The Chicago Cubs begin playing their last of three games in the 2013 regular season against the St Louis Cardinals on Friday. The Cubs played their last game at Wrigley Field this season on Wednesday.
Needless to say, the season is coming to a conclusion for the Cubs.
Another conclusion that may be coming for the Cubs is Dale Sveum’s time as Cubs’ manager.
A report from Carrie Muskat of MLB.com indicates that Sveum will learn his fate on Monday after the current Cubs’ coaching staff meets with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.
The talk of Chicago over the past couple of days has been the idea of current New York Yankees‘ manager Joe Girardi returning home to Chicago to manage the Cubs. Girardi’s contract with the Yankees expires after Sunday, and the Yankees have yet to engage in extension talks with the manager.
That is where the Cubs are hoping to creep into the picture. There has been some question as to whether or not Girardi has grown tired of managing in New York and is looking for a new challenge. Managing the Cubs would certainly be a challenge for Girardi, but one that the former Cubs’ player would dream of.
Girardi is also where the Cubs’ manager picture gets murky.
There is an idea going around Chicago that the only reason why the Cubs would be relieving Dale Sveum of his managerial duties would be to make a run at Girardi. That is not necessarily true.
Despite all that has been said against Sveum over the course of the past couple of weeks, Epstein and Hoyer are still very supportive of their manager. After all, the Cubs’ front office realizes that Sveum has been given less than admirable rosters in each of the past two seasons.
But where concern over Sveum does surface is how he has handled player development. Of course, this concern would be admitting that the manager has a much more significant role in player development than he actually does.
However, when Sveum was hired as the Cubs’ manager after the 2011 season, there was the belief that the former Milwaukee Brewers‘ hitting coach was nothing more than a short-term option to bridge the gap to when the Cubs are ready to contend. The Cubs are not ready to contend, but the team is getting closer, perhaps one season away.
Joe Girardi may be the best manager available to the Cubs within the next two years. Meaning, the Cubs’ front office likely does not want to take the chance and risk losing out on Girardi because they opted to retain Sveum for 2014–a season that is likely to have the same fate as this season.
Hiring Girardi now would allow the Cubs to have a manager in place for the long-term, in addition to giving a token to Cubs fans that may be getting antsy with the team’s rebuilding project.