CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum on Monday after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years, ending a two-year run that produced more losses than any other in the team's cursed history.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said Sveum was not the "scapegoat" for the team's struggles.
"Today's decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses," Epstein said. "Our record is a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made - some good, a few we would like back - to further this strategy."
He added: "I believe a dynamic new voice - and the energy, creativity and freshness that comes with this type of change - provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek."
Sveum's dismissal likely will ramp up speculation surrounding the status of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a Peoria, Ill., native who played college ball at nearby Northwestern. Epstein said he expected to complete the search process by early November.
The Cubs went 61-101 in Sveum's first season, and things weren't much better this year. The Cubs dropped 41 of their final 59 games, including six of their final seven. They finished 66-96 and Sveum went 127-197 in his two seasons at the helm. He had one year left on a three-year deal signed before the 2012 season.
The Cubs had just hired Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer when Sveum was tabbed to replace Mike Quade following the 2011 season.
He had little experience as a manager, other than an interim stint for the Brewers late in 2008 after Ned Yost was fired, when he took this job. But he did have a history with Epstein and Hoyer. Sveum served as Boston's third-base coach in 2004 and 2005 and was part of a championship team there while they were in the Red Sox's front office.