Chicago Cubs Friday Headlines: Get bent, Peter Gammons

I’m running around the house like a lunatic trying to pack for an out-of-state soccer tournament this weekend, so OF COURSE Peter Gammons picks today to go on The Score and drop some bomb about Brad Ausmus being the next manager of the Cubs. WHAT?

Let’s back up for a minute, shall we?

gammons (1)All I can report is what my sources have told me, which is the following: President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has been less-than-impressed with Dale Sveum’s handing of the kids this season. If you’ve been paying attention, this should come as no surprise. How many times have we heard Dale say Starlin Castro is going to be benched, only to announce the next day he isn’t, that Starlin and Anthony Rizzo could be sent down the minors, only to say the next day “that’s not what I meant,” to hit Starlin and Rizzo at the bottom of the order because “that’s where they belong,” only to have them moved to the top of the order the following day?

Who, exactly, did everyone thing was behind those reversals? Starlin’s mom?

It’s also no secret that Rizzo and Starlin appeared to take a step backwards at the plate this season, and, inexplicably, Dale’s cast of buddies from the 1988 Brewers weren’t able to get them back on track.

But let’s look at the larger picture for a minute: Dale Sveum was never brought to Chicago to win the World Series. Dale needed someone who was willing to give a new manager a shot, and the Cubs needed someone who was willing to take on a young, crappy team in order to gain experience. Translation: No one ever expected Dale Sveum to be managing this team once they were good enough to win.

When I started hearing that Sveum might be on his way out, I was surprised. Not because I think Sveum has been an outstanding manager who deserved another year, but because my assumption was that Sveum would be out once Theo thought the team was ready to take the next step. Or when they were at least getting ready to take the next step, and a super-star manager was available. Girardi. Maddon. Bochy. So when the rumors about the Cubs being interested in Joe Girardi started swirling, it seemed early, but it made sense.

I can’t say that Brad Ausmus was ever on my radar.

This rumor raises a few questions:

1. Does Theo think the Cubs are on the brink of being competitive? (This would mean an accelerated timeline for the Kris Bryants and Javier Baezs of the world)

2.  Does Gammons actually know something about Brad Ausmus? Or is he just pulling that name out of his ass?

3. Would the Cubs even consider bringing Sveum back after this media storm?

4. Did the Ricketts family have anything to do with Dale Sveum’s possible early dismissal? It’s hard to imagine Cubs fans getting excited about another season like this one. Unexcited Cubs fans do not equal butts in seats.

I don’t know the answer to these questions,  but I’ll try to find out. When I know something, you’ll know something.

The Cubs, fittingly, take their final punishment tonight in St. Louis. The team who represents everything the Cubs aren’t will deliver the final beat-down. How poetic. How Shakespearean.

Travis Wood takes the hill against Lance Lynn tonight at 7:15 pm CT on CSN.

28 thoughts on “Chicago Cubs Friday Headlines: Get bent, Peter Gammons

  1. Doc Blume says:

    Ugh…

    Here is Peter Gammons’ quote from this morning:

    “The silence tells me that there’s a really good chance Dale Sveum doesn’t come back and I don’t believe that Joe Girardi is going to be manager of the Cubs. Just basing it on background & history, I would not be shocked if it was Brad Ausmus.”

    This is nothing more than Peter Gammons talking out of his ass…and has no basis for it other than his gut feeling.

    My prediction…my gut tells me the exact opposite here…Sveum will be back and Ausmus will be nowhere near Chicago next year.

  2. Doc Blume says:

    I would also like to note that The Cubs have been paying 2 people to manage this team over the last two years due to Quade’s contract. If Sveum gets fired, they will end up paying 2 people to manage this team next year as well.

    One of the Cubs biggest problems over the last 40 years has been their lack of consistency in the managerial ranks.

    I’m not saying that Sveum is the right answer here, but if this team is going trying to achieve sustained success, one aspect of that is having an consistent voice manning the dugout year after year. If the Cubs do replace Sveum, it sure as hell had better not be another “tryout” situation. They need someone who the can be completely confident in and have no questions about their ability to lead this team for a long time.

    That person is not Brad Ausmus or any other first time manager. Ron Gardenhire and Joe Girardi definitely two people who fit that description.

  3. juliedicaro says:

    I don’t think Sveum will be back. If he is, Theo is holding his nose to do it.

    1. Dusty Baylor says:

      ..and clenching a sphincter. I’m not a huge Sveum fan…but I don’t mind seeing him here next year…not if they’re not going to contend. He has to be sat down and talked to about hitting Barney second…hitting Lake second…etc. His lineups are….effing weird. Another good idea is to discuss the value of splits and his bullpen pitchers…IE James Russell.

  4. NotAgain says:

    Errr… is this due to Ausmus’ “special assistant” job, or as the manager of the Israeli WBC team??

    1. juliedicaro says:

      LMAO.

      I think it’s due to Peter Gammons man-crush on Ausmus.

      1. Doc Blume says:

        Ausmus’s name came up a few times last year. It’s likely he’ll get a shot at some point soon. I just don’t see the Cubs being the team that does that.

  5. juliedicaro says:

    I can never think about Ausmus without thinking of the time Chris Rongey called him “Broad Brad Ausmus” by accident on The Score.

  6. kaufmak says:

    Honestly, I think Sveum will be back next year because to lose him after only two years would be the admission quite early on of a big mistake on the part of the Theo regime. This was their first big hire remember, bypassing Sandberg, touting Sveum as “the guy” for this phase. If they do fire him, it would be fair to question some of Theo and Co.’s decision and evaluation abilities.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      They may feel that Sveum was a mistake, but I think they felt they could risk making a mistake. They went into the Sveum thing with the intention of replacing him when the team got competitive again…unless he proved to be more than they thought he was.

      Theo was never going to hire Sandberg. Saying that they bypassed Sandberg would insinuate he was even on their radar. He wasn’t.

      Even if Sandberg was available right now and didn’t get the Phillies job, Theo wouldn’t consider him if Sveum is fired.

      1. juliedicaro says:

        Exactly. And I don’t think Theo has a problem admitting his mistakes. Remember, he DFAed Stewart.

  7. Raythar says:

    If Sveum is gone, I think that speaks to how close Theo and Co. believe this team is to contending. They sure as hell won’t fire Sveum just to replace him with another 2 year stopgap hire. This team does have issues, yes, but without the fire sale and a solidified bullpen to start the year we are looking at a 70-80 win team. That’s a foundation to build on with some shrewd free agent signings and continued development from core players. Granted, that hasn’t happened this season, but who’s to say that next year Castro and Rizzo won’t take that next level and that our free agent signings pan out (much like they did this year, for the most part)?

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I disagree. I don’t think it speaks anything to how close they think they are to contending. I think is speaks more to how Sveum has handled Castro and Rizzo and handled some of the other aspects of managing. If Castro and Rizzo and some of the other younger players were responding better to Sveum overall, I think Sveum finishes out his contract before he gets replaced…regardless of how close Theo, Jed and everyone thinks this team is to competing.

      1. Raythar says:

        I don’t think this team will be contending in 2014 by any means, but if the opportunity to add a Gardenhire or Girardi presents itself, there’s no point in waiting until next season to can Sveum. Then the core pieces can develop properly and be ready to take a star level turn in 2015. I do agree that the regression of Castro and Rizzo will be the biggest factor in Sveum not returning.

        1. Doc Blume says:

          I still believe if Castro and Rizzo hadn’t regressed (along with Barney and Samardzija) and if Sveum handled some of the other personnel issues better, he’d be back next year regardless of Girardi or Gardenhire’s (or Scioscia’s) availability.

          I believe there is only one manager who would have warranted Sveum to be fired regardless of the other circumstances…and that was Tito Francona. But he’s not leaving Cleveland.

          1. Raythar says:

            Jon Heyman brought up in one of his recent articles that the performance of our top prospects this season has them thinking that the rebuild may not take as long as originally thought.

            1. Doc Blume says:

              The rebuild is going to take as long as it takes to get major revenue back from the ballpark renovations…which have been pushed back an entire year now.

  8. juliedicaro says:

    I mean her released Stewart.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      He did both actually.

  9. juliedicaro says:

    I agree, and I think it means that we could see Bryant and Baez much earlier than we expected.

  10. Doc Blume says:

    Julie, you made some interesting observations about Gardenhire on Twitter today. I have to tend to agree with you that Gardenhire isn’t likely to be a choice for Theo and Jed. I like the guy a lot, but he probably is indeed too “old school” for Theo’s liking.

    With that said, for me it is Girardi or bust for manager. I just don’t see the Yankees letting him go…and that would mean if Sveum’s gone we are going to be stuck with some other Sveum-like yahoo managing this team.

  11. Doc Blume says:

    Overheard on twitter:

    “Player. Manager. Valbuena.”

    1. Raythar says:

      I would be 100% on board with that, solely because having a player-manager would be awesome.

      1. Doc Blume says:

        Has there been a full time player/manager in baseball since Pete Rose?

        1. Raythar says:

          According to wikipedia, nope. Last before him was Don Kessinger for the White Sox in the 70′s.

          1. NotAgain says:

            I was always surprised that Kessinger never made it as a ML manager, he seemed like “that kind” of guy.

  12. Doc Blume says:

    Dan Bernstein from the Score (who is far from being a Cubs insider) is reporting that Joe Girardi has informed the Cubs that he is available to discuss the Cubs job.

  13. juliedicaro says:

    I’m at a hotel in Cedar Rapids. If anyone can do a game thread, I’d be appreciative.

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