Dale Sveum was dismissed last Monday as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, but it didn’t take long for him to find a new role elsewhere. Sveum was quickly picked up by the Kansas City Royals, where he will either serve as bench coach or third-base coach on top of coaching the infield.
Sveum is a baseball lifer with plenty to teach the talented infielders in KC. He began his pro career as an infielder for the Milwaukee Brewers in May of 1986, and went on to play 12 seasons in MLB with various organizations. Sveum was a switch-hitter that often hit in the bottom third of the order, but defense was his claim to fame. Sveum called it quits after the ’99 season and immediately sought another position within baseball.
It should come as no surprise that Sveum is a skilled and studious baseball coach. During his playing years, he played under Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont. All of these managers have won Manager of the Year Awards, and four out of the five have managed a World Series-winning ball club.
Sveum first broke into the coaching ranks in 2001 when he served as skipper for the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Double-A club. After the ’03 season, Baseball America declared that Sveum was the best potential MLB manager in all of Eastern League baseball. He was called up to the bigs the next season when he took a position as the Boston Red Sox‘ third base coach.
In 2006, Sveum joined the Brewers, his former team, and stepped in as the interim manager when Ned Yost was fired in 2008. He continued on as the Brewers’ bench coach through the 2011 season. In the following offseason, Sveum was offered a manager position by the Cubs.
Now in his new home in Kansas City, Sveum returns to his comfort zone and joins a ball club on the rise. Although the Royals’ defense was stout in 2013, there is plenty of room for improvement. Kansas City finished the year with the 11th-fewest errors and the 13th-highest fielding percentage in the league.
Obviously, Sveum will be very comfortable working under Yost, and vice versa. Each man will have the same or very similar roles as they had in Milwaukee while the Brewers made their run to an NL Wild Card berth. Chalk that up as just another good omen for KC’s future, as the Royals fight to make their own playoff appearance in 2014.