The Chicago Cubs have fired manager Dale Sveum after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years.
The Cubs closed the campaign dropping 41 of their final 59 games, including six of their final seven.
They finished 66-96 this season and Sveum went 127-197 in his two seasons at the helm. He has one year left on a three-year deal signed before the 2012 season.
Sveum's job security was undoubtedly hurt by the slow development of shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who appeared to regress this year.
Sveum's dismissal likely will ramp up speculation surrounding the status of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a Peoria native who played college ball at nearby Northwestern, and played for the Cubs from 1989-1992 and again from 2000-2002.
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
The Chicago Cubs have hired Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum as their new manager.
The Cubs announced the move Thursday and said he would be introduced at a news conference Friday at Wrigley Field.
Sveum replaces Mike Quade, who was fired after the season by Theo Epstein, the team's new president of baseball operations.
Epstein and Sveum worked briefly together in Boston, when Epstein was the team's general manager and Sveum served as the Red Sox third base coach during the 2004-05 season.
At the time, Sveum was often criticized for an aggressive approach that led to runners being thrown out at the plate. But the coach with the nickname of "Nuts" was part of a championship team and is a believer in the advanced statistical analysis that Chicago's new leadership loves and is counting on to build up the farm system.
"I do my due diligence and video work and prepare as much as anybody," Sveum said before he was hired. "As far as the stats, those are what they are, and we can use them to our advantage. It's a big part of the game now. It's helping us win a lot of ballgames, the stats and the matchups. That's just part of the game now, and you use what you can."
Sveum was also under consideration by the Red Sox for its managerial vacancy and interviewed twice with the team.
Sveum began his pro career as a switch-hitting shortstop for the Brewers and had a 25-homer season before his career was slowed after an outfield collision. In 12 seasons with Milwaukee and six other teams, he batted .236 with 69 home runs and 340 RBIs in 862 games. He was drafted by Milwaukee in the first round (25th overall) in 1982.
Sveum re-joined the Brewers as a coach in 2006 and briefly filled in as the team's interim manager during the end of the 2008 season.
Sveum did well in his limited run as Milwaukee's manager. After Yost was fired following a 3-11 slide in September, Sveum led the Brewers to their first playoff appearance in 26 years, winning six of seven down the stretch and capturing the wild card on the final day of the regular season.
Milwaukee then decided to hire a more experienced manager in the offseason and went with Ken Macha, who lasted two seasons. Sveum stayed on as the hitting coach and oversaw one of the best offenses in the National League last season. With Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way, the Brewers hit an NL-high 185 homers and were third with a .261 batting average on their way to the NL Central title -- well ahead of the Cubs.
Sveum emerged as the Cubs' leading candidate after an in-depth interview process that included such candidates as Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Indians coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., among others.
He'll take over a team that finished last season 71-91 and hasn't won a World Series in 103 seasons.