New general manager Ben Cherington identified then Brewers coach Dale Sveum as the man he wanted to manage the Red Sox back in 2011.
Sveum emerged from a field of field of five candidates and was told to be in Milwaukee on Nov. 17 to interview with John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino during major League Baseballs GM Meetings.
Sveum had lunch with the team’s power trio at Ward’s House of Prime. Within minutes of that meeting ending, Lucchino said the search was being opened up. A day later, Sveum was hired by the Cubs and their new president, Theo Epstein.
Sveum was fired today after going 127-197 in two seasons. If there is any solace, at least he lasted longer than the manager the Red Sox did hire in 2011. Bobby Valentine was fired after a tumultuous 69-93 season.
Because of their connections to Epstein and the success of the Red Sox this season, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and Triple A manager Gary DiSarcina could be candidates to replace Sveum.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is in the final year of his contract. An Illinois native who attended Northwestern and played for the Cubs, Girardi would seem like a natural fit in Chicago.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has said he wants to retain Girardi. But the Yankees are entering a period of uncertainty with the retirement of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, other star players aging, the potential loss of Robinson Cano to free agency and the continuing drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez.
Epstein believes the Cubs are headed for improvement despite a 66-96 record this season.
“Soon, our organization will transition from a phase in which we have been primarily acquiring young talent to a phase in which we will promote many of our best prospects and actually field a very young, very talented club at the major league level,” Epstein said in a statement released by the Cubs. “The losing has been hard on all of us, but we now have one of the top farm systems in baseball, some of the very best prospects in the game, and a clear path forward.
“In order for us to win with this group — and win consistently — we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level.”
Epstein left the Red Sox after the 2011 collapse for a lucrative deal and far-reaching power with the Cubs.
Cherington has since remade the roster, hired John Farrell as manager and guided the team to the best record in baseball.