The Cubs’ search for a new skipper could be over.
According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum was offered the vacant position at some point Wednesday night.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona took himself out of the running on Wednesday morning and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has reportedly decided to return home to Texas.
Sveum, 47, has only managed for a couple of weeks on an interim basis, but he’s been in the coaching profession at the major league level since 2001 and is generally regarded as a thoughtful baseball strategist. He was also a candidate for Boston’s managerial opening, but they’re now expected to continue that search for another couple of weeks.
Look for Sveum to make a decision on the offer soon, probably within the next 12-24 hours.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.