Dale Sveum may be a mystery man to the Chicago Cubs fan base, however, among baseball people he is looked at as a top-flight candidate to manage in the big leagues.
On Monday, the soon-to-be 48-year-old Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach will become the second candidate to interview for the vacancy that opened when president of baseball operations Theo Epstein fired Mike Quade last week.
Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin was the first man interviewed, going through the process on Nov. 4.
Sveum, who spent 12 big league seasons as an infielder for six major league teams, beginning with Milwaukee and ending with the Yankees, has extensive experience in all phases of coaching and managing.
He began his post-playing career in 2001 by managing in Altoona, which was a Double-A Pittsburgh affiliate, keeping that position for three seasons. He was then hired by the Boston Red Sox, where he served as third base coach in 2004-05 before becoming the Brewers’ third base coach in 2006. Sveum has also been a bench coach since returning to his Milwaukee roots.
Sveum had one sample-size 12-game stint as the Brewers manager at the end of 2008, going 7-5 after team officials fired manager Ned Yost with two weeks left in the season. Sveum helped guide the Brewers to their first playoff appearance in 26 years in 2008, although the Brewers lost in the first round.
After that season, Sveum was considered for the Brewers job, but Milwaukee eventually hired Ken Macha as manager in the fall of 2008. Sveum became the hitting coach at that time and has held that position for three seasons.
Epstein, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and vice president of scouting/player development Jason McLeod have practical knowledge of Sveum’s baseball acumen from his time with the Red Sox. Baseball people that know Sveum call him a solid baseball man with outstanding communication skills. His nickname is “Nuts” -- that alone may qualify Sveum for one of the most difficult jobs in all of sports.
Sveum’s only Chicago experience was a 40-game stint with the Chicago White Sox in 1992. Like Mackanin, Sveum’s interview process will include spending the day with the Cubs brass on Monday before meeting with the Chicago media as the final phase.
Sveum is also a candidate for the Red Sox manager’s post.
Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux will also interview for the Cubs job when he’s fully recovered from a recent illness. The Cubs were considering reaching out to Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. as well.