As we’ve expected for several days, Dale Sveum was fired today by the Chicago Cubs, a year before his contract was set to expire. Here’s what Theo had to say:
Today, we made the very difficult decision to relieve Dale Sveum of his duties as Cubs manager,” Epstein said in a statement released by the club. “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.
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.
It wasn’t until Theo made those weird comments 10 days or so ago, that I really started thinking Dale was on his way out, a feeling that was confirmed once I started poking around and bugging people in the know. In the end, this whole thing happened pretty quickly, and by late last week it was obvious that the media firestorm was going to make it damn near impossible for Theo to bring Dale back.
As I wrote last week, it was Dale’s mishandling of the kids that ultimately led to his dismissal, both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo having regressed from previous seasons. Threatening to demote and/or bench Rizzo / Castro didn’t help matters, either. In fact, throughout the season, there were several incidents involving the kids in which Dale’s statements and actions were quickly reversed, presumably by the powers that be in the front office.
Where the Cubs go from here is anyone’s guess, though I’m told (by the same source who told me that Dale was on his way out last week) that “the Girardi situation is much more developed than anyone really knows.” As Theo said there’s been no official negotiations between the parties, my guess it that Girardi’s people made some kind of overture that let the Cubs know Girardi is serious about listening to their offer.
I’m also curious as to where Mike Maddux is in all of this. He was widely believed to be the Cubs’ first choice back in 2010, but removed himself from consideration. I’ve been led to believe that Maddux wasn’t interested in losing for several seasons before the Cubs became competitive. Are the Cubs closer to being competitive? Would Maddux reconsider?
Obviously, the situation is incredibly fluid right now, but look for things to move quickly once the World Series is over. And keep an eye out at your local Starbucks. Or Dunkin Donuts. Or is Joe an Intelligista guy? Tea? Does he drink tea? Should I work in my building’s Argo for the next week?