Former Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus is reportedly the Cubs’ top choice to replace manager Dale Sveum, who will be fired on Monday, according to reports from Peter Gammons of ESPN.
The social media world is on fire with reactions and varying takes on the interview Gammons gave on a radio program earlier this morning, with some indicating that Gammons stated Ausmus will replace Sveum and others indicating that the Cubs like Ausmus and he could be a leading contender for the Chicago vacancy.
The latest reports indicate that Gammons said he has a hunch that Sveum is out in Chicago and that Ausmus would be a contender for the job. However, it is also widely believed that the Cubs will make a serious run at Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who is an Illinois native and was drafted by the Cubs in 1986.
Here is the full statement made by Gammons:
The silence tells me there’s a really good chance Dale Sveum doesn’t come back. I don’t believe Joe Girardi is going to be the next manager of the Cubs (…) Just basing it on background and history, I would not be shocked if it was Brad Ausmus.
Sveum, who has one year remaining on his contract, has struggled with a roster that has experienced tremendous turnover during the past two seasons. Chicago could lose 95 games again this season, with the club at 66-93 with three games to go in the campaign. During the past two seasons, the Cubs have lost 101 and 91 games, respectively and have not compiled a winning record since 2009.
Ausmus, 44, retired three years ago after playing 18 major league seasons with four teams. He posted a career average of .251 with 80 home runs and 601 RBIs, but was known primarily as a fantastic game caller behind the dish, where he won three Gold Glove awards with the Astros. He was also named to one All-Star Game in his career.
Prior to this morning, Girardi was one of the lone candidates to replace Sveum should the Cubs front office decide to terminate his contract early. With the team in a tailspin heading into the final three games of the season and the toll of another losing season taking its toll and leading to several clubhouse incidents, it appears the odds for Sveum leaving are still rising.
As someone who spent the majority of his childhood splitting his time between watching Cubs games and listening to Houston games, I can say that Ausmus was one of my favorite players. He joined the likes of Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou as the guys I always admired and who I believed always played the game the right way.
That being said, I am very skeptical that Ausmus, a current special assistant with the San Diego Padres, is the right man moving forward. He has no big-league managerial experience and will be inheriting a new crop of talent that will make its way through the minor league system over the next two years. Then again, Mike Matheny has inherited a talented Cardinals club and has transitioned to the big league helm seamlessly, leading St. Louis to within one game of yet another National League Central title this year.