Despite a contract that runs through 2014, the Chicago Cubs have decided to let go of two-year manager Dale Sveum, the club announced on Monday.
Cubs President Theo Epstein said that Sveum was not a scapegoat for the ballclub's disappointing performance in 2013.
"Today's decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses," Epstein said. ""I believe a dynamic new voice ... provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek."
Under Sveum's stewardship, the Cubs went 127-197, including a 61-101 record in 2012 and 66-96 in 2013. The Cubs were ranked last in the NL Central for the first time since 2006, a new low for a team that was not really known for achieving big things in the first place. Sveum had one more year left on a three-year contract, but Epstein and Cubs management felt they could no longer wait for change to come.
To be fair to Sveum, he signed with the Cubs knowing that the club was in one of its perennial rebuilding modes. The team already had good players in the farm system, but so far, they haven't been able to turn that potential into wins. Add to that what many perceive as mismanagement -- the lack of risk-taking when it came to free agents was named one of the many flaws in the Cubs' management style -- and you have a team that has dropped more than 91 games for three straight seasons.
Still, Epstein is upbeat about the Cubs' prospects for the future.
"The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game... We must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level."
One name being dangled into the replacement race is current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose contract is expiring at the end of the 2013 season. However, reports have it that Girardi wishes to either take a year off or work in broadcasting.
Given the current state of the Cubs, it's no wonder Girardi would not touch the franchise with a ten-foot pole.
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