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Epstein to finish staff evaluations by Monday

Epstein to finish staff evaluations by Monday

Epstein to finish staff evaluations by Monday

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum will find out on Monday whether he'll be back at the helm for a third season. That's when president of baseball operations Theo Epstein will complete his evaluation of the manager and the coaching staff.

"It's pretty standard at this time of year to take your time to look back at the season and make decisions on what can put the organization in the best position going forward," Epstein said. "This is part of the process. At the same time, we owe it to everyone involved to get it done quickly and move forward. We'll finish up the process on Monday."

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Epstein was in St. Louis to conduct end of the season meetings with most of the players along with general manager Jed Hoyer and Sveum.

Epstein first revealed the evaluation process regarding Sveum and his staff last week in Milwaukee. The lack of a definitive vote of confidence from Epstein prompted speculation regarding Sveum's status.

"It is what it is," Sveum said. "It's not like I have to deal with anything except the norm that comes along with this position and the situation the organization is in, the evaluation process of any team at the end of the year, especially a team that lost 90-plus games. It doesn't affect me and doesn't bother me like people might think it does. It's just part of the process."

The Cubs lost 101 games in Sveum's first season in 2012, and will finish last in the National League Central this year.

"If you go into something not expecting this [evaluation], then it might be different," Sveum said. "But when you go into any kind of job like this, you understand these things can happen at any given time. I've been around too long and have seen it on both ends. There's nothing you can do but keep doing the same things you do. It's not going to change you as a person or a baseball person."

During the Milwaukee series, Sveum was caught on camera arguing with pitcher Edwin Jackson in the dugout, and the next day, Jeff Samardzija yelled at third-base coach David Bell. Reliever Kevin Gregg also was upset at being told he would no longer be the closer, but the problem was miscommunication.

"I look at those three little minor brushfires as things that naturally occur at the end of a difficult season and frankly, I think it's been impressive that under Dale's leadership we got through 11 months of the regular season without something like that happening," Epstein said. "Those things are to be expected. If you don't want those things to happen, then don't trade 40 percent of your rotation every year. Those things are going to crop up.

"Frankly, the things behind the scenes are more important than some of the brushfires that sometimes become public. I don't think those are a pattern at all."

Epstein and Hoyer have repeatedly said they are not judging Sveum on the Cubs' record. But Starlin Castro has struggled this season. Could Sveum's status be based on the shortstop's performance?

"It has nothing to do with one player," Epstein said. "It doesn't have anything to do with one player or one small group of players."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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