joe girardi managerI haven’t written much about the Dale Sveum managerial situation recently, in large part because I didn’t believe there was a whole lot to say that hadn’t already been said by Sveum, himself, and by team president Theo Epstein. Indeed, even as a bevy of national writers were talking about Sveum and the Cubs, each was kinda-sorta just saying, “yeah, it’s possible the Cubs might let Sveum go because they’ve had some struggles … and, hey, Joe Girardi might be available!” Not a lot of meat there – at least not any that we hadn’t already chewed on.

That said, these things have a way of reaching a smoke-before-fire kind of fever pitch, and it’s worth discussing, even if the bottom line remains “Sveum is under contract through 2014, he may return next year, and he’s being evaluated.” Most of what is out there beyond that is just informed speculation.

One thing we do now know is that Sveum – together with his coaching staff – is expected to learn his fate on Monday in a meeting with Epstein. Outside of that …

  • Ken Rosenthal wrote what was perhaps the most pointed Sveum piece this week, writing in unequivocal terms: “But let’s get one thing straight: The Cubs did not hire Sveum to be a long-term answer. He was the caretaker, the bridge to the big-name manager who would ‘complete the job’ once the team was ready to win. Sveum knew it. The Cubs knew it. Everyone knew it.” Rosenthal concedes that the Cubs might stick with Sveum for another year, the final year of his contract. To be clear, I like Rosenthal. I think he is among the best of the national guys for a variety of reasons. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out (1) Rosenthal’s “caretaker” comments are written in a conclusory fashion without any source language (that’s odd for Rosenthal, who always cites sources), suggesting he’s offering his own thoughts; and (2) Rosenthal suggested earlier this year that Don Mattingly would be let go, just before the Dodgers turned things around. This is all to say that, while I find Rosenthal’s thoughts intriguing, and encourage you to read them, I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that Rosenthal is reporting Sveum will be fired, or that Sveum is unlikely to return.
  • You can read a great deal of additional thoughts from the very-honest Sveum here. As he’d indicated before, he knows the score: it’s a constant process of evaluation, and the poor performance of the big league team certainly isn’t going to save him (even if it is excusable based on the roster). Sveum understood what he was getting into when he signed onto a clear rebuild that was going to involve selling assets and starting youngsters. Among his words: “The bottom line is we haven’t won as many games as we’d like to. I knew getting this job there was going to be a good chance of people getting traded for prospects and that we needed to get the Minor League system much healthier and hit the jackpot on some free agents that we signed. Nothing’s really changed from what I was told. You’re never promised anything.”
  • Jon Heyman writes dueling pieces – which ask more questions than offer answers – about whether Joe Girardi would head to the Cubs, and whether Dale Sveum is out the door. The Yankees publicly want Girardi back. That’s about the only factual update I could glean.
  • Kevin Capie, out of Peoria, writes about whether Joe Girardi would actually leave the Yankees for the Cubs. Sounds like Girardi’s Little League coach thinks Girardi would jump at the chance to come back to the Cubs. That’s as good of a source as anyone’s found.
  • ESPN New York argues that Girardi would be crazy to leave the best job in the sport – manager of the Yankees apparently holds that title (I’d’ve thought something involving parties in San Diego) – and suggests Girardi play the field a bit, if only to increase his offer to return to the Yankees.
  • Bob Nightengale and Nick Cafardo write generically about Girardi, Sveum, and the Cubs. Cafardo has a Yankee source who says it’s 70-30 that Girardi returns to the Yankees.
  • At bottom, I still think it’s more likely than not that Sveum is brought back. I can envision scenarios where, through back-channels, the Cubs have discerned that Dream Managerial Candidate A (could be, but is not necessarily, Joe Girardi) is amenable to coming to the team. In that scenario, maybe Sveum is dumped. Query whether big money for another manager is the best use of limited funds right now, but I guess we’ll get there when we get there. Circling back: I don’t think Sveum would be fired on Monday unless the Cubs already had a very good idea of who they want to replace him, and whether they’ll be able to land that guy.
  • Whatever decision is made on Monday, I’d think we’re going to hear about it loudly and quickly. If Sveum is staying, the Cubs will want to give him a swift public backing so that he can confidently resume his role as a coach and development cog. If Sveum is let go, the Cubs will want to set about finding his replacement as quickly as possible for largely the same reason.
  • http://permalink papad1945

    I think we should all get together outside of Wrigley opening day 2014 and roast a goat.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Bring some free beer and I bet I know one that would show up.

      • Drinkpbr

        Old Style and roasted goat!

  • chad

    unless the FO knows for absolute sure Girardi will be available and come to them there is no way Sveum is let go on Monday.

    • C. Steadman

      agreed, its either Girardi or Sveum in 2014

  • Aaron

    Quality managerial candidates are difficult to find. With Joe Girardi, the Cubs might not get another chance to hire a manager of his caliber anytime soon. Three-year deal, worth $12 million might get it done.

  • Steve

    I hope there is a chance for the Cubs to get Girardi on board. I think it would be great for the young players to learn from a winner a proven tough winner who always has his players back. If Svuem is brought back another looooong dull season unless an impact player like Cargo is signed and Baez comes up at some point. Look for those attendance numbers to drop even further next year.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      Most Cubs fans have never heard of Baez. If mgmt wants to get a name for attendance purposes, and not blow their wad for the next coue of years, Girardi might make a lot of (fiscal) sense. His hire would at least signal the thought that at some point ever the Cubs plan on getting out of last place.

  • wilbur

    There is one additional source that hasn’t been mentioned for the cubs hiring Girardi. That is why I think not only is there interest but there is likely to be something in the works when the season is over; Kaplan. Kaplan and the dog that didn’t bark.

  • DarthHater

    From one of the Heyman articles: “Epstein called a question regarding potential interest in Girardi from longtime Chicago Tribune baseball writer Paul Sullivan ‘borderline disrespectful.'”

    Gotta love it.

    • Funn Dave

      Does it say what the question was or how it was disrespectful?

  • p hazzna

    Give sveum a break, he’s done the best job possible (big name or not) that any mgr could do even girardi under the circumstances… Give’ m hell Dale…

    • DarthHater

      Thanks, mother Sveum. I’m sure your son appreciates the moral support.

  • C. Steadman

    Selig is announcing his official retirement effective at the beginning of January 2015…that could mean a NL DH for 2016(i figured itd be too late to change it for 2015) and the Cubs could keep Vogs

  • Justin

    I think Girardi will be managing the Cubs next yr for several reasons. 1. Sveum’s one job was to make sure the young “core” continued to develop and grow as players. Well, the young “core” all blew ass (for the most part) especially Castro, the organization’s most important player. I think he’s gone for that reason reason it’s his fault or not.
    2. The Yankees are obviously a great organization, but they have a crap roster filled with old, inflated, turd contracts. Their minor league system isn’t great, and it looks like they will be cutting payroll in the near future. I don’t think managing the Yankees next year is a good job at all.

    Welcome to the Cubs Joe Girardi.

    • Voice of Reason


      1. If you are thinking about Girardi continuing to develop these “core players” you better look at how he handled the minor leaguers who came up this season with the Yankees. They did not do well! If you’re thinking that Girardi should be hired for that reason then you are dead wrong!

      2. The Yankees will just reload like always. Go out and sign more free agents and continue to be competitive. It doesn’t matter what their minor league system looks like! You are probably the only person in the world who doesn’t think managing the New York Yankees next year would not be a good job.

      Put down the Cubbie Koolaid, dude!

      • jh03

        Ummm… what?

        1) What “prospects” did the Yankees call up that were even true prospects? All the guys from the minors were not on the level of prospects that the Cubs will be adding next year.

        2) When have the Yankees been good without having a core of players they built from their farm? This notion that they were good from nothing but free agent signings is complete bs.

        • Voice of Reason



          1) Please give the definition of a true prospect?

          2) Sure they have always had a core of players they built from the farm system… Jeter, Posado, Rivera and more… now they have Cano, Gardner, Soriano and more! Cano, Gardner, Soriano and others from the farm team are still around or will be resigned and they will add free agents around them and spend lots of money again!

          • Cub Style

            To answer question 1, a player with a future outside of a far end bench player or a AAAA guy. Which is pretty much what the Yankees brought up.

            • Voice of Reason

              Cub Style,

              Thanks! That really narrows it down, there!

      • Justin

        I’m not drinking any koolaid, and completely disagree with everything you said “voice of reason”. The Yankee roster next yr sucks, and they won’t be able to just over pay for free agents like they did in the past. Voice of Reason get a freaking clue, loser…

      • DarthHater

        “Put down the Cubbie Koolaid, dude!”


        • Cubbie Blues

          Was it a massacre or a mass suicide?

          • DarthHater

            I dunno. Let’s have a long an fascinating debate about it. 😛

            • jh03

              That’ll just lead to peoples feelings being hurt and a bunch of people being called haterz…

              • DarthHater

                Debate hater. 😉

                • jh03

                  You are just trying to hurt my feelings. You jerk. You can’t comment on this site without the regulars being complete trolls and head hunting anybody new…

                  • Cooties

                    Unfortunately, this site has become Bleed Cubbie Blue, Part Deux.

                    The regulars are hateful and show no respect for any opinion that differs from their own.

                    It’s really too bad

            • Cubbie Blues


          • Patrick W.

            I’ll tell you what it wasn’t. It wasn’t KOOLAID it was FLAVORADE

            • DarthHater

              “Put down the Cubbie Flavorade” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

          • jayrig5

            Though obviously this isn’t really “on topic” for the site, I will say that 276 kids died, so there’s not much of a debate in my mind.

      • Jason P

        It’s kind of ironic that on most comment boards, the one who names himself ‘voice of reason’ is usually the most unreasonable commentor on there.

        • Cubbie Blues

          How do you know it isn’t the same person?

          • DarthHater

            Occam’s Razor triumphs again!

            • annie

              1/2 day of school today?

              • DarthHater

                Time for your afternoon meds?

              • Cubbie Blues

                Must be since you have the time to search out his posts again.

                • TWC

                  What a creep.

                  • hansman1982

                    I have a feeling it’s what Darth does when he get’s bored with meme’s.

                    • DarthHater


            • hansman1982

              Geez, as much as it get’s used around here we are going to have to chip in to buy him a new one.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        How Girardi has handled young players really is uninformative. The Marlins gave him some great young players with excellent tools and a team that realistically was headed nowhere. Those players got a lot of playing time, and they did what their minor league numbers suggested that they would do. They would have done that under any almost manager who played them. (Of course, a lot of managers would not have done that: there still are a managers who prefer “veterans” under the belief that veterans are more consistent.)

        The Yankees have given Girardi very few good young players. Really, Brett Gardiner is the only one: and he, too, basically has played like his miLB numbers projected. The Yanks farm system has been barren since before the Clinton presidency ended, and they always are playing a “win now (or else)” season.

    • marc

      The yankees have pettite, mariano, granderson, and possibly cano and arod coming off of the books. I know this isnt the best free agent class but a few shrewed signings and a healthy tex next year and they arent looking so bad. They could retain reynolds, sign infante, mccann, say a couple of starters of the graza and feldmen ilk. Giving them:

      DH-Mccann, Reynolds, Nunez

      Cc, Nova, Feldman, Garza, Pineida

      While not idea, it wouldnt come close to breaking their bank and it would be alot better than what the cubs are going to roll out. Prospects are nice but until they are actually in the majors they mean too much. Just ask Dylan Bundy.

      • C. Steadman

        i definitely could see them adding Garza who has proven he can pitch in the AL East and there could be a bidding war for him between teams that need a SP but dont want to lose a draft pick(Yankees usually win bidding wars)

  • Blublud

    Screw Girardi. If we hire him, fine. If not, who cares. There is not much a manager can do as far as strategy to increase wins. But a managers job is to protect and shield the players so they are able to perform to the best of their abilities. Sveum seem to put attention or pressure on his players by critiquing them in the media. That is not setting your players up for success.

    This is why Doc Rivers is the best manager/coach in sports. If his players have a problem, he put the pressure on himself, and handles the problem in house. Doesn’t matter how big or small. He never talks down his players to the media. I’m sure he lets them know if there is a problem, but we’ll never hear about.

    I hopefully, and starting to feel pretty sure Sveum is fired Monday.

    • Funn Dave

      At the same time, it’s a two-sided coin. I’d rather have a manager that’s honest with the fans and the media than one who acts like everything’s hunky dory when it clearly isn’t.

    • Cub Style

      I disagree. A manager can put together a very influential staff to help develop players, on top of his normal strategic duties, and maintain a controlled environment in the clubhouse. That’s all worth wins in the long run and short run.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There have been a lot of WS teams with clubhouses that put Animal House to shame. There have been a lot of losing teams with controlled clubhouses. There simply is no association between this sort of thing and winning.

        As for development, that really is done in the minors. What is even more important is signing guys with good tools. If guys lack basic tools, then no amount of coaching is going to help. Expecting the manager to develop young players is like expecting college professors to teach reading: by then, it’s really way too late!

        • YourResidentJag

          Really, and here I thought in Moneyball, the A’s got to winning after they traded Jeremy Giambi.

        • http://It'searly Mike F

          great stuff. Somehow thinking the manager is to blame or the solution to Castro and company is completely idiotic and nothing more than scapegoating. Worry about future players might be something of another thing. But Castro is a 4th year pro and Barney is an arrogant small who wants to be big. Joe is not an egoless guy and isn’t superman. People thinking a manager has to kiss younger guys who aren’t performing butt is insane. It would set up a revolving door. Cub fans did this to Baker and Lou. Sveum was put in an impossible situation and now the media has set them all up to fail by introducing Joe into this. It really is a shame.

  • Shawn

    Its all speculation at this point but I dont get the impression Girardi is a Theo type guy. If Sveum is fired my bet would be its because Gardenhire becomes available.

  • jon

    I got to say, it would be funny to see Girardi hired, and then see the posters go apehsit about all the sacrifice bunts he lays down.

    • Cubbie Blues

      There is nothing funny about an ill-timed bunt. Nothing.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        True! However, most of the Yanks “sacrifice bunts” have been Gardiner or Ichiro trying for a hit and making an out. Of course, that might be true for other teams.

        For example, the Astros probably lead the AL in SH simply because their full swings look like bunt attempts, and the scorers just get confused.

  • Jim

    I don’t know if it really matters who is the manager. The game remains the same and the players just aren’t hitting clutch and scoring runs. The manager can’t bat unless he is a player manager, but haven’t seen that in a long time.

  • Kurt

    I done with him because of his in game decisions.

    The morning that the Cubs are officially eliminated, in the top of the 9th, men on first and second down by two, he tries to bunt men over to second and third…playing for the tie on the road instead of letting Donnie, a man with plenty of power in limited bats, swing away.

    Can’t take him anymore because of these in game decisions.

    Not concerned about him developing the kids at this point. Heck, with all his look at me tats and slayer posters in is office who really believes he’s grown up, either?

  • Bob Forgue

    I’m just not sure why insults and name calling is going on in these comments. It’s the internet guys, the internet. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You don’t have to agree with it.

    • Funn Dave

      Believe it or not, today’s been pretty tame compared to the last month or so.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Because it’s the Internet. You don’t have to agree with it.

    • Kyle

      Because it’s fun sometimes. Try it.

    • DarthHater

      I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to find name-calling on the internet!

      • ssckelley

        You should do something about it!

  • Mr. Gonzo

    If Girardi did come to the Cubs, I would love to see Spinal Tap host a mockumentary based on ESPN’s “The Decision” and have Girardi say he’s “taking his talents to the North Side.”

  • Aaron

    The 50 losses at Wrigley Field represent a record for Cubs losses at home. Winning percentage at home this season is .383. The Cubs faired better on the road. Why? What are the secrets to winning at Wrigley Field? Open to all.

    • willis

      You can count on your two hands in the last 70ish years any season where those secrets were exposed. I’ve been rattling this around my head for awhile now, but Wrigley just may be as big of part of the problem as anything.

    • Funn Dave

      Let’s not read too far into it. It’s a combination of luck and mental buildup.

  • Aaron

    Dusty Baker said a few years ago that he knew the secret but wasn’t going to help the Cubs any. I have a few ideas of my own.

  • Aaron

    “This place is almost two different parks — in April and May, it’s different with wind blowing in, wind blowing out,” says Hoyer. “So clearly you have to score runs in many different ways.”

    “Having a team that can’t manufacture runs, or can’t hit homers, is probably a negative. We have to find a good balance because we have to play two different styles at home. That’s unusual.”

    Nice that the Cubs’ brass have their own ideas. Now it comes down to execution in putting the right team together.

  • 70’scub

    I don’t think it looks good for the Cub FO to fire the manager after all they have strengthened the minor league rosters at the expense of the MLB club. Dale has done a great job keeping this ever changing group of low end players together. Castro and Rizzo at 23 can’t carry an MLB offense!

  • Jason

    Seems like any manager would love to be know as the manager who led the Cubs to their first World Series title is 1XX years though…

    Also seems like any player would love to be part of that.

  • Kevin

    Minimizing a manager’s impact is just wrong in so many ways.

  • Toby

    I’m afraid that all these articles from here on out will hype up Girardi to the point that if he doesn’t get hired then the next manager will get the same treatment as Sveum. IMO, Sveum never got a fair shot with most fans because of their inane support of Sandberg and I feel that if Girardi doesn’t become the next manager that whoever becomes the next manager will not get a fair shot in some fans eyes.

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      Absolutely, because they have an irrational, emotional and not standard based evaluation. We are two faced. On the one hand we expect to lose endlessly to build the minors and deploy saber metric baseball at the ml level. Then when we flip the roster, instantly we want to micro-manage the thing. Maybe most importantly, we have and continue to be completely irrational about Castro, Rizzo and Barney. We refuse to accept on a general level at least two and maybe 3 of these guys might simply be what they are. We have no rational criteria to judge Sveum by. He is being held to insane unmeasurable standards, at the same time we refuse to hold Castro for example to any standard other than to apologize for and excuse his performance.

  • p hazzna

    Im going with contract extension on Monday for sveum. Face facts, Sveum was sought out by
    Theo to change the culture of this team, i dont believe their road map for success was 2 years which is what Jed and Theo had consistently communicated. Sveum has been honest with his players regarding performance and accountability. Big name mgrs dont have a great track record here. Have some faith… Cub fans haha, they’re trying something different. O i forgot the memory here is non existent. Im a new cub fan, let m finish what they started… U can always fire the manager.

  • Die hard

    4 reasons Sveum gets canned- Castro Rizzo Shark Jax all regressed under him- if they had the seasons should’ve had Cubs are .500

  • p hazzna

    Regressed… Rizzo was signed to long term contract if he went backwards y sign him, come on, doesnt make sense..

  • Kev

    I’d like to be the asshole who officially starts the “Hire Bob Brenly as manager” talk up again.

    • bret epic

      Go ahead. I am listening.

    • ssckelley

      Sorry Bob who????? I am still wiping the drool off my chin reading all the Girardi to manage the Cubs stuff.

  • CC Rider

    Look at what the Yankees have left, what their farm system has and the overall tone of the last season…Now look at the opportunity in Chicago. Rosenthal is right (sources or no sources) Sveum is a caretaker and now the stars are aligning. Girardi wants to manage still but he’s done with the Yanks, their injuries, farewell tours and scandals have taken their toll. The Cubs are headed in the opposite direction with a young talented team and the potential for a Steinbrenner-like payroll in the future. If Girardi doesn’t replace Sveum, I’d be shocked.
    This is a great piece Brett, you really did your homework and I appreciate all your work.

  • jim haley

    There were a ton of talented prospects in Daytona & Tennessee that were better than the re-hab projects in AAA Iowa. I think the Cubs are sending a poor message to the so-called talent that Theo & Jed brought in here. Any team, other than the Cubs, would have taken a look at Baez in September as a reward for his unreal numbers in the minors. there are several Cub players on the MLB team that couldn’t accomplish that feat. This team needs 2 IMPACT free agents to blend in & lead the young stars in A & AA. I think the fans has seen enough of the AAA junk pile we have accumulated. We only have 2 hitters over .300 so tell me why the hitting coach hasn’t been asked to leave with all the starters offensive numbers declining. Nice guys finish last & that can be related to Sveum & Ventura across town. Our priorities are #1-Wrigley Field … #2 Winning minor league championships ….Raising extra $$$$ through concerts & football games at Wrigley now even during the season….#4 – The real Cubs. Until that philosophy takes a complete turnabout, the future is bleak. Ricketts is out of his league as an owner.

    • C. Steadman

      other than the fact that Jed and Theo dont like to rush prospects and get them some seasoning in AAA before the majors, another reason that Baez didnt get a September callup is because he played in the AA playoffs till Sept 7 and then was scheduled to play in the AFL in early Oct and you dont do September callups on prospects going to the AFL, until that fell through a couple weeks later and it was because he was drained from the season, so by then it was already too late to call him up and he was supposedly drained anyways so calling him up midway thru Sept wouldve done nothing for him