The Chicago Cubs have fired manager Dale Sveum, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The team later confirmed the move in a press release in which club president Theo Epstein spoke highly of the 49-year old.
"I have a lot of admiration for Dale personally, and we all learned a lot from the way he has handled the trying circumstances of the last two years, especially the last two weeks, with strength and dignity," Epstein said. "In his own authentic and understated way, Dale always put the team first and never complained about the hand he was dealt. He and his staff helped us excel in game planning and defensive positioning, contributed to the emergence of several players, and helped put us in position to make some important trades. I have no doubt that – much like Terry Francona, whom we hired in Boston after his stint with a losing Phillies club – Dale will go on to great success with his next team. We had hoped Dale would grow with our organization to see it through the building phase to a period of sustained excellence; instead, I believe Dale, who felt the weight of losing perhaps more than any of us, will grow because of this experience and find excellence elsewhere."
In two seasons with the club in his first managerial stint, Sveum led the Cubs to a 127-197 record (.392 winning percentage) and was expected to lead the team through a long rebuilding process. Due to the underperformance of young players like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, that process has been slowed considerably, and the Cubs were forced to trade many veterans at the trade deadline in an effort to restock the farm system. By shipping Alfonso Soriano, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Scott Hairston and David DeJesus to contenders looking for midseason help, the Cubs were able to acquire many young players to aid in the team's next wave of rebuilding.
Sveum, who played for the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees in a twelve-year major league career from 1986 to 1999, will likely join another team's coaching staff or be under consideration for another managerial job in the near future. Before joining the Cubs before the 2012 season, Sveum spent time as a coach for the Red Sox (2004-2005) and Brewers (2006-2011), and almost was named Boston's manager before an override by ownership gave the job to Bobby Valentine, who was fired after a dismal first season.
With Sveum out, the Cubs will now conduct their second managerial search in the last three years. As CSNChicago's Patrick Mooney reported over the weekend, the North Siders will likely consider hiring Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a former Cub and Northwestern graduate who is now a managerial free agent. If Girardi is willing to bolt from the Yankees and accept a new challenge with the Cubs, he will likely be considered the favorite for the job. Others have speculated that other candidates could include Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.
The Cubs are one of three teams with a managerial vacancy, joining the Mariners and Nationals. The Phillies, who fired manager Charlie Manuel in August, have already named Ryne Sandberg as their permanent manager after his successful stint as the club's interim skipper.