So after interviewing a guy with a full shock of salt-and-pepper hair (Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin) and a guy with a cool mustache (Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux), the Cubs have apparently decided to hire another bald man with an unpronounceable name as manager.
Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. also goes with the hairless look, but "Alomar" is easy to say and spell. According to this report and this report and this report, the Cubs are going to offer Brewers batting coach Dale Sveum their managerial position.
No one from the team would confirm this, so we're left to speculate and guess. Maddux apparently pulled himself out of consideration for "family reasons". Could it be that Maddux, whose family seems to like the Dallas area, was told that he'd be given the Rangers' managerial job in a year or two?
Too bad if so; I thought Maddux was clearly the best choice among the named candidates, which included Terry Francona (who also eliminated himself) and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale.
Dale Sveum had a 12-year playing career that peaked with 25 HR and 95 RBI (at age 23!) in the freakish 1987 season when players who never hit home runs did so (Wade Boggs hit 24 HR that year; his career high otherwise was 11). Sveum looked like he was going to be a regular in Milwaukee for many years, but a serious injury suffered in 1988 turned him into a utility player for the rest of his career, spent with six other teams including the White Sox.
He's been a major league coach since 2004, when he was the 3B coach for the world champion Red Sox, and a Brewers coach since 2006. He took over the Brewers as manager for the final 12 games of the 2008 season, when Ned Yost lost control of a team that was cruising to the wild card and had them in a 3-11 tailspin. Sveum righted the ship enough (going 7-5) to get into the playoffs, where they were eliminated in the first round by the Phillies. He was passed over for the fulltime managing job when Milwaukee hired Ken Macha, and again in 2011 when they hired Ron Roenicke.
Honestly, I didn't think that much of Sveum when the series of interviews were going on; his mock press conference was the dullest of the four. Not that a mock press conference should be the key criterion for hiring a manager, but as we have just seen for the past several years, an ability to handle local media is indeed one facet of a modern manager's job.
We still don't know if this is an actual offer, or just "process of elimination". Carrie Muskat's cubs.com article quotes GM Jed Hoyer:
Hoyer said that he and Epstein will be keeping any additional talks confidential.
"We've reached back out to all the candidates in some form or another," Hoyer said. "I think we're entering the stage of the process where we'll handle it closer to the vest."
Dave van Dyck in the Tribune read these tea leaves:
Reports about the Cubs' offer surfaced about three hours after team chairman Tom Ricketts checked into the Pfister Hotel for owners meetings.
While Ricketts declined reporters' request for an interview, he talked casually in the lobby. During that conversation, he appeared to stumble after a reporter asked him if he had met with a job candidate. Epstein had said he and Hoyer would bring Ricketts into the process when they had selected a top candidate.
Did Ricketts meet with a candidate earlier in the day? Quite possible, and reports from SI.com's Jon Heyman and Fox's Ken Rosenthal said Sveum was that guy.
That's all well and good from these great sleuths, but the bottom line is, we still don't know for sure. As I said above, Sveum would have been my last choice. But I trust Theo and Jed know what they're doing. If they do indeed hire Sveum, they must see something there that the rest of us don't. Given their track record, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Finally, someone posted last night that Sveum's name is pronounced "Sway-um". Baseball-reference's "Bullpen" page for Sveum" says it's "Swame", and that's the way I've always heard it.
If he's hired, all I care about is that he can be pronounced "winner".