While we await the final word on whether Dale Sveum will be returning to helm the Chicago Cubs in 2014 – a decision that could come as early as Monday – there are a couple additional pieces of information of which to make you aware.
The first comes in the form of a long article by Patrick Mooney, which is well worth a read. In it, you’ll find many of the very things I’ve tried, poorly, to articulate over the past two weeks – including the fact that the numerous layers that go into this managerial decision make it very hard to articulate precisely what the inputs are and what the outputs could be. There are the players to consider, the other options, the coaching staff, the direction of the organization, the projected competitiveness in the next few years, etc.
Mooney notes that the whispers of Joe Girardi coming home, so to speak, are not merely folks connecting Chicago-and-expiring-contract dots. Relatedly, Mooney hears from team sources that the evaluation process is indeed complex, and could end with a new manager for the Cubs within the next month. It could be Girardi, or it could be someone else. Or it could still be Dale Sveum. That’s how tricky this whole thing is.
Speaking of which …
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was on the Dave Kaplan show yesterday, and was immediately asked about the Dale Sveum evaluation process. You can – and should – listen to the interview here, but the paraphrased response is this: “The direction of the organization is good. But some things at the Major League level were frustrating. That’s probably the case every year, but this year more than most. There are some players and some things that haven’t lived up to expectations. We’ve spent a long time trying to get to the bottom of why that happened.” While that speaks generically to issues on the big league team – they’ve lost 93 games, so obviously some things on the Major League level were frustrating – it came in direct response to a question about the evaluation of Dale Sveum.
To be clear, Hoyer didn’t give anything away, and nothing in what he said would be inconsistent with Sveum returning. But the feel – the gut reaction you have after listening to someone speak – was that a change might be coming. I was surprised to have that reaction, and maybe I had it only because I’d just read Mooney’s piece, and was taking things together that don’t actually go together.
The beginning of October is shaping up to be an interesting time, even as the Cubs are sitting out the playoffs once again.
UPDATES – A couple short items that popped up just now/came to my attention just now: Peter Gammons was on The Score and suggested that former catcher Brad Ausmus could be a candidate for the Cubs if Sveum is let go (Gammons guessed Sveum is gone, based on the silence, doesn’t think Girardi will be the guy, and said he wouldn’t be shocked if it’s Ausmus). Nick Cafardo tweets that nothing has been decided yet about Sveum, though.