Over the next two days, I will provide two arguments. The first argument, to be laid out in this article, will be discovering why the Chicago Cubs should fire manager Dale Sveum. The following argument, to be published on Monday, will be the reasons why Sveum should remain the Cubs’ manager.
Above all else, Major League Baseball is a “what have you done for me lately” type of business. After all, that would explain why New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been constantly pulled late in games for a pinch hitter, or even left out of the starting lineup during the Yankees’ post-season series against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers. Lately, the Cubs have been watching post-season baseball from their various off-season homes.
The Chicago Cubs finished the season with a record of 61-101, the third worst record in franchise history, marking the fourth consecutive season that team has failed to earn a spot in the post-season. When you ask most Cubs’ fans, they would tell you that the Cubs record of 100+ losses during the 2012 season does not matter. Reason being Chicago Cubs’ President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer indicated before the season that the Cubs were not going to be a contending team in 2012, and likely for the 2013 season as well. Because of Epstein and Hoyer’s comments before the season and the goals that they laid out, some have gone as far as to call the Cubs’ 2012 season a success.
Looking beyond the Cubs’ record, one would discover that the Cubs identified several prospects that figure to be a vital part to the team’s long-term success. Those prospects would be outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Almora, and infielder Javier Baez. The Cubs highlighted three Major League Players in first baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Darwin Barney, and shortstop Starlin Castro that will be the building blocks to the Cubs’ contending in 2014. Lastly, the Cubs secured a top three draft pick for the 2013 first year player draft.
But those successes were all the result of the Cubs’ front office. It was Epstein and Hoyer that signed Soler to a contract and drafted Almora, and it was Tim Wilken that likely recommended the drafting of Baez during the 2011 first year player draft. Had Epstein and Hoyer not established a relationship with Rizzo during their years together with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, the pair likely would not have agreed to a trade that sent Rizzo to the Cubs in exchange for pitcher Andrew Cashner. Epstein was the one that has always been verbally committed to Castro being the long-term answer for the Cubs at shortstop, as well as, deciding not to trade Barney during the 2012 season despite several opportunities.
With it being established that it was the front office that was responsible for the Cubs’ successes in 2012, what has Sveum done to contribute to the Cubs’ progression? Sveum may be responsible for the the re-birth of Alfonso Soriano, but Soriano is not a part of the Cubs’ long-term future. There were
some a lot of bad Cubs’ games this season. Whether it be because of the team’s lack of defensive ability, mental errors, faulty pitching, or inept offense; there were several instances where Sveum’s goal of having the Cubs prepared for every game was more of a dream than reality. The Cubs have definitely progressed behind the scenes this season, but the public display of this team was certainly flawed. That is the manager’s fault. For that reason, it would be to the best of the Cubs’ benefit to fire Sveum.