Dale Sveum fired, Joe Girardi on deck? And where is Mike Maddux in all of this?

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.

image-dale-sveumIt 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?

29 thoughts on “Dale Sveum fired, Joe Girardi on deck? And where is Mike Maddux in all of this?

  1. J says:

    I’m not sure Maddux leaves Texas as I’m not sure that Ron Washington will still be the Rangers manager by the end of the week. Then again, the Rangers seem to be on this kick of giving up stuff to the Cubs and getting nothing of real value in return.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      Considering the Rangers play over the last week and a half, I doubt Washington gets fired regardless of what happens tonight or the rest of October.

      That being said, I would pick Maddux to replace Washington once he is fired next season. (I don’t really think very highly of Washington, and I believe the Rangers top brass would like to see him gone as well…they are just waiting for the right opportunity to kick him out.)

      1. J says:

        Rangers brass has given Ron Washington every chance in the world to not shoot himself in the foot, yet he’s somehow left with 7 toes. Between the drug issues (his and players) and the 2nd half collapse the past two seasons, I’m surprised that he didn’t get replaced earlier this month.

        Ron Washington is only in this conversation about keeping his job because he got the gift of facing the Astros 19 times this season (17-2). 15 of his 20 games above .500 came from the Astros. He manages at a +5 win rate when facing MLB talent. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a manager who can’t figure out how to beat Oakland despite an order of magnitude in better/more plentiful organizational resources (payroll, facilities, ownership support.)

        1. dabirdguy says:

          Oakland has the smartest front office in baseball, bar none.

          1. Doc Blume says:

            I’d say the Tampa Bay is, personally.

  2. Funny can u start the giradi watch

  3. cubbydon says:

    There must be something substantial about the Girardi rumors. I can’t believe the Cubs would fire Sveum with a year left on his contract, especially a year they’re expected to suck again, unless they had someone in mind that was available this year but probably wouldn’t be available next year.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I tend to agree. Between Girardi and Scioscia…both who appear to be available for the Cubs to talk to…the Cubs have the opportunity to unquestionably upgrade at manager. And when you have that opportunity, you probably need to seize it.

    2. J says:

      If Sveum wasn’t getting an extension (evident by his firing today), then having him around as a lame duck in 2014 does nothing to help the team in 2015. Today’s move isn’t as much about next year as it is the 3 years after 2014. If anything, firing Dale suggests to me that next year is when we figure out what the prospects can do at the MLB level. No way TheoJed were going to leave Baez, Soler, Alcantera, and Bryant to get Sveum’d after the job he did with Castro, Rizzo, and Barney.

  4. Raythar says:

    This is going to be quite the month for the Cubs. Looks like you’ll have no shortage of comments or things to write about!

  5. Anonymous says:

    At least Dale didn’t get fired at O’Hare! That said, I don’t really see Girardi leaving the Yanks unless they are going to clean house and go through their OWN rebuild. As an Angels fan, much as I like Scioscia, it only took him all year to learn when to pull a pitcher and I wouldn’t wish that on the Cubs. At least Maddux won’t take stuff from egos like Edwin Jackson!

    1. J says:

      You do realize all the public blow-ups between Dale and players happened after it started to become clear that Dale’s job was in jeopardy. Sveum was told he had to go hands off on Castro, so he doubled down on Gregg, Spellcheck, and EJax to assert the authority that was taken away from him. I can easily see Dale going all scorched earth on the players he felt like were easy scapegoats for his failings as a manager. Perhaps what you consider to be EJax’s ego was really just Sveum’s repeated failed attempts at keeping his job.

      1. juliedicaro says:

        I think it was the opposite. I think the players sensed he was a lame duck and had no problem saying what they thought.

  6. Doc Blume says:

    Do we have a new manager yet?

    What the hell is taking so long?

    1. J says:

      Theo and Jed have to go fix the US government first. Give them a day or two and it’ll be all good to go onto the Cubs management search. All good things in all good time.

  7. Doc Blume says:

    I’m not sure why…but I’m really jazzed to watch tonight’s one game playoff to determine who plays into the one game playoff to determine who gets into the playoffs.

    1. cubbydon says:

      Agreed. There’s something interesting about playing a one-game playoff for a chance to play in a one-game playoff for a chance to play in the playoffs. I LOVE the new format.

  8. dabirdguy says:

    My lists of candidates:
    1. Greg Maddux – Greg knows more about playing baseball than any other player /manager alive. You cannot be the best pitcher in the game 4 consecutive years without knowing pitching, hitting AND general situational baseball. Every player he has worked with raves about what they ahve learned.
    2. Mike Maddux – Because Greg will come with him, and because he is a most excellent pitching coach.
    3. Matt Williams – Matt is a tough guy. He books no nonsense. You play hard or he’s in your face and his size 12′s are up your ass.
    4. Dave Martinez – We could not pry Joe Maden out of Tampa, perhaps his 1st. Lieutenant would be just as good? He comes from a winning culture and has been learning from one of the very best.
    5. Tony LaRussa – He’s had 2 years to rest up. The only thing in baseball managing he hasn’t done is break a curse.

    1. juliedicaro says:

      Maddux is not a candidate. He wants to golf, not manage. Davey Martinez is interesting.

      1. FrankS says:

        Davey Martinez and the Cubs against Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies. I think I’d have to root for Philadelphia.

    2. J says:

      1. huge difference in working with players one on one and managing a MLB season.
      2. backed out of the job 2 years ago and is in line to take over a team with actual pitching depth
      3. the tough as nails persona didn’t work with Sveum and player development, why do you think Williams would be any different?
      4. Dark horse, but Theo said today he’s looking for someone with an established track record, not a great understudy.
      5. he’d rather work an executive job with MLB than be on the road with a team for the next 4 years.

      Whoever the Cubs hire has to be able to bring 3million fans through the turnstiles through the renovation or they will see the same fate as Dale Sveum. The formula is pretty simple-
      1) continue to collect the talent like what has been collected over the past 2 years and figure out how to win over the next 4 years
      2) watch attendance and advertising dollars roll in so you can lock in your young core before they hit arbitration
      3) bid on free agent improvements as they are available while being avoiding contracts over 100 million or 5 years.

      If you fail at one and two, you miss out on 3 being how you stay on top of the division from year to year in the face of inevitable injuries, wash-outs, and declining skills.

      Who on your list do you think has what it takes to implement the 4 year plan starting next week? LaRussa is the only one on the list with the track record to suggest he could do it, but I don’t see him committing to a 4 year process.

  9. J says:

    I’d like to nominate Ozzie Guillen for the next Cubs manager.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I think I’d be ok with that. I don’t think he’s a long term solution, though. Ozzie’s act would grow stale after about 2 years.

      1. juliedicaro says:

        I think watching Ozzie bump up against Cubs fans would be the funniest thing ever. I’m totally on board.

  10. Faber says:

    Maddux might get the Texas job. Girardi is going to cost $5M per. Torre is happy retired, and his legacy is set.

    Dave Martinez would be an interesting choice. Kirk Gibson has done very well with a young team in Arizona. He struggled early as a young phenom and worked his way through.

    1. juliedicaro says:

      I don’t think it matters what Girardi is going to cost. It’s still cheaper to hire a manager than a middle reliever.

  11. juliedicaro says:

    Really interesting info here from Carrie Muskat on how this all went down. Apparently, the Cubs told Dale changes needed to be made in the second half, and he didn’t make them.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130930&content_id=62222838&vkey=news_chc&c_id=chc&tcid=tw_article_62222838

    1. Doc Blume says:

      It would seem to me that the low OBP of so many of the key players (excluding the catchers I suppose) is what irked Theo in the first half.

      Pretty much everyone of significance was sitting under .320…and that’s probably not good enough for the Epstein regime.

  12. Doc Blume says:

    Reading Theo’s comments yesterday, I highly doubt that Mike Maddux is being considered right now now. It would appear that they are trying to target someone with managing experience.

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