So yesterday I really believed that Dale Sveum would be around to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2014, no questions asked. But then I read this blog post by Carrie Muskat, and I really started to wonder:
Asked directly whether Sveum would be back in 2014, Epstein said they will go through a check list, and added “there are no alarm bells to ring” but it is a subject that will be addressed once the evaluation process is completed.
Epstein met with Sveum on Tuesday at Miller Park for about four hours to go over the roster, the coaching staff and the manager’s performance this season.
Sveum was tested on Monday when he and pitcher Edwin Jackson clashed in the dugout because the right-hander was not happy about being pulled after four innings. It was the first public incident in Sveum’s two seasons with the Cubs.
“With respect to keeping the clubhouse incident free, I think he’s done a remarkable job,” Epstein said Tuesday. “That really is the first such incident in two very difficult seasons which I think is a feather in Dale’s cap.”
“I think we’ve been very up front that we’re not evaluating Dale on wins and losses,” Epstein said. “Our record is more of a reflection of the roster that we’ve put on the field as a baseball operations department and where we are in this building process. I don’t hold Dale accountable for the record.”
So if Epstein isn’t evaluating Sveum on the record, what is he looking at? Epstein cited the development of young players; in-game decision making; the way he uses the roster; the manager’s ability to create a culture of accountability, hard work, and preparation; and the ability to develop solid, trusting relationships with players. The latter is important so the team can deal with adversity.
“Dale’s been given a hand to play at times by us,” Epstein said. “There are certain categories where it’s hard to evaluate him. Any time an organization suffers back to back last place seasons, you have to examine every single aspect of the organization. We’re looking at our own decision making process in the front office and evaluating the players.”
So, just to recap, Dale is a great guy with a hell of a personality and we’re sure he’ll make some team out there really, really happy. Also, it’s not him, it’s us. Also, he lost a shit-ton of games. Okay, so many that’s not a HUGE factor in “evaluating” Dale, but let’s be honest, if the Cubs had gone 162-0, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
After the game last night, I started compiling a list of all the things Dale has done well this season, and asked some of my tweeps to help out. Here’s what we came up with:
THINGS DALE SVEUM HAS BEEN AWESOME AT THIS SEASON:
- The Cubs have arrived at all games on time.
- No fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse
- Never forgets to put a starting pitcher in the lineup
- Helped “near the end of their career” players blossom into legitimate platoon options
- Chris Bosio’s double knee-replacement seems to be going well
- Lack of murder in the clubhouse, both human and boom-box
- No injuries sustained by players jumping over the clubhouse rail to celebrate . . . anything
- No Gatorade or water coolers have been harmed during his tenure
. . . and that’s pretty much it. But that’s SOMETHING, is it not?
The Cubs try to avoid the sweep this afternoon at Miller Park. Chris Rusin (2-4, 2.85) will face Tyler Thornburg (2-1, 2.18). First pitch is at 7:10 pm CT on CSN.