So you’re not waiting for Joe Girardi to become a free agent?
[RELATED: Why Dale Sveum is feeling the heat]
Cubs president Theo Epstein didn’t appreciate the speculation that a noncommittal answer to a yes-or-no question – will Dale Sveum be back in 2014? – is somehow connected to the New York Yankees manager.
“He’s with another team,” Epstein said Friday at Wrigley Field. “I could never comment – and would never comment – on someone who’s with another club. That question’s borderline disrespectful.”
Sources inside and around the Cubs organization suggest that there is real concern about how young core players like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have regressed, and that Sveum has been feeling some heat as this season played out.
But it’s still making a leap to think that Epstein is simply hoping for the chance to hire Girardi, the ex-Cubs catcher who grew up in East Peoria and graduated from Northwestern University. That scenario was laid out in one speculative Chicago Tribune column, and the noise will only grow louder until the Cubs determine Sveum’s future.
Girardi, who’s on an expiring contract, has lasted six seasons in The Bronx, winning the World Series in 2009. Sveum is under contract for 2014 and the club holds an option for 2015. There is at least the perception that the Cubs could be waiting to see if someone else becomes available.
“No,” Epstein said. “We’re going through a necessary evaluation period at the end of the season, like we do every year, before we make our staffing decisions for next year. Period.”
Epstein had cautioned that there are “no alarm bells to ring” while talking to beat writers this week in Milwaukee, deferring the Sveum question until after the season. One answer could be shaking up Sveum’s coaching staff.
“Unfortunately, they get put in the same boat as I am, so you’re all kind of out there,” Sveum said. “But they’ve done a great job, each and every one of them. You ain’t going to find a harder-working staff.”