Cubs fire Dale Sveum

Joe Sargent

Joe Girardi is reportedly the Cubs top choice to replace Sveum.

The Chicago Cubs have fired manager Dale Sveum, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and confirmed by David Kaplan of CSN Chicago.

Sveum signed a three-year contract before the 2012 season, but only managed the Cubs for two seasons. Chicago finished a disappointing 66-96 record in 2013 after a 61-101 campaign in 2012. Theo Epstein went out of his way to say that Sveum was not fired as a scapegoat for the Cubs' "shortcomings".

Cubs management was concerned with the regression of some of their key young players under Sveum's watch, according to Rosenthal and Jon Morosi. Starlin Castro has seen his offensive numbers decline each of the past two seasons, while Anthony Rizzo also took a step back after a promising 2012.

Some of Sveum's staff may stay with the team, Kaplan writes. The Cubs will begin searching for a new manager immediately, with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi as the club's top target.

Girardi's contract expires with the Yankees on Oct. 31, so the Cubs must request permission to interview Girardi before then. The former catcher played for the Cubs during his career and went to Northwestern, but told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that his ties to Chicago are not as strong as they used to be.

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