah and quit making fun of my ZUNE!

      • Edwin

        Tom Riddle?

    • CubbieBubba


    • hansman1982

      “Geraldi will the first free agent signed.”

      So a ficticious person willed that the first free agent be signed and made it so? Sounds blasphemous!

      So much wrong in one sentence.

  • Jim

    Does Dave McKay have any inclinations to manage? To me this is a guy with a wealth of knowledge and experience from all the years working with LaRussa. I don’t have anything against Sveum or Girardi and I would hope that our top management would be smarter about who to put in place than I would.

  • Noah

    No. The amount of difference that managers make on a team is questionable at best, and the money that the Cubs would have to pay Girardi, who could be the highest paid manager in baseball after this run, would be better spent on players.

    • MichiganGoat

      The price tag it would take to get him is disturbing and if we are strapped for cash should we spend the limited money on him?

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    I wanted Girardi when we hired Lou. Do any of you think we’d be where we are currently had we done so?

    • MichiganGoat

      Yes no manager would have been able to through the Tribune/Zell to Ricketts transition without major problems. Now maybe we would have won a playoff game but maybe if the butterfly didn’t flap that wing… or if Skippy waited two more seconds before throwing that stone… this game could be played all day.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      If Girardi was the manager, is it possible that Milton Bradley would not have happened? I’m not blaming Lou, but I don’t believe all that transpired would have happened if JG was our manager instead of Lou.

      • MichiganGoat

        Hindsight is a fun distraction but we will never know and playing that game is just that… a distraction.

        I always find it fun how hindsight discussions typically have positive outcomes when negative outcomes are just as likely as the positive one.

        • Edwin

          If only Joe was manager, that coin would have landed heads!

  • cavemencubbie

    Bring back the ‘college of coachs’! :)

  • Hee Seop Chode

    To the extent a manager does matter:

    * Joe has more game experience, with different types of teams
    * Joe has more experience with media in a larger market
    * Joe has more respect of current and future MLB players. No, I can’t quantify this point.

    The question is not about Savium’s performance up to this point; the question is if Girardi would be an incrimental improvement for the organization and where it is headed. I think he would. I also think hiring Girardi would send an important message to fans, FA, and all steakholders that the Cubs intend on improving in the near future.

  • Spriggs

    I was pretty much ok with Dale … but when he led off Darwin Barney, that was it for me. In what world does a smart guy decide to do that? To me it showed a lack of understanding of a lot of things. Batting Barney 2nd – though an awful, awful thing – can at least be understood in that it’s something a lot of managers might actually do (because he hits behind the runner well, is a grinder, a good bunter, etc). But nobody in his right mind would lead the guy off. That was it for me. I would have fired him that day unless he had a shockingly good explanation for me.

    • TWC

      Agreed. And when he had Castro bunt. Unconscionable.

      I know many like to pile on his bullpen decisions, but I honestly feel those are mostly a wash. But Barney leading off, and Castro bunting, are stridently dumb.

      • jh03

        Personally, I fault him for not trying Travis Wood out at 3rd base.

      • Spriggs

        Yes! Castro bunting — absolutely brutal. And I have not been one to be overly critical of his bullpen usage. Some of that can actually be defended. But in no way can anyone realistically or thoughtfully defend leading off Barney multiple times. I would even say that with Castro, you could probably find a few managers who would do that (in terms of baseball “tradition”). But nobody would be stupid enough to lead off Barney in a major league game — and nobody would even think about doing it again.

    • Voice of Reason

      You can dissect all the little decisions he has made throughout the year, but you cannot deny the biggest point about Sveum’s handling of the 2013 Cubs:

      They will not lose 100 games. It’s a horrific team and the fact that he lead them to less than 100 loses is truly amazing!

      I’m not endorsing Sveum as the future manager of the Cubs when they are ready to compete. All I’m saying is he has done a fine job this year with a terrible team!

  • Voice of Reason

    Three things:

    1. Son of Chicago? The dude is from Peoria!

    2. The Ricketts are not spending big bucks this off season on free agent managers or players. This team is not in the position to win next year. When you couple that with the Ricketts trading guys like Dejesus to save a buck, there is no way in hell they are signing Girardi! They are watching every dime until they are in a position to win. Take the Chicago Cubs off the list of possible destinations for Joe. Someday he could manage the Cubs, but it won’t be next year.

    3. Why in the hell would Girardi want to come here next year? Sure there is a bright future, but that is the key word FUTURE! And, don’t paint the “he could be the manager to win a World Series with the Cubs” scenario. It’s all about the money and where he can go to win next year!

    It’s all about timing on both sides and the timing is not right for Girardi and the Cubs.

    • mjhurdle

      in regards to #2, what does trading a 4th OF have to do with whether or not they will sign Joe?
      They obviously do not mind spending money if they think it is for something that will provide value (see Soler, Concepcion, Rizzo, Castro, international draft).
      I think if they feel that Girardi will be the best manager for the job going forward, and he is available, they will go after him.
      If they do not feel that Girardi is worth what he is sure to get as a managerial contract, then they won’t.

      • Voice of Reason


        They traded Dejesus to save money, period. They didn’t get anything for him.

        That means they are watching the money very closely. That said, they are not going to sign a big name, free agent manager next year when they are going to be bad again (yet improving). That’s the same reason they are not going to sign any big name free agents.

        They are keeping their spending in check. Then, when they are ready to compete, they will spend money. Until then, it’s Sveum and a bunch of young kids and veterans who will work for peanuts!

        • On The Farm


          Aside from trading a 33 year old OF to save money because they felt they could get the same production from Bogie and Sweeney. This FO has spent big on Edwin Jackson, Spent about the most they could in the First year player draft, and way over blew the international budget in the last 12 months. Not sure how you can look at one trade and determine that it signifies the end-all-be-all that this FO is definitely not going to spend. They are looking to spend their money smart.

          • Kyle

            That’s such a meaningless phrase. Every front office wants to spend their money smart.

            • On The Farm

              Okay Kyle, way to ignore the rest of my post. Cool. I said they traded DeJesus because they felt they could get the same production from the two guys they had coming off the DL. Then they also pumped a lot of money into the cheapest way to acquire talent – amateur spending. In other words they are looking to use the savings on DeJesus in other places, hence they are trying to spend and save money where they view is smart. Just because every FO is trying to do it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be said, apparently The Voice of Reason thinks they made their moves only because they want to pinch every penny.

            • wvcubsfan

              Right up there with “taking it one game at a time”. I mean how else are you going to do it? Not possible as of yet to be in two places at the same time.

            • MightyBear

              Not every front office. I don’t see the Yankees spending their money smart.

              • bbmoney

                I’d suggest spending money smartly means different things to different organizations. It’s relative.

                The Yankees have been pretty successful the last couple decades, so I’d argue on the whole they’ve spent their money quite smartly. Even with some of the bad (in retrospect) contracts they’ve signed, on the whole it’s hard to argue they’ve spent poorly. Now if the Rays handed out a couple of those contracts….that’d be pretty dumb for them since they don’t have the resources.

              • Voice of Reason

                @ MightyBear,

                The Yankees are still in the playoff hunt. As long as you’re still in the hunt you’re spending your money wisely.

                The Angels? There’s an example of not spending wisely!

                • jaslhill

                  I disagree. Just because you have a slight possibility of making the playoffs does not mean your money has been spent wisely. They have been incredibly wasteful … which they can be because they have so much money they do not necessarily need to spend wisely all the time.

                  I think they would be in a much better position this year (from a major-league stand and organizational standpoint) had they gotten more out of the money they spent.

                  Just because you can afford to cover your mistakes, does not mean you haven’t made mistakes. And they’ve made some of the worst signings in the last 10 years.

                  • bbmoney

                    “I think they would be in a much better position this year (from a major-league stand and organizational standpoint) had they gotten more out of the money they spent.”

                    That falls under the, you have an excellent grasp of the obvious, category.

                    No one is saying they haven’t made mistakes. You’re never going to make 100% correct decisions. Arguing with how the Yankees have spent their money the past 20 years is pointless. They’ve had the most success of any MLB team in that timeframe. What’s to argue with? Smart spending of money is all relative. The Yankees can afford to take risks via free agency…it’d be stupid of them not to and to not flex their muscle. The Rays…the A’s…The Royals and others can’t. It’d be stupid of them to try to.

              • jaslhill

                Just because they haven’t does not mean they don’t want to be smart about it. I think every office wants to, but either does not know how or makes bad decisions that cause them not to. The Yankees fall into the latter category: bad decisions, bad signings.

            • mjhurdle

              it isn’t a meaningless phrase. Maybe vague, but not meaningless.

              There is a vast difference between ‘spend no money’ (original poster’s opinion) and ‘spend money smart’ (On The Farm’s opinion).

              It may not tell you how the money will be spent, but it implies that money *can* be spent if they feel it is the best decision, whereas the ‘spend no money’ implies that, regardless of how much they may feel it will help their team, they will not spend the money.

              As with everything else though, actions speak louder than words, and we will see what mode they are in come Free Agency.

        • mjhurdle

          “They traded Dejesus to save money, period. They didn’t get anything for him.

          That means they are watching the money very closely.”

          See, this is where you lose me.
          What about saving 2 million means that they are doing anything but being smart with their money?
          i have an old BMW that i enjoy tinkering with now and again. It provides me little value as it doesn’t run most of the time. If someone were to show up and offer me $2000 for it and if i accepted that, does that mean i am pinching pennies? Or that i just recognized that was the high water mark for that old car’s value?

          Like i said, they are willing to spend money IF they feel the investment is worth it. DeJesus was nothing but an average, very replaceable player that someone wanted to give them a bunch of money for, so they took it.

          IF they feel Girardi is the right man for the job, they will sign him. If they do not, they won’t.
          Just my opinion, but it will have much more to do with their evaluation of him as a manager than how much he is going to cost (though of course if someone goes nuts and offers him 20+ million that would make it much more about the money)

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    My earlier point about Girardi’s education at Northwestern was based on the difficulty involved with playing a sport at a Division 1 school and also earning a degree in an extremely tough major while doing it. Joe has shown he is a leader both on the field and in the dugout. Many of the best managers have played the position of catcher because it requires the smarts to handle pitchers as well as the toughness to play the position at the highest level.
    In dealing with the press and the fans I remember how well Girardi handled the difficult task of announcing to a full stadium of fans at Wrigley that a game with the Cardinals was being postponed due to a death of a Cardinal pitcher that morning.
    He is perfect for the job at hand and the FO would be wise to hire him for this tough task.

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