In one year with the Chicago Cubs, Mike Quade led the team to a 71-91 record. He was fired and replaced by Dale Sveum, the former hitting coach of the Milwaukee Brewers. With a current record of 49-78, it’s unlikely the Cubs will finish better under Sveum than they did with Quade. Actually, it’s probably next to impossible they’ll get 70 wins.
So with management disappointed in Quade’s 71-win effort, how do the Cubs possibly go any further than the three years they signed Sveum to with their current .380 winning percentage?
The answer actually came to me last week while I was at work talking to a fellow employee who is a Cubs fan, though isn’t Sveum’s biggest fan. In his mind, Sveum is every bit of a yes man and fits exactly what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are looking for in the next three seasons until the Cubs are relevant in the league.
Sveum knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he signed that contract – a horrible team that was not going to contend for anything but the first overall pick in the next draft.
His job from day one was to take orders from Epstein and Co. and just ride the storm until management somehow fixed this franchise and made them contenders in the playoffs. It’s sad to say Sveum is just a puppet and probably the only coach willing to just sit tight, keep his mouth shut and be the manager because every team is required to have a manager on staff.
We now return to the question of what Cubs management will do with Sveum when his contract expires.
The first thing a majority of Cubs fans will say is let him go, and have Ryne Sandberg coach this squad to a World Series victory once the Cubs are in contention for the division.
With so much success in the Cubs minor league system – including being named 2010 Manager of the Year while with the Iowa Cubs – and his dream job being manager of the Cubs, it’s no surprise that he could be looked upon to lead his former team to the promise land.
Another name that fans should consider is current color analyst, Bob Brenly. He’s been in the booth for eight years and from what I can tell, fans aren’t sick of him, and he would be a solid choice to replace Sveum after the 2014 season.
Either Sandberg or Brenly would be a solid managerial candidate.
There is just one thing I have a hard time wrapping my head around when it comes to this topic: How do you fire a guy or tell him you’re going in a different direction when he had to manage a horrible team?
Sveum should not take the punishment for a crappy ball club when it was the previous management’s fault. He doesn’t have a rotation. He doesn’t have a player in an MVP season. His bullpen is shaky most nights. Tell me a coach who would sign that contract and not be quoted daily by the media for his frustration with the team? He is keeping quiet because that’s what the front office is paying him to do.
To me, it is unfair to oust an individual for his lack of coaching ability when he doesn’t have the necessary talent on the field to even compete at Triple-A.
Yes, Sveum will probably be relieved of his managerial duties when his contract expires. But, he should not be thrown out of town. He should be allowed to stay on the team as a bench coach or a base coach, helping either Sandberg or Brenly in any way possible to lead this team to World Series.
After suffering by watching a pathetic group of guys lose games left and right during his tenure, the least management could do is allow him to stay in the clubhouse and get a ring.
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