Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein confirmed yesterday that staffing/coaching decisions are coming, and will be announced on Monday. Those decisions will include at least some changes, though the degree and extent of those changes will probably remain a mystery until Monday.
Dave Kaplan, among others, expects that the change will include the dismissal of Dale Sveum, who has one year remaining on his contract. It wasn’t a week ago that I thought a managerial change was extremely unlikely. I no longer feel that way. That’s not to say that Sveum – and/or some of his coaches – might not survive this evaluation period, nor is it to say that he’s not the right man for the job in 2014. I simply no longer think it isn’t a possibility that the Cubs will make a change. That feeling is based on a variety of things – some public, some not – and it leaves me a bit surprised. But the fact is, the gentlemen in charge have far more visibility to the needs of the organization and the successes or failures of the coaching staff than I do. If they believe a change is in order, then they’ll make it, however close to the last decision it might be.
On Sveum, specifically, Dan Bernstein says that the Cubs and Joe Girardi’s camp are in a “very real” courtship process (subject to the rules), and both sides are interested. At least one source tells Patrick Mooney that a Girardi/Epstein marriage could come with a power struggle, though others tell Mooney that isn’t the case. It remains to be seen how things would play out if the Yankees desperately wanted to keep Girardi, and the Cubs desperately wanted to land him. It may never come to that, of course.
Mooney’s piece also has a bit on yesterday’s vogue candidate – again, for a job that may never be open – Brad Ausmus. He may not be as serious of a candidate as Peter Gammons obliquely suggested.
We’ll see if anything new emerges between now and Monday. It would seem that the Cubs are weighing an important and difficult decision here. It would be ideal if they knew they definitely preferred Sveum over any other hypothetical candidate, OR knew that the hypothetical candidate that they prefer is available and immediately willing to sign up. Absent perfect knowledge of one of those two things, the front office will have to choose: stick with Sveum as of Monday, knowing that it may have been possible to land someone else preferable; or let Sveum go, knowing that they may whiff on a better candidate, and end up regretting moving on from Sveum.