Another Joe Girardi Question

Al Bello

With rumors circling around Dale Sveum's status as Cubs manager, and the possible availability of Joe Girardi to replace him, here's a question you might not have considered.

According to this cubs.com article, Dale Sveum (and the rest of us) will learn of his status for 2014 soon:

Dale Sveum is signed for next season, but the Cubs manager and his coaching staff are expected to find out their status for 2014 on Monday in meetings with Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.

And with the Yankees now eliminated from postseason competition for only the second time since 1995, Joe Girardi will be a free-agent manager as of Monday. I think most of us here would be quite happy if Sveum were replaced by Girardi, as that would send a statement in quite a number of different ways.

The question I want you to consider revolves around this. After sweeping the Giants in San Francisco in July, the Cubs were 48-55; many of us thought the team could possibly make a run at the .500 mark. Obviously, that didn't happen; the Cubs are 18-38 since that sweep, the worst record in the National League since then (and only 1½ games better than the Astros since then).

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that Joe Girardi had been the Cubs' manager at the start of 2013, with exactly the same roster that Dale Sveum had to begin the season, and exactly the same roster moves the Cubs made up to that sweep in San Francisco (that would include both the Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano trades; both were completed before the SF series began).

Would Girardi have been able to guide this year's Cubs to a better record than Dale Sveum did? If so, why?

If your answer is "yes" (and mine is), then it's really a no-brainer, in my view; you bring Girardi here no matter the cost, if he'll have the job.

Managers don't generally affect more than a handful of games a year, positively or negatively. The results are produced by the players. Yet a manager can, by lineup selection, bullpen moves or setting a general tone, can improve an otherwise-bad team. Girardi has done that, I think, with this year's Yankees, who really shouldn't have been anywhere close to contention.

Would like your thoughts on this concept, and how you think Girardi would have handled the 2013 Cubs, exactly as they were constituted.

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