The rebuilding efforts of the Chicago Cubs are going in a different direction, as manager Dale Sveum has been let go by the organization. Sveum signed a three-year contract with the club prior to the 2012 season, but despite a five game improvement in their win/loss record from 2012 to 2013, the decline of players like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo under Sveum's watch was apparently too much for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to bear.
Sveum replaced Mike Quade as Cubs manager after the 2011 season when the Epstein/Hoyer regime took charge. Sveum wasn't expected to bring the team to contention right away, but was instead supposed to help nurture the team's young players. But Castro and Rizzo both took gigantic steps back in 2013 with Sveum at the helm of the club, and with both players signed long-term, getting them back on the right track with a new manager is one of the priorities for the Cubs front office. They apparently felt that Sveum wouldn't be that guy.
In terms of a replacement for Sveum, one name is immediately coming up: Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose contract with the club is up after six years as the Yankees' skipper. Girardi grew up in Illinois, went to school at Northwestern in the Chicago suburbs, was drafted by the Cubs, and spent seven years in the majors with the club. As manager of the Marlins and Yankees, Girardi has a .566 winning percentage, was the 2006 NL Manager of the Year with the Marlins, and guided the Yankees to the 2009 World Championship. His work with a young Marlins club in 2006 is the stuff of legend, and has shown that he can help nurture young talent, which might be the most important factor in Chicago's search for a new manager.