The Cubs' 2013-2014 offseason got off to a surprising start when the team announced that manager Dale Sveum would not return to the Cubs next season. It's hard to say that Sveum wasn't qualified for the job, or a great coach, but the results on the field warranted a change in direction. As reported by the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales, Sveum was quickly picked up by the Royals and will serve as infield instructor and likely a base coach.
The Cubs' brass are at an interesting point. The prospects in the minors took positive strides towards Chicago while the team's young core regressed. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija looked great at times, but by and large they struggled through the entire season.
While plenty of players were given opportunities at cracking the roster, the team only saw a five-game improvement in its record from 2012 to 2013.
Will the team be active on the free agent market? Or will we continue to see what we're working with and make short-term plugs like the addition of David DeJesus prior to the 2012 season.
With potential holes at catcher, the outfield and bullpen, the Cubs have a reason to be somewhat active early through the Winter Meetings. Plus, the Cubs could look to improve at second base or rely on internal options.
The Cubs also face the question of broaching Jeff Samardzija about an extension, something that hasn't exactly gone well in times past. The Cubs would be making a big commitment to Samardzija and not just in terms of money. Very few pitchers have lived up to expectations for the Cubs, so forgive me if I'm hesitant to shell out the dough.
Let's break this down and see what the Cubs are working with this offseason.