Theo Epstein on Dale Sveum’s Dismissal, and the Upcoming Search Process

epstein conference cubsTogether with the official release on Dale Sveum’s dismissal, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein included a lengthy statement explaining the decision and the next steps. It’s quite well said, so I think it’s worth sharing the whole thing with you:

Today, we made the very difficult decision to relieve Dale Sveum of his duties as Cubs manager. Dale has been a committed leader for this team the last two seasons, and I want to thank him for all of his dedication and hard work. I have a lot of admiration for Dale personally, and we all learned a lot from the way he has handled the trying circumstances of the last two years, especially the last two weeks, with strength and dignity.

In his own authentic and understated way, Dale always put the team first and never complained about the hand he was dealt. He and his staff helped us excel in game planning and defensive positioning, contributed to the emergence of several players, and helped put us in position to make some important trades. I have no doubt that – much like Terry Francona, whom we hired in Boston after his stint with a losing Phillies club – Dale will go on to great success with his next team. We had hoped Dale would grow with our organization to see it through the building phase to a period of sustained excellence; instead, I believe Dale, who felt the weight of losing perhaps more than any of us, will grow because of this experience and find excellence elsewhere.

Today’s decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses. Our record is a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made – some good, a few we would like back – to further this strategy. Jed and I take full responsibility for that. Today’s decision was absolutely not made to provide a scapegoat for our shortcomings or to distract from our biggest issue – a shortage of talent at the major league level. We have been transparent about what we are, and what we are not yet. Today’s decision, which was painful for all of us, was made to move us closer to fulfilling our ultimate long-term vision for the Cubs.

Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level. The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game, and a clear path forward. In order for us to win with this group – and win consistently – we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level. We must have clear and cohesive communication with our players about the most important parts of the game. And – even while the organization takes a patient, long view – we must somehow establish and maintain a galvanized, winning culture around the major league club.

I believe a dynamic new voice – and the energy, creativity and freshness that comes with this type of change – provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek. We will begin our search immediately – a process which will be completed before the GM meetings in early November and perhaps much sooner. There are no absolute criteria, but we will prioritize managerial or other on-field leadership experience and we will prioritize expertise developing young talent. We have not yet contacted any candidates or asked permission to speak with any candidates, but that process will begin tomorrow morning.

That’ll take some parsing, but the takeaway is largely what we’ve heard all along: it isn’t Dale’s fault, and it remains a transitional period.

The search begins tomorrow – and we’ll see if the Cubs already knew who they wanted, or if they simply knew they didn’t want Sveum anymore – and should be completed by early November.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

202 responses to “Theo Epstein on Dale Sveum’s Dismissal, and the Upcoming Search Process”

  1. Frank

    I put my vote in for Ernie Banks. Who in their right mind wouldn’t give 200% effort?

    1. DarthHater

      Yea, an 82-year-old guy with no managerial experience. Perfect!

      1. Frank

        Hey Mike Quade was picked and he was a moron.

  2. Anthony Martini

    No disrespect for Frank Robinson but actually/ technically Ernie was the first black manager in MLB. I remember reading about this years ago – I was 12 at the time.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1632775-ernie-banks-on-his-40th-anniversary-of-becoming-mlbs-first-black-manager

    1. DarthHater

      I did not know that. Live and learn. Thanks, Anthony!

  3. Anthony Martini

    On the firing – I wasn’t a big fan of Dale’s, but as a season ticket holder, if they pick some no-name after the extensive interview process Theo/Jed claimed to have put all of their candidates thru the first time, I’m not going to be happy. Especially since, they claimed that Dale was ” their guy” for the job 2 years ago.

  4. X the Cubs Fan

    Mike Maddux would also be a good option.

    1. walterj

      I completely agree .Perhaps better than Girardi .

    2. Bric

      No more Brewer connections. I never had a problem with Sveum but his record against his former team has gotta be worse than any other manger since they came into the division, I never questioned his will to win but always scratched my head a little when after so many lopsided losses he just shrugged and said “better luck tomorrow.” Kind of like losing to your brother in a game of pool. No biggie. Like Steinbrenner once said- “You show me a guy who doesn’t mind losing and I’ll show you a loser.”

  5. Kyle

    I want Joe Maddon!!!

  6. Senor Cub

    This is crap. I didn’t care for Sveum but care for continuity. You cannot bring anyone in here that could have won more games with this crappy team. Now they will go find another candidate and BUY more time. We will now refer to the 1st or 2nd year of the new manager instead of the 3rd and 4th year of this regime. I am disappointed in that they made such a big mistake in the first place. This is all on the FO now for me at least.

  7. Brian Peters

    Um, I think this being on the FO has already been established. Hell, the FO helped establish it. I mean, I want continuity, too….I posted that same wish yesterday. But it does no good to point fingers. Now is the time to find a new leader and go from there.

    1. TOOT

      Also, Sveum DID make a lot of bad decisions, there is no doubting that. And why Rizzo and Castro regress?

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