With the hiring of Dale Sveum as manager of the Chicago Cubs, spell checks, along with Major League Baseball's "Hot Stove," have overheated. Free agency has revolved around the two biggest first basemen, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, so the question must be raised; could Dale Sveum's hiring give the Cubs the upper hand in acquiring Prince Fielder?
Dale Sveum was brought on immediately following Fielder's best slugging season, where he hit 50 home runs and drove in 119 runs, finishing third in Most Valuable Player voting. Allowing a year for Sveum to understand Fielder's tendencies, while also improving the players hitting around him, 2009 was a banner year for Fielder.
In 2009, Prince Fielder had a slash line of .299/.412/.602 along with an OPS better than his 2007 season (1.014). The statistic that should prove Sveum's worth not only to a franchise, but players themselves, is the 141 RBI that Fielder hit in 2009. This statistic shows that with Sveum as a mentor, Fielder surpassed his career high in RBI, by 22 runs. It's a testament to Fielder's consistency but also shows an ability by Sveum to improve the hitters around someone with power.
The Chicago Cubs have hit home runs in the front office, and now, they've done the same with the hiring of Dale Sveum as manager. Assuming Rudy Jaramillo is retained by the incoming staff, Sveum has undoubtedly given Chicago the best chance in the league of acquiring Prince Fielder.