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?
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.