There is no question that the Chicago Cubs rebuilding project has taken another step in the right direction during the 2013 season. Of course the Cubs’ record may not show it, but the team has become much more competitive this season than they were last season.
That increase in competitive nature of the Cubs means that the next step in the team’s rebuilding project is drawing closer. The next step includes the implementation of the organization’s top prospects onto the Major League Baseball team over the course of the next two seasons. Included in that mix could be outfielder Jorge Soler and infielder Javier Baez.
In addition to the implementation of the team’s top prospects, the team is expected to take a turn towards contention in the coming season. Contending this season may be pipe-dream, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Cubs could contend in 2014.
To that end, that would mean that this would be the final season in where the main goal for the front office is to turn short-term assets into long-term assets. Instead, the main goal would be to add talent that is Major League ready and able to contribute to a contending team.
Though, if the team is going to contend in the next season or two, then the end of Dale Sveum‘s tenure as Cubs’ manager may be near.
When Sveum was hired prior to the 2012 season, the Cubs’ front office was adamant that the former Milwaukee Brewers’ hitting coach was not going to serve as bridge to the team’s next manager when the Cubs were ready to contend. However, it is looking increasingly likely that Sveum is in fact a bridge to the team’s next manager.
The Cubs’ record of 18-27 is not a true reflection of how competitive the team has been this season. The person to blame for that mis-representation is Sveum. The Cubs’ blew six games during the first few weeks of the 2013 season. While those blown games are attributed to the Cubs’ inept bullpen, it was the Cubs’ stubborn manager that enabled them.
Sveum has offered no solutions. Instead of searching for changes he could make to the bullpen, the Cubs’ manager remained with the status-quo. That was the case on Tuesday when Sveum’s misguided trust in reliever Shawn Camp blew a chance for Matt Garza to get a victory in his first start of the season.
Sveum’s stubbornness has also spilled over on the offensive side for the Cubs. The Cubs have struggled against left-handed pitchers this season. Yet, Sveum, until today, has not wavered in his willingness to alter the Cubs near righty-exclusive lineup against left-handed pitchers.
This is the same stubbornness that Cubs fans have seen before. Former Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella had no solutions for the Cubs’ struggles during the 2010 season. Piniella offered no changes nor solutions and the Cubs’ struggles grew worse. While Piniella wasn’t fired, it was clear that the Cubs’ were ready to part ways with the manager.
Cubs fans and eventually the Cubs’ front office didn’t accept the stubbornness from Piniella, just like they didn’t accept the stubbornness from Piniella’s replacement Mike Quade. Meaning Sveum is operating with a bad precedent. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Sveum is in store for the same fate as Piniella and Quade in the not so distant future.