The Cubs wrapped up the 2013 campaign on Sunday with a loss to the Cardinals and in the process the team locked down the fourth pick in the 2014 draft, which takes place on June 5. While the focus has been on the past two seasons at the big league level since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer started calling the shots, the Cubs have lost at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons and finished with a 75-87 record in 2010. Since the last year the Cubs finished above .500 in 2009 (83-78), the team is 273-375 and 198-288 the last three years.
Dale Sveum is expected to find out on Monday if he will return for the final season of the three-year contract he signed in November of 2011. Even if the front office retains Sveum for next year, the questions will soon turn to who will replace him after the 2014 season unless they pick-up his option for 2015. While the front office has been transparent and honest about their manager, they have really put Sveum in a bad spot if he does not lose his job on Monday.
Several players voiced their support of Dale Sveum following Sunday’s finale and based on his comments, Sveum is not sure what direction the front office will take. Sveum is set to meet with Theo Epstein on Monday in Chicago and admitted after the game, “We’ll find out in 12 hours, or 15, or whatever it is. It’s upon us.”
There are changes coming to the Cubs’ big league coaching staff, and many feel that one, if not both of the hitting coaches will be let go on Monday. But the big question surrounds Dale Sveum and his future with the team. If the front office decides to make a change, who will they insert in his place to lead big league team out of the cellar of the central and into a contender?
Joe Girardi downplayed his ties to Chicago on Sunday when he met with the New York media following the Yankees final game of the season. Girardi pointed out that he has not lived in Chicago since 2006 and according to a report from Joel Sherman, Girardi “sounded more like a guy who wants to return that at any time this season.”
The Yankees want Girardi back and like the national media has pointed out, no one leaves the Yankees to manage another team.
Joel Sherman reported that Girardi would help the Cubs “better sell a rebuilding plan” to a fan base that is not buying tickets the way they were three years ago.
Girardi told the New York media that “finances would matter zero to him” and Sherman reported that Girardi “sounded like a man who wanted to stay to fix the Yankees.”
As for other candidates to replace Dale Sveum, if the front office decided to make a change, reports out of Minneapolis on Sunday night indicated that Ron Gardenhire will stay and manage the Twins.
Jon Heyman reported that Brad Ausmus is another name that has surfaced for the Cubs’ job, thanks to Peter Gammons’ comments on the Score, and Heyman thinks he would make sense for the Cubs because he fits the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer profile. Plus, Hoyer hired Ausmus as a Special Assistant to the General Manager in 2010.
As David Kaplan reported, the Cubs possible interest in Ausmus that made the rounds on Friday were blown out of proportion and Ausmus is not believed to be on the Cubs’ radar if they make a managerial change.
News and Notes
Anthony Rizzo recorded his 40th double of the season on Sunday and became the first Cubs’ left-handed hitter since Mark Grace in 2000 to hit 40 doubles in a single-season. Rizzo finished the year with 65 extra basehits (23 home runs, 40 doubles, two triples), the most extra basehits by a Cubs’ lefty since Mark Grace (65) in 1999.
Starlin Castro was happy with the way he finished his season and will spend time in off-season working with Tim Buss on his conditioning in the Dominican. Castro acknowledged he had a bad year but thinks there were positives because he learned a lot. Castro said he will bounce back next year because he will have a strong mind after struggling for the first time.
The Cubs finished the season with a 25-51 record against the NL Central (7-12 vs. Cardinals, 5-14 vs. Reds; 6-13 vs. Brewers; 7-12 vs. Pirates) and 41-45 against the rest of baseball.
The Cubs ended up with more extra basehits, 487, than any other team in the National League.
The Cubs’ pitching staff put together 91 quality starts this season, 18 more than the 73 quality starts in 2012. Travis Wood recorded 24 of the team’s 91 quality starts.