That Was Fast: Royals Hire Dale Sveum

Dale Sveum GollyWhen he was dismissed as the manager of the Chicago Cubs earlier this week, no one doubted that Dale Sveum would find another job in baseball. Indeed, most figured he’d probably land something quickly.

But three days? Damn. Dude is fast.

Today, the Kansas City Royals announced (via the Twitters) that the organization had hired Sveum to a coaching position for 2014. The details of his role aren’t yet clear, but Sveum has always been thought of as a gifted coach, particularly on the hitting side. Based on the speed of his hire, I think it’s pretty clear that he was in high demand for a job like this.

Best of luck to him with the Royals next year.

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

80 responses to “That Was Fast: Royals Hire Dale Sveum”

  1. Myles

    Almost as fast as this first comment!

  2. North Side Irish

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 2m
    Cubs claimed infielder Mat Gamel off waivers from Milwaukee

    1. Coldneck

      Not worth a 40 man spot IMO.

      1. fromthemitten

        eh, he’s injury prone but a good hitter. work him part time and he could put up a .800 OPS off the bench easy

        1. Jon

          His career high OPS in the majors(full season) was 760, and that was four years ago.

  3. CubsFaninMS

    Dale has a dry personality and some of his managerial traits need refinement, but my guess is that he’ll be a great organizational asset to the Royals. Good luck to him!

    1. Jay

      Yeah, he sure showed how gifted he was as a hitting coach…..

      1. Carew

        I think as a manager you have to focus on all aspects on the game. A hitting coach just focuses on hitting

        1. On The Farm

          Kind of like a person in business can be really good at their job and do that job at a high level for many years, doesn’t mean that they have the ability to be a good manager. As you move up there are more responsibilities that a person has to deal with. Dale got some good experience to put on his resume.

          1. cubmig

            As I said in an earlier post, Sveum walks away with hard-earned experience that will serve him well in his next assignment. He came out a “winner” in that respect. The Dude did well and the Royals took fast note. Lots of luck Dale.

          2. CubsFaninMS

            That’s a good point. I always try to compare/contrast running a Major League team similar to how a business is ran. Some people are very good at doing one thing and can thrive in that role…but.. if you put them in a LEADERSHIP role over that job function, they don’t succeed. Leadership is a separate skillset. I believe Sveum may learn to master that at some point but he’s clearly lacking IMO in the early part of his managerial career. It might be the right move for him to just stick to what he does best.

            1. Mike F

              Dale deserved better and this move shows that. As to the leadership thing, I think that is patently unfair. Some people are wild asses, it goes often with youth. It’s a grotesque overstatement to continue to believe Rizzo, Barney and Castro are on Dale. All three share a common trait arrogance and one is clearly not that sharp. There’s no proof that any of them have decided to learn. Good move for a classy guy.

              1. CubsFaninMS

                Maw-Maw Sveum?

                1. hansman1982

                  Some people are wild asses, it goes often with youth.

                  1. CubsFaninMS

                    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Sveum’s grandmother most likely curses like a sailor. Just a hunch.

              2. On The Farm

                I am not sure you can say patently unfair, I think a case could be made that Dale wasn’t quite there as a leader. I am not saying he is an total failure. But two things late season come to mind: Rizzo’s comments about batting second. Dale as a manager should have been able to have a handle on trying to convey why they were batting him second. A little of the blame should be on him, if the FO pushes with the next manager to bat Rizzo second, now they will be faced with questions about how Rizzo’s statements that he doesn’t feel comfortable there. The second is the whole Gregg situation and him going to the media. Obviously there was a communication error, and I have a hard time believing that the situation couldn’t have been easily avoided.

                I did say he has something great to put on his resume, so I believe we are chalking it up to a learning experience. But, the point I was trying to make is not all people are cut out to be a manager. Some workers just thrive in the “subordinate” roles, and it is possible Dale wasn’t entirely ready, but instead he got some on the job learning. How he grows from his failures will dictate his future in the MLB.

                1. CubsFaninMS

                  I agree. I don’t believe I communicated in that post that I believe Dale may be a decent manager down the road. He has some good traits and also some learning lessons he can take with him going into his KC job.

  4. MichiganGoat

    So how does pay work in this situation, does he get the full amount owed to him by the Cubs for 2014 AND the salary he gets for the Royals job or is there some salary relief for the Cubs?

    1. CubsFaninMS

      I believe Dale will be sveuming in cash in 2014. He will have two salaries rolling in.

      1. Mike F

        No the Cubs have to pick up the difference between his salary and the guarantee the Cub made, he doesn’t get paid twice I believe/

  5. Rich


    great may be in his contract he gets full if Royals say we are giving you x and the Cubs pay the difference..or his contract was fully guaranteed and therefore gets it all.

    1. Jay

      Pretty sure the Cubs are on the hook for whatever the difference is between what he would have been paid this year and what the Royals are giving him, but not the whole thing.

      1. frank

        Usually, using these teams as examples, the Royals pay their agreed upon salary, and the Cubs would pay the difference, assuming of course, that he’s making less with the Royals. I think I remember it being called “mitigation.”

        1. Napercal

          Spot on Frank. I’m a contract attorney. Cubs pay the difference.

        2. jt

          So Sveum is working for KC and getting paid the same as if he sat at home.
          Eh, that does not seem like such a deal for the coach.
          My guess is that Sveum had a contract to manage The Cubs and that was his sole responsibility to them. The Cubs have severed that contractual relationship with their relationship with their manager. That freed him of his contractual obligations but it did not free The Cubs of theirs.
          I’m guessing he is going to get two checks for the next year.

          1. On The Farm

            I figured it worked like this. I feel like I remember Gary Sheffield was released by the Tigers back in the mid-2000s. They owed him something north of $10M and he signed with the Mets for league minimum because he was already cashing his paycheck from the Tigers, so he was able to sign real cheap with his new team. It was a benefit to both sides because the Mets got him for the minimum and Sheffield could stay employed.

            1. jt

              That would be governed by the Players Ass. Contract. Could be wrong but I don’t believe that applies to managers and coaches.
              Also, there is only one theater in which a player can establish value (well, maybe Japan). Sveum could go into broadcasting or even establish a baseball clinic. It seems he has already established credentials as a good sought after coach.

          2. Blackhawks1963

            Sveum had a guaranteed 3 year deal from the Cubs, meaning he’s getting paid by the Cubs regardless of being fired. Now that he has taken a job with Kansas City the standard protocol is that they will pay him the minimum coaching salary they can get away with knowing that the Cubs are on the hook for the rest of the dough that equates to the original value of his 2014 guarantee. So if Sveum’s contract with the Cubs for 2014 called for a salary of $2 million (I don’t know the actual amount) and KC has agreed to pay him $100,000 for 2014, that means the Cubs still have to pay Sveum $1.9 million. So they save a little bit of money.

            1. ssckelley

              I don’t think that is how it works. The Cubs still have to pay him whatever the contract is worth. Whatever the Royals want to pay him to coach will be on top of that. Otherwise Sveum may as well take the year off and just get paid to sit at home.

              1. cms0101

                I don’t think this is true. I’ve always heard that if a guy gets a different job, the former team picks up the difference between what the other team is paying him and what their contract was for. That’s why many fired guys do just sit home. But he went out of his way to comment that he didn’t want to have time off, so this makes sense. Plus, the more he works, the more likely he gets another chance someday.

  6. ETS

    So how does it work with positions coaches when a manager leaves?

    1. King Jeff

      The new manager makes the decision on all of them. Really, McKay and possibly Bosio are the only one’s I think are worthy of a return.

      1. ETS

        The exact 2 I (and probably all of us) was (were) thinking of.

  7. cards suck

    Fire ricketts

    1. Reds Suck

      kinda hard to fire the guy who owns the team!

  8. Rich

    I have to believe that the Cubs simply want Girardi..If not, you could let go Dale one more year in another blah blah year and check in on these other candidates..

    well whatever….I am looking forward to seeing Baez and Bryant up maybe next year..Probably well.

    and the continued progress of the farm….

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      …unless they felt he was hurting the young player development. It looks like that is the case.

  9. Jono

    I’m glad to hear that he found a managing position, espesially so quickly. I’ll be rooting for him

    1. Nate Corbitt

      Not a managing position.

      1. Jono

        oh, yea. My mistake. I have no idea why i thought that. Oops. That’s a little let down.

        1. Jay

          Not really—doubt he manages again.

  10. macpete22

    MLB trade rumors said he’ll be in charge of infield instruction.

    1. jt

      some around here gave him high marks for defensive positioning
      wonder if that is what KC sees, wants, needs?

      1. aCubsFan

        ESPN is reporting Sveum is infield instruction as well. JT was Sveum really responsible for defensive positioning or was that a function of the FO and the all organization coaches developing ‘The Cubs Way’?

        1. jt

          “was Sveum really responsible for defensive positioning or was that a function of the FO and the all organization coaches developing ‘The Cubs Way’?”
          reports that I have read and heard stated that Sveum was hands on in creating the defensive positioning. I’m not sure but I think Theo thanked him for all his hard work in that regard during the termination speech.

    2. Cyranojoe

      That’s fantastic for him. I liked him well enough for a rookie manager; he may yet get another shot at the head job after all. Let’s face facts: it’s not like he went down in flames, made a bunch of enemies, or can be blamed for much of this roster’s flailings.

      1. On The Farm

        Although I would love to be a fly on the wall to listen to hear him answer this question in an interview:

        Team X: Looking at your time in Chicago, can you please justify how you let a hitter like Darwin Barney bat second in the lineup?

        **I say this not as someone who has it out for Dale, I am one of the many who didn’t hate him, but just didn’t have a reason to like him.

        1. Cyranojoe

          Oh sure, he’ll have a number of questions to answer when it comes time for that next manager interview, if he ever gets one. Why didn’t you sit Starlin more, what the hell happened with EJax, why didn’t Watkins ever get anything resembling regular playing time in September, wtfbullpenOMG, etc. The key, IMHO, will be how he answers “What did you learn from these decisions & their results?”

          1. On The Farm

            Agreed, and you bring up a valuable point about ‘what did you learn?’. I just think it would be funny, especially with more and more FO shifting toward Sabremetric ideas, and discussions of your best hitter batting second, what his response will be. Not that I am trying to be critical of his lineup construction. If I was on the interviewing committee I would ask if I could be the one that asks that question. Just something I imagine would be amusing is all.

          2. frank

            My guess is that if he’s going to be involved in infield instruction, those questions won’t even come up. In a managerial interview, maybe, but they’d probably be looking at things like approach and philosophy. Individual decisions can always be justified or at least explained away.

            1. On The Farm

              I think we were both operating under the assumption that someday he is going to get another opportunity to at least interview for a manager position.

  11. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    MLB Network says IF instruction, also.

  12. Scotti

    “Based on the speed of his hire, I think it’s pretty clear that he was in high demand for a job like this.”

    I’m thinking he is a good tea leaf reader and had feelers out for a while.

    1. Cyranojoe

      A good tea leaf reader? Given how surprised he acted when it went down, well, maybe he was just playing the victim to the media, but I doubt that.

      1. willis

        I’m not sure how he could have been surprised when they threatened his job at the all star break if he didn’t get his head out of his ass. He knew he was on a warm, if not hot seat, and then when all of his dismissal talks started gaining tons of traction the last 2-3 weeks and his team pretty much quit on him down the stretch…

        I’m pretty sure his agent was working the back channels to see who would have coaching vacancies for him.

      2. Scotti

        The Cubs have said they kept him abreast of their thinking (giving specific details as to precisely when they talked) and I have no doubt that they did. When your boss tells you that he’s going to talk to the media, and NOT give you a vote a confidence two weeks before the end of the season, you’d have to be a very BAD tea leaf reader to not get the hint and at least put out some feelers.

        1. Cyranojoe

          I get the sense that that’s exactly when he figured it out, two weeks before the firing, which isn’t a ton of time for job hunting. Honestly, I believe Theo & Jed talked with Dale earlier in the season like they said they did, but I also would not be surprised in the slightest if the message communicated was “We have problems, let’s fix them” instead of “You have a problem – fix them or you’re out.” I like Theo/Jed, but honestly that story they’ve put out out there smells a little of miscommunication and ass-covering. Not the worst thing in the world, mind you, but it just doesn’t sound like everybody was on the same page.

          1. Scotti

            I think two weeks before hand he knew he was gone but, if the prior conversation was, “Hey, we need to see some progress from our core guys this year,” Sveum would have been a dolt to not notice the core players hadn’t gotten better as the year went on. He wasn’t going to be judged on production so process is all that’s left. The process sucked.

            So, you talk to your people, and they talk to their people, about contingencies in case stuff happens–networking. And to be honest, in the Real World, two weeks is a blip on the screen for a job hunt but, in MLB, if it takes you longer than two weeks to drum up interest, there isn’t likely going to be much interest. For all I know the guy who asked Sveum to get Rob Deer a job just hired him in KC. MLB works like that.

            1. Eternal Pessimist

              I thought Theo mentioned in one of his interviews that he had discussions with Sveum around the all-star-break about concerns he had with the managing. Sounded like he was up-front with him.

              1. Scotti

                Correct. That’s the “prior conversation.” No one knows what went down there except for the parties involved but, again, he was being judged based on process (player development) and not production (W-L) so figuring out he was in trouble should not have been tough.

              2. Cyranojoe

                Yeah, my point was that Theo may not have been as clear as he thought he was. “You need to get better” doesn’t scan the same way as “You need to get better OR ELSE.” Just a possibility.

    2. macpete22

      He worked with Yost in Milwaukee

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Yost definitely owed him a solid after shooting him in the ear.

        1. On The Farm

          I thought he was shot by Yount?

          1. Cubbie Blues

            You are right. I am wrong.

            1. hansman1982

              “I am wrong.”

              Do you just have this set permanently on your crtl-v?

          2. Scotti

            “I thought he was shot by Yount?”

            Yount shot him but Yost was holing him down…

  13. fromthemitten

    Good for him, he’s got some decent players to work with in KC. If he can work the same magic he did in Milwaukee, they could make some serious noise next year. I wish him the best.

  14. Blackhawks1963

    Sveum is a good baseball man and well-respected across the game. Now he’s reunited with his pal Ned Yost in KC. The Cubs are on the hook for his 2014 salary, but that’s the price to be paid given the no-win situation was put into when he took the managerial reins of the Cubs over in 2012. Both TheoJed and Dale knew he was hired to be fired and was simply going to be a stopgap for a couple of ugly seasons while the building program was happening within the farm system. The least the Cubs can do for Sveum’s sacrifice is to give him his contractually entitled 2014 salary. He “earned” it.

    1. cms0101

      All managers are hired to be fired, but I really feel Jed and Theo hoped he’d show something as their first managerial hire here. He didn’t inspire this team to overachieve, even if that just meant 10 more wins. Just knowing how much thought goes into each decision by the FO, I really feel like they hired him thinking he could manage the young players effectively, and then rethought their position when it became apparent he wasn’t a good fit moving forward. Given that Theo commented he informed Sveum as early as the All-Star break, it’s clear to me that this was another decision that was well thought out.

  15. Aaron

    Sveum is walking away from the Cubs with a new coaching job in KC and earning a nice salary IN 2014, the majority of it paid for by the Cubs. Good for you Dale!

  16. Brains

    The Royals saw what most sane people saw this year. A dealt a hand with Jack-high, who did a good job while all of his reasonably competitive players were taken away from him, who kept morale reasonable when it should have been in the gutter, with highly neurotic interfering general management determined to lose to get a higher draft pick and ownership who refused to invest in their investment.

    They said, how in the world could they let this guy go? He has high character, experience, and respect. Our gain.

    1. cms0101

      There is a simpler/better explanation. Ned Yost was his friend and was the manager in Milwaukee when Sveum worked there.

      1. Brains

        Sure interpersonal elements are one reason, but let’s not chock Sveum’s hiring up to mere cronyism. It decontextualizes the contributions he made to the team while it was very openly being dismantled and deferred to some future date.

        1. cms0101

          I wasn’t trying to suggest that it was pure cronyism. However, no team hires a guy 3 days after he’s fired without an interview process… unless there is cronyism. And that’s not a bad thing if Yost thought so highly of him that he hired him on the spot. Sveum is probably going to be a solid “infield coordinator”. He just wasn’t a great manager. Not because of the W-L record. I agree that he didn’t have the horses. There were clear communication and evaluation issues, both with the young players and with the starting pitchers. He burned out the one lefty they had in the bullpen and made him ineffective for the last part of the season. He went to the well too many times with Marmol, and then Gregg. He trusted a broken down veteran in Shawn Camp way too much at the end of last season and the beginning of this season, up until Jed mercifully released him. Hopefully he learns from this experience and eventually gets another opportunity. He’s already doing better than Quade, who took his money for the last year of his contract and now is out of baseball.

          1. Brains

            I’ll cede a few of these points, especially regarding the immediacy of the hire.

  17. Clark Addison

    The old brew crew is having a reunion in KC.

    Many hires in baseball are cronyism. Especially coaches, who are supposed to have the manager’s back.

  18. Corey

    Good luck Dale!

  19. Gutshot5820

    I’ll go out on a limb here and take a guess that Sveum will not get many more opportunities as a hitting coach or as a sports broadcaster. Also, even if the Cubs are paying him the remainder of his salary, he probably did not sign with KC for the minimum salary. I would guess he is coaching for whatever salary that is appropriate for his coaching position. Why? Because hypothetically would you want to be a coach for a team because they were able to get you for pennies on the dollar or do you want your new team to value you for your services appropriately? That would be important to that a team pays me what they feel I am worth, not only for the current job but also because it impacts my ability to get paid in the future. So here is hoping Sveum is getting paid the maximum and saves the Ricketts some more money, so they can use that money to top off that Family Fund.

  20. Stevie B

    Greg Maddux as our manager.

    I just paused for a moment of reflection. Like, seriously.

    That would be completely fantastic.

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