Cubs to scrutinize Dale Sveum
MILWAUKEE -- Fortunately for Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum, he won't be judged on wins and losses as he approaches the conclusion of his second season in the dugout. But that doesn't mean he won't be scrutinized.
"Anytime an organization suffers back-to-back potential last-place seasons, you have to examine every single aspect of the organization," team president Theo Epstein said Tuesday afternoon.
Sveum is 124-184 as Cubs manager entering Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers after signing a three-year deal before the 2012 season. The team has an option for 2015.
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"That's a subject that gets addressed after the season," Epstein said, regarding Sveum's future.
Epstein indicated every situation is different in regards to the idea of a lame duck manager going into 2014. Though Sveum won't be evaluated on wins and losses, there's still plenty to dissect.
"There's development of young players," Epstein explained. "That's an important factor. There's in-game decision making. ... The way the manager uses the roster. ... There's the ability to create a culture of accountability, hard work, preparation. That's a factor."
The Cubs' front office has especially liked Sveum's demeanor. Whether that's handling the benching of shortstop Starlin Castro earlier in the season or managing tempers as he had to do Monday night when pitcher Edwin Jackson was upset he got pulled after four innings.
"As far as incidents and tempers flaring there really haven't many," Epstein said. "Teams take on the personalities of their managers. Dale being so even-keeled and calm has rubbed off on the atmosphere here.
"With respect to keeping the clubhouse incident-free, he's done a remarkable job."
The more debatable issues involve young players developing and in-game decisions. Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo have had their struggles but catcher Welington Castillo has advanced as has pitcher Travis Wood. And while Sveum can be questioned about moves within a game, he's had to deal with a franchise record number of players on the roster in back-to-back years. That's made his job harder.
"Then there is the ability to develop solid, trusting relationships with players so you can get through periods when you don't see eye to eye," Epstein said. "As a whole Dale has had a nice, calming effect on the club. He's established a level of professionalism that's admirable."
But that doesn't mean the Cubs are ready to pick up his option. Nor are they ready to say he's not their man going forward. It's just that his record won't be the determining factor.
"I think we've been very up front," Epstein reiterated. "We're not evaluating Dale based on wins and losses."
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