Top 5 Candidates to Replace Dale Sveum as Manager of Chicago Cubs
Top 5 Candidates To Become New Chicago Cubs Manager
After two seasons in which the team had a combined record of 127-197, the Chicago Cubs announced on Monday that Dale Sveum would no longer be the manager of the team.
It is hard to give Sveum too much blame for the win-loss record. Hiring Sveum was the first major move that president Theo Epstein made with the club. When Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer took over the team, they started a complete rebuild that was much needed. Before the 2012 season, it was fairly obvious that the front office had their eye on the future, and two long, losing seasons later, the future is the only thing to look forward to.
Epstein spoke with the media today, and said that the decision to move on from Sveum was not based on the Win-Loss record. "Today’s decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses. Our record is a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made – some good, a few we would like back – to further this strategy," Epstein said. "Today’s decision, which was painful for all of us, was made to move us closer to fulfilling our ultimate long-term vision for the Cubs."
When push comes to shove, I do not think the organization trusted Svuem to help progress the young talent on the roster. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are both young and very talented players, and both of which had a down year in 2013. It is impossible to pin their struggles on Svuem, but I think the front office wants a new manager to help the young talent on this team take their game to the next level. Rizzo, Castro and Jeff Samardzija are all very interesting pieces that will be very important to this franchise if they are going to turn this around. The Cubs also have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, highlighted by SS Javier Baez, 3B Kris Bryant and OF Albert Almora. The progression of these players are the key to this rebuild.
With Svuem out the door, it is time to look ahead at who could take over the job for the Cubs, and the search will begin right away. "We will begin our search immediately – a process which will be completed before the GM meetings in early November and perhaps much sooner. There are no absolute criteria, but we will prioritize managerial or other on-field leadership experience and we will prioritize expertise developing young talent. We have not yet contacted any candidates or asked permission to speak with any candidates, but that process will begin tomorrow morning," Epstein shared with the media on Monday.
It is mostly speculation at this point, but here are the current top five candidates to become manager of the Cubs.
5. Mike Scioscia
This one is a bit of a long shot, but I think Mike Scioscia would be a nice target for the Cubs if he becomes available. Scioscia is currently under contract with the Los Angeles Angels through the 2018 season, but there have been plenty of rumblings that his job may not be safe. If the Angels do decide to pull the plug on Scioscia after a very disappointing season, the Cubs would surely show some interest. He has had plenty of success developing younger players in the past.
4. Sandy Alomar Jr.
Sandy Alomar Jr. is currently a bench coach for the Cleveland Indians, and was a strong candidate for the Cubs' manager position when Sveum was hired. Alomar does not have managing experience besides taking over on an interim basis for a very short time when the Indians fired Manny Acta last season. This seems like a bit of a long shot, but the Cubs seemed to like Alomar before. With more experience under his belt, maybe they will like him better this time around.
3. Torey Lovullo
Torey Lovullo is the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox, and he has a reputation of working well with younger players. Lovullo spent many seasons managing teams in the minor leagues, including in 2010 when he was the manager for Boston's Triple-A affiliate, the same time that Epstein was the Red Sox GM. Lovullo has spent the last three seasons at the Major League level, two with the Toronto Blue Jays and the 2013 season with the Red Sox. He seems to be a guy that is due for a shot at a MLB manager job, he works well with younger players and he has a history with the front office. Lovullo would make a ton of sense for the Cubs.
2. Mike Maddux
When the Cubs hired Sveum before the 2012 season, Mike Maddux was thought by many to be the guy that the Cubs really wanted. Maddux, who is currently the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers, has a history of developing young pitchers and has been overdue for a managing job for some time now. Maddux appears to say no to the Cubs back when they hired Sveum, so it is fair to wonder if he would be interested this time around. Assuming he is, I see no reason why Maddux wold not be near the top of the list once again.
1. Joe Girardi
I think the No. 1 target for the Cubs in this managerial search is current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi. The Cubs' attendance numbers were down this season, and a hire like Girardi may be just what they need. Girardi was born in Peoria, Illinois, which is very close to Chicago. He has always seemed to be interested in the Cubs' job, interviewing for the position in the past.
I think Epstein and Hoyer have their sights set on Girardi. If he is willing to leave the Bronx, they will welcome him with open arms. I just hope the Cubs hire him because they think he is the right choice as a manager, not because he puts butts in the seats. But that is a discussion for another day. It is hard to argue with Girardi's track record, and if the Cubs do land him, I am sure he will do a wonderful job.