First of all, the Chicago Cubs do not have the talent at the Major League level to be a competitive team. It is hard for me to put any blame on manager Dale Sveum for the past two years, simply because he has not had enough to work with. That being said, after a second season in a row of being one of the bottom teams in all of MLB, somebody may have to take the fall. Svuem could easily become that guy.
The Cubs hired Sveum before the 2012 season. He was brought in after Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the team. Sveum had a long-playing career, playing in parts of 13 seasons before getting in to coaching. Sveum started off in the Minor League system for the Milwaukee Brewers. He eventually made it to the majors by coaching third base for the Boston Red Sox. Sveum was hired by Epstein, as he was the general manager of Boston during this time.
Sveum spent two seasons (2004-05) in Boston before returning to Milwaukee for six seasons (2006-11). While coaching for the Brewers, Sveum held many titles. He started out as the bench coach, before coaching 3rd base again. At the end of the 2008 season, Sveum took over as interim manager when Ned Yost was fired. Sveum led the team to the playoffs, but the Brewers brought in Ken Macha to manage the team in 2009. Sveum stayed on as hitting coach before leaving town to manage the Cubs in 2012.
Overall, I think Sveum has done a nice job since taking over for the Cubs. When Epstein and Hoyer arrived in Chicago, they planned to build this thing from the ground up. They are not taking any shortcuts by signing overpriced free agents. The Cubs are building this team through the Minor Leagues. Honestly, they are doing a very good job of that because the Chicago Minor League system is ranked as one of the best in all of baseball. Once guys like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora start to reach the big leagues, I think the Cubs will be a solid competitor. The question is does Sveum have the time to see this thing through?
The Cubs knew that Sveum was being put in an impossible situation when they hired him. His performance simply cannot be judged on the team’s record. I think Sveum has done a nice job with this team. He manages a bullpen extremely well, does a fantastic job with defensive shifts and understands what the Cubs’ front office is trying to accomplish. Sveum does make some interesting decisions with the lineup, but I just think he is trying to find something that works. When you are given the lack of talent that Sveum has been give, you have to try to mix-and-match a lineup until something works. Unfortunately, nothing has worked. I do not blame Sveum for his sometimes-wacky lineups, the guy simply does not have much to work with.
I think that for now, Sveum’s job is safe. He will get at least one more season to see this thing through. I strongly believe that Sveum is a good manager, and the Cubs would not have hired him if they did not agree. All parties involved knew what they were getting in to and now is not time to be making irrational decisions like firing the manager. Hopefully, the fans can stay patient and the front office does not feel pressure, because that is when a scapegoat is needed, and Sveum would be the perfect candidate for that.