The plot thickens for the Cubs’ manager job

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.”

image-dale-sveumYeeesh. Is it just me, or is that not the most ringing endorsement you’ve ever heard? But wait, it gets better:

“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:


  1. The Cubs have arrived at all games on time.
  2. No fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse
  3. Never forgets to put a starting pitcher in the lineup
  4. Helped “near the end of their career” players blossom into legitimate platoon options
  5. Chris Bosio’s double knee-replacement seems to be going well
  6. Lack of murder in the clubhouse, both human and boom-box
  7. No injuries sustained by players jumping over the clubhouse rail to celebrate . .  . anything
  8. 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.

20 thoughts on “The plot thickens for the Cubs’ manager job

      1. gravedigger says:

        what ever happened to that thing, anyway?

  1. Doc Blume says:

    It’s kinda funny, because if it happened that Sandberg was not promoted to manager in Philly last month, I honestly believe that the time would be right next year to bring him back to Chicago. I wanted Sandberg to be the Cubs manager…just not with the roster they had the last two years. Now that we, theoretically, are starting to move toward being a contender again, I would love to have seen him as the manager.

    I doubt Theo and Jed would feel the same way, but that’s how I would have played it.

    1. J says:

      I’m not sure that Sandberg loses the interim tag at the end of the season. Also, the business side of the Cubs is noticing the decline in ticket sales. Nothing sells Cubs baseball like some nostalgia. My guess is that the two managers the Cubs would seriously consider this offseason are Girardi and Sandberg. If either of them win with the Cubs- great. If not- they can at least help sell some tickets. Until the ballpark is renovated/replaced, you’ve got to use everything you’ve got in your toolkit to maintain the existing revenue streams.

      1. Doc Blume says:

        Fans in Philly might not believe he’ll lose the interim tag, but I’m pretty sure he gets the gig full time. Most of the reports I’ve read have stated that most people concerned believe Sandberg is doing a very good job…and despite what Amaro has said, he did bring Sandberg in as the heir apparent to Manuel. Unless Amaro is fired, Sandberg is likely to keep the job.

        I’d like to have Girardi as well…especially with the young kids.

  2. johnnywest333 says:

    What about all the bone headed things Dale has done? Letting Barney bat with a runner on first is an instant double play. Letting Barney bat with runners on base, guaranteed pop out. Letting Barney hold a bat, instant nightmare. Leaving a pitcher in the game to long? Allowing every team on the planet to score in the first inning including my nephews little league, instant path to success. Not playing Navarro enough? Allowing Castro to purchase sunflower seeds? Allowing himself to speak like Quade? Winner. Not touching up his bad tattoos? Cubs 101…

    1. J says:

      OK, not that I love Dale, but this is where the piling on gets to be a bit much. Dale lets Barney bat because of the parade of clowns that occupied 2nd Base for the first 2 weeks of the season (aka he’s the best we’ve got right now.) He leaves pitchers in for too long because he’s still dealing with the PTSD of Marmol and which of our relievers is better than the starters they replaced? Navarro while an interesting power anomaly isn’t the future of the franchise. Wellington Castillo needs the time to get better at calling games and getting to know the tendencies of NL batters. It’s quite obvious that Castillo is not a Buster Posey clone, so let’s just take the good things he does and realize that aside from poor situational hitting (which plagues the entire MLB team) Castillo is not that bad of a catcher.

      Seems like you are interested in someone capable micromanagement of a MLB clubhouse. I would suggest that if a MLB clubhouse needs micromanagement, the players should go before management, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

      1. johnnywest333 says:

        My point being is that I am under the impression that a managers job is to field the players on the roster that give you the best opportunity to win right now. Playing Castillo because he needs to take more reps is Castillos problem not Navarros. Navarro gives the Cubs a better chance to win right now. Castillo will learn by watching and then by earning the position. Valbuena is a far better batter then Barney and plays second base he gives you again the better chance of winning right now yet Barney plays every day. I would rather see some errors in the field by Luis and some runs on the board at the plate then watch Barney try to look cute batting and fail miserably every time. If you want to give someone some playing time to help with their progression then put in Logan Watkins he will be on the team longer then Barney. Barney will not be on this team much longer.

        Don’t get me wrong I am actually a Sveum fan. I love that he uses stat analysis but my biggest concern with him is that he needs to learn how to play his cards at the right time. If I was rating him in that category without taking his time as the skipper into consideration then I would give him a “D”.

        As far as the pitching goes for right now that is Bosio’s monster to deal with.

        Theo/Jed didn’t acquire these stop gap players to teach the kids how to play. He wants to use them while they still have some gas in the tank for wins right now. Theo knows what he has in the younger players and how they will be replaced when his farm raised prospects reach the bigs.

  3. Doc Blume says:

    I’d like to add #9 to that list…

    He’s been very good at ensuring the Cubs will have another top 5 draft pick next year.

  4. gravedigger says:

    like button is back. try it out. let me know how it goes.

    1. johnnywest333 says:

      And it’s green! :)

    2. juliedicaro says:

      I loooooove the like button!

      1. Raythar says:

        The “rate this” bubble im not too fond of, but I will take the trade off!

        1. gravedigger says:

          That was my immediate thought, too. I’m sure I can get rid of it if I can get some time to play with it tonight. This one’s just a plugin, nothing I did myself.

  5. sloanpeterson2 says:

    As I said previously , it looks like 2 or 3 managers will be fired soon. Anybody have thoughts on Washington or Collins as the next place-holder manager?

    1. juliedicaro says:

      Not Washington. I can’t remember what he did recently, but I know it pissed me off.

      1. Doc Blume says:

        I’ve never been a fan of Washington…I felt Texas succeeded despite of him. He’s had some good people around him too. But as someone to develop the talent on this team…hell no.

        Collins is just a bad, out of touch manager. The rest of the league was laughing at the Mets when they hired him.

      2. J says:

        I’m not sure leaving a young team in the hands of a guy who was suspended for his coke use is the best idea. Besides, he might ask Tom and Todd to share and they don’t seem like the types to share with “the help.”

    2. Doc Blume says:

      Hell no…and HELL NO!

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