I’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.