February 23, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum (center), president Theo Epstein (left), and general manager Jed Hoyer (right) watch the inaugural match play bunting tournament during spring training at Fitch Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
What has been rumored for many weeks amongst Cubs fans was addressed by Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein yesterday: the status of skipper Dale Sveum moving forward.
"“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.”"
Epstein went on to praise Sveum on limiting the amount of clubhouse distractions during his two years at the helm of the Cubs, with the first such incident taking place earlier this week, when Sveum and starting pitcher Edwin Jackson got into it in the dugout after the skipper pulled the right-hander after just four innings of work.
"“There haven’t been many conflicts with players,” Epstein said. “Obviously, everything hasn’t gone the way we wanted the last two years but as far as incidents and tempers flaring, there haven’t been that many. I think teams sometimes take on the personality of their manager, and Dale being so even keel has rubbed off on the atmosphere here.”"
With a roster that turns over on a fairly regular basis, the 49-year old Sveum has guided the Cubs through two of the worst seasons in recent memory, compiling a record of 124-189 (.396) with less than two weeks left in the 2013 campaign.
We recently brought up the possibility of Epstein pursuing current Yankees manager and former Cubs draft pick Joe Girardi in the offseason in a post that drew both praise and ire from readers, with some saying it didn’t make any logical sense to even suggest such an idea, while others saw it as the next step in rebuilding the Chicago franchise.
Sveum has utilized his even-keel demeanor countless times, but the question of whether or not he is a high-caliber manager seems to reach a unanimous conclusion amongst Cubs’ fans: no. Even for those of us who like Sveum as a manager and as a clubhouse presence, the opportunity to attract a top-tier skipper like Girardi is hard to balk at.
"“Dale’s been given a difficult 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.”"
As Epstein said, when you have a makeshift roster that is the result of roughly half of a rebuilding process, it doesn’t matter if you have Casey Stengel at the helm; some things just don’t work. That being said, it is now clear that Epstein’s offseason moves may not only include players, but perhaps a new face of leadership, as well.
No timetable for any type of decision has been made, apart from the fact that it will take place after the conclusion of the 2013 season, which ends on September 29 with a game against St. Louis.