When the Chicago Cubs fired Dale Sveum as manager on Monday, they also kinda-sorta fired the entire coaching staff. Although some of the coaches are desirable return candidates, and some are believed to have had a contract through 2014, the front office decided to let all of the coaches go, with the understanding that they may want to see some return when the new manager was hired and had an opportunity to pick his own staff.
In that way, it was simultaneously a rough thing and a courteous thing to do – although the coaches may now be unemployed, they are at least not being held entirely in limbo awaiting a new manager. Should they want to pursue other opportunities, they could do so now. If they’re willing to wait on the next guy to see what’s up, they can do that, too.
One of the coaches that I’d think the Cubs very much hope waits it out is outfield/first base coach Dave McKay. An extremely successful and well-tenured coach over his long career with the Cardinals and Athletics, McKay is believed to have been instrumental in Alfonso Soriano’s outfield renaissance over the past two years, among other things.
In a great piece at ESPN Chicago, Jesse Rogers spoke at length with McKay, who sounds interested in waiting to see how the managerial situation shakes out before exploring non-Cubs options. You’ll want to read the whole thing for McKay’s thoughts, but I did want to share one particularly striking, and appropriate quote, given the state of things.
“I’m 63 years old. If they say you’re going to be winning in four or five years, I might not be there [in four or five years] even if I was asked,” McKay told Rogers when asked about the desire to win again soon. “It’s getting close to when I’m going to be retiring. Right now, I feel like I can do everything in the past. I don’t feel my age. The chance to work with these guys is exciting …. They do have some talent where you’re saying you wish they could fast forward this a little bit. There’s going to be some talent showing up soon. You know they are going to be a winning organization, but you often wondered if you’d be a part of that.”
That really sums it up, doesn’t it? There’s always a timetable running up against the excitement of the possibility of being a part of history. It can’t be an easy choice for McKay or the other coaches who are considering waiting things out. And, for that very same reason, it can’t be an easy choice for someone like Joe Girardi to decide whether to leave the comforts of success in New York for the challenge of Chicago.