Cubs News and Notes: Sveum, Castro, Cafardo, Byrd

Cubs News and Notes: Sveum, Castro, Cafardo, Byrd

One of these days we won’t be talking about Nick Cafardo so much, but today he makes it back into Cubs news.

Cafardo issues his annual ranking of managers, and he has Dale Sveum ranked only ahead of White Sox skipper Robin Ventura.

 29. Dale Sveum, Cubs - We all know he lives and breathes baseball, and that dedication should get him far as he helps rebuild this organization.

I have a feeling Sveum will be climbing the ranks of that list pretty quickly. A lot of people around the game are really impressed with his camp. It sounds like you can count his own players as being on board. Jeff Baker gives his take.

 “When you’re doing well, everything’s great. (And) if the team goes into a slump and you’re not playing well, it’s disappointing when you see the manager get off you or get bummed.

“You really don’t get that feeling with Skip this year. He’s going to ride with you. He knows there’s going to be good times. He knows there’s going to be bad times. He understands how hard this game is.”

Jed Hoyer tells Patrick Mooney he liked the way Sveum was focused on laying down a new foundation this spring.

 “One of the things he focused on in the interview is spring training (as) a tone-setter,” Hoyer said. “That’s where you build the makeup of your team about having that attention to detail and creating some camaraderie, too. It’s not only about being a drill sergeant.”

Sveum has also laid down the law that Starlin Castro will be his three hitter.

Now we can speculate that if he struggles, there still could be a change. However, I really like the decisiveness and the confidence thus far in Castro. Sveum is thinking big picture on this one, and that is what you want in your Cubs manager.

Sveum knows this is about much more than this year, and that is refreshing. We presented the unfavorable numbers back in January on Castro in the three hole (small sample size) but they didn’t deter Sveum.

 ‘‘Yeah, I know the stats,’’ said Sveum, referring to Castro’s .225 average and .571 OPS in 187 career plate appearances in the 3-hole — all last season. ‘‘It’s a commitment I made. He’s still the best hitter on the team, and sometimes for the future of the team, too, you have to do it. Like I said early in camp, when do you do it to a good young hitter? Does anybody really know that answer?

‘‘It’s just something I committed to, and he’s been committed to it.’’

Back to Cafardo’s notes, he sounds resigned to the ultimate fate of the Theo Epstein compensation.

 It’s amazing how little the Red Sox got for him: a pitcher (Chris Carpenter) who just had elbow surgery and another (Aaron Kurcz) who has put up good numbers in Single A but is hardly considered a top prospect. The Red Sox don’t seem to have any grounds to ask for a player to replace Carpenter, since they had access to all of his medical records.

Lastly, Cafardo states that an NL scout indicated that Byrd’s name is being mentioned more and more as we reach the end of spring training. It’s something John and I have been hearing all along.

Cafardo mentions that there are "quiet a few teams" inquiring with the Phillies and Braves being among them.  Phil Rogers of the Tribune mentions the Nationals as a possible suitor.

It's interesting that the top 3 teams in the NL East all may be vying for Byrd's services. It appears that Byrd has a fair amount of value considering the demand and that some of those teams are competitors in the same division.  Cafardo opines that, "righthanded hitters who can play center field are hard to find" but that the Cubs may have to eat some of Byrd's $6.5M salary to make it work.  Multiple sources have stated that the Cubs have been interested in inquiring a reliever although the Cubs would certainly entertain the idea of acquiring a prospect as well.

The latest I heard was the Cubs wanting to wait until summer for a deal. However, if the right deal presents itself you can bet this front office will move appropriately.


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  • Well, if Cafardo has said that Byrd is on the move, we can almost expect for the Cubs to sign him to an extension. Can the guy be any more wrong than he has been for much of the off-season?

    Dude could not be anymore butthurt, and just has to face the facts that since last September, his favorite baseball organization has done just about everything wrong that they possibly can.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Haha, Cafardo was beating the drum for Garza as comp earlier. In a strange turn of events, I am hoping he's right about the comp issue now. He's been the voice of reason on that front. The guys at the Herald keep trying to stir things up but don't see how Red Sox get anything here. Maybe they'll get cash if the Cubs are nice and Theo wants to keep things friendly with Ben.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cubs don't have any responsibility to send the Red Sox further compensation. Carpenter passed physicals for both the Cubs and Red Sox before the trade, and it's not like having bone spurs removed from the elbow is career ending. Theo should publicly tell the Red Sox the trade was completed, grow up and move on.

    After Lucchino's behavior this off-season, I completely understand why Theo had so many problems working with him.


    As for the Cubs season, I'm very excited about Sveum. He seems so far to be an odd mix, a motivator, get-on-your-butt type but not a power hungry maniac like Mike Keenan and others. Sveum seems to be highly motivated but also very smart, doesn't seem to bear a grudge, laid back when he needs to be, intense when he needs to be, etc., a bizarre mix for the Cubs that we really haven't seen before.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Bailey might be injured for Boston, too. Lucchino might blame the Cubs.

  • They called it a mysterious injury so maybe Lucchino will want the A's to re-work the deal. Then again, not as much of a personal vendetta on this one.

  • I wonder where Nick Cafardo would have put Sveum if he took the Red Sox job, top 12 for sure....In all honesty I hope Byrd gets moved ASAP, i want kids playing..I know DeWitt was subbing for LaHair yesterday, but he flat out sucks!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I was thinking the same thing. Ranking Valentine so highly when he was a fallback option seems like a not to old Larry again.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Jeez, it shows you Chicago isn't the only place to find stupid.

  • Lets hope that the 3 teams outbid each other for Byrd. It might
    be better for one of them to get him now while he is still not
    traded to other team.

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    Bobby Scales signed a minor league deal with the Mets.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Good for him, he was like a bad penny...

  • In reply to Just Win:

    That's great news, I couldn't believe he was still getting ABs in ST.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Good for him. I like Scales and I'm sure he wants to play as long as possible, but Cubs going in a different direction. Cubs did right by him by giving him some ABs and letting him find a job somewhere.

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    The Sveum versus Ventura angle will be interesting to watch. My guess is that Sveum will be the more successful manager. I base that opinion on his preparation coming into the job. It seems to me that Ventura is being set up to fail in addition to being thrown to the wolves.

    I really don't think a lot of top flight managerial talent was beating down the door to replace Ozzie Guillen. The White Sox's bad contract problems might actually be worse than the Cubs', and their farm system is non-existent. I honestly wonder if they turned to Ventura out of shear desperation.

    None of this is to say that Ventura won't make a good manager. In fact, I think he will make a very good one eventually, but it would have been better on him had he paid his dues the way Ryne Sandberg did. He would have been far better prepared for the task, and the move wouldn't seem so desperate on the part of the White Sox.

    The worst part of this is for Venture himself. Given the White Sox situation, this is likely to end badly, and it's going to be on his resume, but I suppose he really couldn't tell them "No!"

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No doubt Ventura is in a tough situation with the Sox. There's a win now team without a whole lot of talent. Setting up to fail is a good way of putting it. I'm willing to bet he'll have a job somewhere in the organization even if he fails at manager.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My thought was that, if the White Sox fail to badly under his watch, he may have a hard time getting another managerial position at the Major League level. There is no doubt that he will land on his feet. Reinsdorf won't simply boot him to the curb. Reinsdorf, for all his faults, isn't that type of guy.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Reinsdorf is loyal and they love Ventura. I think you're right about the managerial job, but Reinsdorf will take him back as a scout or consultant or something.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It really feels like Ventura doesn't want that job, at least not now. I pride myself on outside the box mentality, but that hire is more about Kenny Williams than it is about finding the right manager IMHO.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It has a Major League III: Back to the Minors feel to it for sure. Do you remember the scene where Scott Bakula and Corbin Bernsen are discussing the hot prospect. Bakula says the hot prospect isn't ready, and goes on to say the Twins manager, played by Ted McGinley is looking for a scapegoat in order to save himself.

  • Nick Cafardo is an ass.

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