Will Dale Sveum become Alan Trammell?

Will Dale Sveum become Alan Trammell?

(Ed. Note: Because of the early game today, this piece will double as the game thread.  Lineup, etc. will be added below)

Is Dale Sveum going to end up being Alan Trammell?

You remember Trammell, the bench coach for the Cubs under Lou Piniella.

However, I was thinking more of the Trammell who managed the Detroit Tigers back in 2003-05 when he lost 119, 90, and 91 games respectively.

Trammell ended up being the point A guy for the Tigers franchise. The guy who took the beatings until the team was rebuilt and ready to win. Then voila!  In came Jimmy Leyland to win a pennant.

Many in the media speculated when Sveum was hired he would ultimately suffer a similar fate. I scoffed at that notion because I wasn’t of the thinking that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would bother making such a move. I assumed all along they wanted to hire the point A to point C guy all in one.

I have to say my belief that Sveum could be that guy has taken a bit of a hit lately.

I’m not thinking he is on the hot seat in any way. Nor would it be justified. This team was hardly expected to do anything. I believe this front office whole-heartedly when they say the losses are on them. Unfortunately, the losses look like they are more on Sveum lately.

"It has been painful to watch because we keep squandering leads," Hoyer said. "It's on Theo and it's on me. We have to figure out ways to get better. We're not the most talented team in the league right now. We're trying to build to get there, but as we get there we can't continue to make the kind of mistakes we've been making."

He is showing some frustration and taking heat from the fan base and some of the media. The only thing Sveum is to be judged on this season should be fundamental play, effort, and the development of the younger players. At times in this young season, it doesn’t look so good on some of those fronts.

It is indeed early, but not too early for GM Jed Hoyer to come to his aide today.

Hoyer hadn't planned on coming on the trip, but flew into Cincinnati Tuesday "because it was the right thing to do." He and president Theo Epstein generally try to pick their spots, Hoyer said.

"When things are good, we stay away," he said. "When things are bad, be around a little bit."

Sveum’s comments the other day about players not being above a demotion were taken by some in the media to be directed at young building blocks Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.

Those comments among Sveum’s more visible frustration prompted me to ask around if he was in fact "losing it" a bit.

I was told indeed the Cubs skipper is losing some patience, that his comments were a definite shift in tone. We can't be really sure if the Iowa stuff was a power play or orchestrated with front office. These things are done all the time to light fires, especially under impressionable younger players.

The coaching staff has been frustrated since last season I’m told. The manager wants better talent, and the front office would like to give it to him. Yet the (money) support has to come from the top.

Here we go again with the issue of (resource) frustration surrounding this organization. It comes up a lot of late. Yes, frustration will come from losing, but how much of it could be avoided with a little more investment to make some strides year to year?

We can’t be sure, but if the frustration continues to trickle down and land on the shoulders of the manager how much longer will he be able to avoid being Trammell-ed.

Also in the news:

  • Matt Garza has a "dead arm" and will miss his scheduled rehab start today.  The Cubs say there is no structural damage and that his rehab will continue in a couple of days with another bullpen session and then back on schedule.  The dead arm is the same issue that all pitchers face in spring training.
  • SF Toby passes along a link on Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, and rebuilding.  It's a good read, check it out here.

Today's Lineup:

  1. DeJesus CF
  2. Borbon LF
  3. Castro SS
  4. Rizzo 1B
  5. Schierholtz RF
  6. Navarro C
  7. Valbuena 2B
  8. Ransom 3B
  9. Samardzija SP

What to Watch For:

  • Tom: Julio Borbon.  I'm curious to see how the Cubs will utilize his speed at the top of the lineup.
  • John:  Luis Valbuena at 2B.  He may see more time there if and when the Cubs call up Ian Stewart.  We know Sveum likes Valbuena and this season there's been good reason for that, as he has provided OBP and good defense on a consistent basis.  Valbuena may not be a star -- or even a starter -- but you know what you're getting with him.  And on a team with an unpredictable bullpen and defense,  plus the slow starts by Rizzo and Soriano, I have to think Sveum appreciates the level of certainty Valbuena brings everyday.
  • FelzzJulio Borbon- It's clear Dale has the green light going, trying to squeeze whatever offense he can. So let's see if the manager has Borbon dropping bunts, stealing bases, hitting and running, etc.

Comments

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  • As long as guys like Bowden, Camp, Gregg, and Marmol are pitching in key spots leads are bound to get squandered. Before Villanueva's gem tonight the starters' ERA was 3.11, even with the sub par performances by Jackson and Feldman. Yet the starters are 3-10. That's horseshit. That's on Theo and Jed. For sure. Having a homegrown core is definitely the way to go. I get that. Money needs to get spent on the bullpen. Imagine if Camp and Bowden were replaced with proven, solid veteran guys. For instance Dotel and Benoit or Affeldt and Casilla...I bet that 3-10 would all of a sudden be 8-5 or 9-4. Its so, so frustrating to have a lead and keep running mediocre pitchers out there. No bullpen is 100% but imagine what a 80% bullpen would do for the Cubs. Our bullpen is 35-40% right now. Horseshit.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Your point was validated last night when Sveum didn't go to the pen to start the 9th. He is traumatized (hyperbole, sort of) by the pen. Maybe this will factor in the draft, should Gray be available.

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    In reply to IVYADDICT:

    I agree, if Sveum had felt he had a better option than sending Villanueva back out for the 9th, he probably uses it. However, if the Cubs draft Jonathon Gray with the second overall pick, it's not going to be with the intention of putting him in the bullpen.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I disagree with part of this...the bullpen is, in fact, horrible! But, you HAVE to send your starter out to try to finish a gem like that when he's only thrown 90 pitches through 8, no matter who's in your bullpen.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I agree with you Matt. Dale should have given Villanueva the chance to finish his game out. Yes Marmol has good numbers against Votto but he's a good hitter and he's going to change his approach after getting fanned by him the night before.

    After Votto's base hit the camera showed Villanueva sitting on the bench looking completely deflated, I thought Sveum should have went over to him right away and told him he was sorry. I don't think he wanted to come out of the game for the bullpen to blow it (which they did).

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I think it's a judgement call, especially when this particular starter has never gone that deep into a game before. If I'm Sveum and I have a lock down closer to go to, I probably bring in him in, but certainly given what he had in the pen to go to, the best option was to send Villanueva back out to see if he could finish it.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I share the disappointment. I DO buy into the way the FO is building from ground up. I even tolerated the flotsam they put on the field last year but!!!!........... this is still a big market team and to be fielding the equivalent of a triple A squad again this year just leaves me frustrated.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Ben, while your correct in your assessment, free agents also have to want to come here. Agree with him or not, Lance Berkman last week was c orrect in his assessment of the facilities at Wrigley. Those poor facilites are what visiting teams see when they come to Wrigley.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That's absolutely right man. That coupled with all the day games are a real deterrent for years.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I agree with the premise that Sveum has little to work with when it comes to late inning relief -- but spending on the bullpen?

    That's what Jim Hendry did and Cubs fans and the media criticized him mercilessly for it. Bullpen performance is so volatile that it makes it difficult to invest in it long term. You have to grow your own and find some bargains in free agency to fill in the gaps -- but teams, not just the Cubs, who have spent big on the bullpen end up getting burned more often than not.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see your point, John but I didn't suggest signing a high priced closer like Rafael Soriano or someone like that. That would be too many eggs in that basket. I was suggesting spending on guys like Affeldt, Benoit, guys like that (provided they want to come, of course). One way to entice guys is to overpay a little bit. To me, a big market team with a notoriously weak bullpen of late, overpaying a little bit on a set up type guy doesn't really qualify as "spending big". The bottom line to me is that while developing young arms is paramount, those guys are way more likely to struggle than thirty somethings with solid track records.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Plus, if your catcher, three of your infielders, & #1 starter are all homegrown and your best prospects are an infielder and 2 outfielders that you love, what else are you going to spend on? Let alone spend big...

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I thought the goal was to develop enough talent so you can spend your money on area of need...

  • Carlos V. is a great addition to the Cubbies and has always has been a good pitcher, but being able to sign him to a team friendly contract was a godsend. As far as hiring Sveum, not so much, lol. But what about Garza? Does he have an elbow? Stay tuned

  • In reply to shalin:

    It's indisputable to date that Villanueva has performed far better than most anyone expected. The one caveat here is that over the last year or so Villanueva's second half effectiveness seems to deteriorate. I hope this year is different.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Actually, I think Tedstein will tell you that Villanueva's record over his career and over the last 3 years ain't chopped liver. He has been very consistent concerning his ERA, which is 4.14, 1.53, 4.16, and 4.04 respectively, and he has given up less hits than innings pitched.

  • Unfortunately I also see Sveum as Trammell 2.0. I hope I'm wrong, but it looks like Sveum, like Trammell, will be another promising new manager overwhelmed and buried by a bad team and exposed as a guy who might be in over his head.

  • As I said two weeks ago this is all on Sveum, IMO. When the players do not play like major leaguers it is always on the manager. Yes, I see him as Trammell 2.0, bur I hope he's gone befotre 3 seasons. The pen has been a disaster and that is on Hoyer to be sure. As far as demotion threats, I don't see that as a useful tactic. This team isn't competitive and that hurts. Castro and Rizzo are the nucleus of the future. Castro needs to be coached and motivated to grow up. Rizzo , I think, will come around if the weatherman will co-operate. There have to be some reliefers out there somewgere. If this is about getting something for Marmol, it is a fool's errand.

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    Tom, I don't think Sveum was hired to be the next Alan Trammell, but it may evolve into that. I also see the losing wearing on him, and that worries me.

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    If everything comes down to funding, and the Wrigley renovations are still not approved, I'm not particularly in my happy place.

    Given the report that Sveum f'ed up Rizzo's swing, I'd kind of like to see him Trammelled.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Looks like the renovations might come down to who has bigger balls, Ricketts or Peters. I believe I know.

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    The Cubs hold the ultimate trump card: moving hurts them a lot less than it hurts the city, even though it would be painful to both parties.

  • He will most likely suffer the same fate as Trammell. He was brought in for fundamentals and working with the younger guys. Yes a lot is out of his control, but if some of the things don't really improve over a long period of time he will be the scapegoat. Happens all of the time in sports when the team underperforms. He still has plenty of time to right the ship, but the end of this year review will be a little bit harsher and holding him more accountable for the next year. Won't be as glowing and supportive.

  • Ultimately it comes down to having enough talent. I don't think this team has a lot of above-average ballplayers who are true impact players. Every team that wins has several impact players.

    Sveum can only do so much with the talent he has. At some point it's on the players to step up and start playing like Major Leaguers.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Completely agree with this.

  • Sorryohno and Barney out today. Castro hitting 3rd.

  • Are there injuries involved?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I'm assuming just day game after a night game rest.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Nah, just day game after a night game. Soriano is probably getting a rest for those aging knees and Barney is just coming back from injury, so maybe they just want him to rest as well.

  • So much said about the bullpen. If Fuji was healthy, we'd all be breathing easier.

    Any time somebody asked me what the Cubs would do this year, I said the same thing: Improved rotation, some hope for the bullpen, same weak offense - this team will lose a lot of low-scoring games. 4-3, 4-2, 3-2, etc. So Fuji started the season injured. We blew some saves. You always blow a few. So in a best case for the pen, we still only win maybe 9 games by now. The real problem is that we do not have the bats to put a game out of reach.

    The real problem here is a bad offense, top to bottom. Castro hits well... for a shortstop. Rizzo, if he was in top form, is a middle-of-the pack offensive first baseman at this stage in his career. Soriano is 37. That's your 2-4. No other team in the MLB is particularly envious or intimidated.

    Castillo has been a bright spot, despite el golden sombrero last night. Schierholtz has been nice, but he's platooning. The rest of the offense is just bad. Well below league average bad.

    Is anyone surprised? Theo and Hoyer gave us a RF platoon and resigned Ian Stewart. That's what they added to one of the worst offenses in baseball.

    I guess we can't blame them. Would Youk have come to Chicago, even if they begged him? Were any trades possible, whatsoever? Nah... Sadly, until our core at the lower levels gets closer, and we are able to either hand them starting jobs or deal them away for the Stantons of the game...

    I'm afraid we just have to ride this out.

    I do hope we package some prospects for Stanton and sign him long-term immediately. That would be a huge step. I would sacrifice a lot for him. But I don't know if we are quite deep enough to withstand the impact of losing 3 or 4 top prospects.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    If Hoyer or Fujikawa or fans want to use injuries as an excuse for poor performance, that's fine. There's a saying about who excuses are for.

  • Injuries are a legitimate excuse for a team that lacks talent and depth. This is a team that lacks the on-the-field personnel to compete. Everything has to go right for them to have a chance -- and that includes staying healthy.

    Excuses may be for losers -- but did you think the Cubs were anything but a losing team this season when you look at their talent compared to the rest of the league?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No, John, I didn't think the Cubs were going to be anything but a losing team this season. Who put that team together? As for excuses, never been a big fan. Injuries are part of the game. Every team in our division has them, as do many other teams in baseball. I've been hearing excuses from many Cub teams for over 40 years as to why they don't win. It's time to stop being reactive and time to start being proactive. Work hard, keep your mouth shut, put a winner on the field. Some teams do that on a regular basis.

  • Every team has injuries, but they're not overcome by savvy managing. They are overcome by having depth, especially at the upper levels of the farm system. The Cubs don't have that yet, that is what this front office is trying to create and it doesn't happen overnight. There should be finally, hopefully, be some legit depth at AAA by next season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As long as people keep buying tickets and make the Cubs the most profitable team in their division and baseball without expecting them to be accountable to try to put a winning team on the field things won't change.

  • I don't agree. The Cubs were just as bad -- and even worse -- when they weren't filling the seats and people weren't buying tickets -- which was the case in the 70s when I was growing up.

    I think the idea that the front office would change their plan because of fan impatience is nonsense. As I was told by a front office guy on a very successful team, "If you choose to run your team based on what fans want, you'll soon be sitting with them."

    Epstein and Hoyer should and will stay the course, despite the noise coming from fans who demand immediate gratification.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Continue to do what you have always done and you will continue to get what you have always gotten. Ricketts needs to show more concern with putting a Major League product on the field than he does with spending his money on renovations that might make him more money in the future and might or might not help the Cubs win the World Series.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Unless they keep trading depth for prospects.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    You are correct in that a) our offensive suckitude was very predictable, and b) the only way out of it ahead of this year would be through selling the future, via big FA$ spend, or trades. We can't do that.

    Thankfully, help is on the way in terms of offense, not next year maybe but in a 2-3 year horizon. I think we have the talent in our system to fix it, just not at the ML level....yet.

    Ironically, the strength of the ML club is starting pitching, but this is also the weakest part of our farm system

  • Oh, and to answer the question: Yes. Sveum is Trammel. I think Mike Maddux walked away from the interview process because he smelled this coming. Sveum will be helpful to a growing team, but he's a poor strategist.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Sevum may indeed be over his head,.... but I do tend to think that just about any on field manager of this team,... with the options he has available to pull from - especially in his bullpen and bats off the bench - would have fared just about as badly.

    When saddled with an occasionally electric but regularly erratic (to be kind) closer,... an unproven back-up closer candidate who then immidiately goes on the DL,... and a collection of mostly match-up relievers after that point,... the blown saves are not unexpected even if they do hurt.

    I like Sevum - but he may end up being like Doug Collins was for the early Jordan-era Bulls. Team foundation was largely built by Colins, then Jackson being hired to cap a mature team put them over the top.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Ooooh I think you are right there. I heard it was Maddux job to turn down.

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    As I've said before. The coaching staff is upset because more talent wasn't brought in but fail to realize THERE WAS NO TALENT TO BRING. This last offseason was one of the worst FA classes in recent memory and it's looking even worse this offseason. There's no shortcuts anymore. Either you destroy your farm to acquire impact talent or you do what the good teams like the Giants, Nats, and A's have done. Develop your own for free. Which takes longer but has proven to be the most efficient market strategy for sustained success.

    FA should be used as a way to tighten up the bullpen, find a starter here and there, maybe hand out a big contract when warranted. Not try to get impact talent. You should have that. I wanted to say Hoyer should have signed more relievers but if you looked at the outrageous deals most of them got I don't blame him. Would have been Eyre and Howry all over again. Good managers work with what they are given.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree Marcel, and this speaks to an earlier poster's comment on the fact that the bullpen problems are all on Theo and Co. (Ben20 I think).

    Yes, the GM is responsible for the talent, but spending on bullpen this offseason (which was the only option, other than trading away prospects) would have been foolish. The Bullpen, IMO, is the last thing you build, once you have a core of good players in place, which we clearly don't have right now.

    Spending big FA$ would have been a disaster. Instead, we did spend, but only on limited risk deals (E-Jax), or risky signs with potentially big upsides (Baker, Feldman, Villanueva).

    The only way to for sure get better immediately is to spend big $ in FA, and such an approach can cripple a team in the long run.

    Theo is very open with the fact that this is going to take more than a couple years. The cupboard when he got here was bare. I know that sucks in the short term, but there is nothing you can do about that, without selling the future.

    This is the right course

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Zonk - Yep it is the right course,.... but it is painful to watch.

    I don't actually mind the losing record so much as the consistenly BAD back end of the bullpen and erratic defensive play blowing at least 4-5 potential wins.

    A bad bullpen and common mental errors compound the regular inability to score runs as a problem.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agreed. I'm fine with teams just beating you. That's baseball, some days the other team is just better. It's when you beat yourself with errors and walks that irks me. Don't outplay a team for 8 innings and then let them beat you in the ninth.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Good points, Zonk. LA has a slightly better record than us for quadruple the investment while the A's are one of the best teams in the league. Spending big in FA and depleting your farm system for ML players is no longer an efficient way to drastically improve a team and were seeing the effects of that across baseball.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Exactly! I certainly didn't come into this season feeling like Thed missed out on anybody this offseason. I also didn't come into this season feeling like the Cubs were going to be competitive this year. The biggest unexpected disappointment this year, for me, has been Rizzo (although his OPS is still .720 despite his BA being .178, his SO rate has been the alarming part).
    It's not like the front office isn't scraping the barrel to find relief help, but Gregg and Loe are what was available! I certainly don't want to give up prospects for bullpen help in 2013! I just don't buy that we're one or two BP arms away from being competitive!

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I firmly believe just like Rizzo's homerun and RBI rates are unsustainable that his low BA and OBP as unsustainable as well. He'll level out those numbers over the summer.

    I don't think were a few good BP arms away from being competitive either but would we have a much better record? Oh yes. We'd be minimum .500. And considered we've already played Texas, San fran, Atlanta, and the Reds .500 would be pretty impressive.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Totally agree Marcel!

    I think the manager's impact on the final record is highly overrated. They affect a few games one way or the other with the moves they make on the field but it's talent that ultimately decide's your team's fate.

    Firing the manager is a look for an easy answer. Selectively picking out all the wrong moves they make and ignoring it when he gets it right borders on the ridiculous to me. Kevin Gregg saved the game yesterday, had he blown it -- it would have somehow been Dale Sveum's fault.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly. Like they always say, the manager can only do so much. It's not his fault if the players don't go out there and produce.

    My only quibble with Dale has been his losing patience of late. He knew what he was getting into just like Jed and Theo did. He knew this would not be a 2yr fix. I don't blame him however for being frustrated with the way we beat ourselves at times. Losing is part of the game, but you can lose without beating yourself.

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    Stop me if you've heard this one before: Garza scratched from his start tonight with arm soreness. All muscular -- nothing structural. So they say, anyway.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    TJ on the way? Sign him as a FA after.

  • Man, this is rough. I agree that a TheoJed (notice the capitalized letters here) bargain-pitcher deal is coming this offseason. I'm not going to be upset about that. I could see Garza helping this team still.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I heard he loved Chicago but jeez.....going through this much just to stay :)

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    According to Paul Sullivan, DeJesus and Borbon are both playing CF today with no LF'er. :)

    Here's the lineup:

    DeJesus CF

    Borbon CF

    Castro SS

    Rizzo 1B

    Schierholtz RF

    Navarro C

    Valbuena 2B

    Ransom 3B

    Samardzija P

  • this is the exact reason why i'm glad sandberg wasn't hired. i seriously doubt he would be able to deliver better results, and some cub fans would eventually turn on him. i think he'll be a better coaching option for the next phase, but not right now.

  • In reply to matt:

    Agreed about Sandburg. I'm sure he'll be an excellent manager at the ML level - and soon. But the situation for him in Chicago at this stage would have more tarnished has status with Cubs fans than not.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Sandburg, the poet?

  • I do find it funny that Hoyer says losses on him but team is better and competitive. What is he really saying?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Ha! Good point. Sounds to me like he and Theo are trying hard to draw the attention away from players and coaches. Just keeping talking circles in a professional tone!

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    You have to give the FO credit for signing "the Stash". Just like the Maholm deal they signed a vet that was turning the corner. I say keep him instead of trade.

    For what it's worth I think Sveum has cost them at least two games. I was thrilled on opening day when he pulled Marmol but his decisions since on the pen, late inning defense and the lineup have been poor.

    I understand he's dealing with a house of cards but we could easily be .500 given our starting pitching. Relief pitching is year to year-you have to go with who's hot and less on past performance.

  • I wonder how much input Jaime Quirk and Chris Bosio have had, if any, on the use or non-use of the bullpen?

  • Ask yourself WHY this team has a lack of talent. How many 1st round draft choices from under Spendry are on this team, or even in the big leagues. Pawelek? Griffin? Kelton? Harvey? Dubios? All of them stunk . Poor ownership from the Trib doomed this team, just like poor ownership during the PK Wrigley days doomed this franchise. Shame is, Ricketts may be the best owner this team has had since William Wrigley, and the jury is still out on him.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Agreed. There was a lot to fix on this team. As I mentioned above, good teams have talent up and down their organization, so that when they get injuries or poor performance, they have a steady stream to replace them. The Cubs system was in complete disrepair and the FO has done a great job of fixing it, but only now is some of that talent starting to reach AA. It takes time to fix -- especially when you don't have a lot of assets to trade for young players.

  • Want to point out to that the Cubs pythagorean record based on talent and performance should be 8-11. They are currently 6-13. That's a difference of two games and while it's early, that could go in either direction. Sveum could close that gap or it could widen.

    I think we'll see that by the end of the year, that pythagorean record will be pretty close to the Cubs final record because these things have a way of evening out. Some of that variance is due to plain old luck.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That would record would be better if it wasn't for the horrendous defense. The Cubs are at -8 runs saved on fangraphs. They were at +23 runs last year. ( This is probably why Sveum is really fustrated.)

    Sveum gets this defense under control and the starters keep giving this team a chance then we should be watchable.

    I am hoping someone in minors steps up and becomes a decent reliever.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    At the outset of the year, I thought 75 wins plus or minus was realistic. I still think that's about right, depending on how many players we trade away.

    In the long run, we're better off stinking and getting more draft/intl pool money this year.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I agree. And I also think that's still realistic if the team stays relatively in tact.

  • Unfortunately the system does not have much or maybe any help at AAA. Next year may look a lot like this year. AA may have a little help for 2015. There is no quick fix and no one to blame. Sveum has made the correct manager moves, but the team has to execute. Who is to say that Sveum cannot win when he has the horses.

  • Lot's of good points guys.

    I've criticized Sveum on a few occasions... truth is he's been right more than not. Nobody's perfect, that's baseball. We have the luxury of hind-sight and second guessing him. The talent level isn't good enough to be a .500 club. That won't stop the media and most fans for calling for Sveum's head. He may or may not be our long term guy once the rebuild is complete, so he could very well end up being "Trammeled".

  • I don't disagree with anything you all have been saying about the talent available and the pains of rebuilding properly by Ricketts, Theo and Hoyer. BUT, i do think there are two big things we are overlooking:

    1. The Cubs have some of the highest ticket prices in baseball. Why aren't they giving a "rebuilding" discount to loyal fans who have already waited decades when they are being asked to wait another 2-4 years. A saturday game in the outfield bleachers regularly goes for $80+ a ticket. For a playoff team, maybe. For this team, that is highway robbery. I think fans would be much more patient if Ricketts acknowledged this and did something about it.

    2. The lack of player discipline and fundamental play by the players we do have on the field. Theo was supposed to not just increase talent, but also the baseball IQ of the team. If so, why are they:
    A. making costly defensive errors
    B. consistently watching fastballs down the middle for strike 3
    C. 29th in BB
    D. 28th in OBP
    E. Bottom third in pitches per at bat
    F. 6th in K's?

    These are things that can be tightened up regardless of the talent and it is the lack of this that concerns me long term.

  • Great discussion everyone. Love the points being made by everyone!

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    Maybe we all just need to take a deep breath here. No one really expected the Cubs to be competitive this year but we were hoping for a better record than last year. If we end up with 70 - 75 wins this year will the season still be considered a loss?

    So we end up with another top 5 draft choice. The real turning point would be next year, imo. Do we get to over .500 with visions of the playoffs that just seem to elude us? That would be year 3 of the rebuild of the 5 year plan.

    This off season is the most critical, imo. What kind of talent can the farm produce? How close will Baez, Soler, Almora be to the show? Is 2015 still a year in where most of us feel we will start to be competitive for many years?

    The team we have on the field is still many ways what Hendry left us with. Every time I hear folks talk about spending money I cringe. We just tried that. We got close for a couple of years and now we need to experience the effects of those bad contracts.

    Trade for someone? Who? And what GM out there would be willing to take on our mediocre talent with those bad contracts?

    We are stuck here folks for just a while longer......

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    My first post, John. I love your comments and find them fair and well-thought out. Good work. My comment: I have been a Cub fan since the '50s and remember those awful teams in the 70's and 80's, so please have a little patience, Cubs fans. Help is on the way. I have seen many of the younger Cubs when they played here against the Snappers. The times. they are a-changin'

  • Thanks Larry. I totally agree. I don't think we'll see a whole lot of change until the Cubs bring in new talent -- including some guys on the farm who are being taught to play the way the Cubs front office wants to play. It's hard to change the current players and most of them won't be around anyway when this team is good.

    Had a great time when I went to Beloit last year to catch a game. I was only disappointed that Miguel Sano was ejected very early.

  • Theo was on WSCR again talking about resource constraints. Maybe stumping for TR but some truth to that.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Until we get a new TV deal, and renovated stadium, we are a mid-market team in terms of revenues. Cincy is ahead of us; they have a nice TV deal, and new ballpark, more $ despite playing in a puny media market. Same for the Cards.

    The Dodgers are showing what can happen when a big-market team lines up TV and stadium dollars. They are crazy spenders, but they can afford every penny, and then some (and Yanks have been showing us this for years)

    Theo may be used to Red Sox; their cable channel is a cash cow. We don't have anything like that.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Wasn't there a report out just a few weeks ago showing the Cubs as #4 in revenues? That doesn't seem like "mid-market" to me.....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You're close. The Cubs are the 4th most valuable franchise in ALL professional sports and THE MOST PROFITABLE TEAM IN BASEBALL, according to Forbes magazine.

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    And it looks like a lot of money will be spent on this new stadium renovations deal. Not to mention all the money that recently went into the Dominican Republic and revamping the farm system. So I think the money is being well spent and exactly what Ricketts said he would do.

    It's so hard to see that stuff when the product on the field just looks as bad as it has the past few weeks. But I imagine if the weather warms up and the Cubs win a few games here and there much of this noise will die down.

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    Another hard luck performance by Shark. Only one run over six innings and the best he can get from it is a no decision.......

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Got to give to Latos though. The guy was dealing.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    At the end of the day, being "the guy" means going pitch for pitch against guys like Latos. Latos was better today.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That doesn't take anything away from Shark, IMO. The offense has to score off Latos, Shark held-up his end.

    The Cubs starters cumulative ERA will now be approx. 2.96 this year, and they will be 3-11 after today. That shows you how bad our bullpen, offense, and fielding is.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Yes and no.

    Was it a good start? Absolutely.

    But to say the offense "has" to score on Latos kind of sidesteps the point. As the staff ace, he is going to be expected to go up against other staff aces. Let's say we're in our dream world and the Cubs are facing the Tigers in the World Series. Shark is going to go up against Verlander. Verlander is entirely capable of coming out and completely shutting down any team. If Verlander is doing that, the only way we win the game is if Shark puts up zeros to match Verlander and,hopefully, we break through against the bullpen. Is that a "fair" standard to hold any pitcher to? No, of course not. But it's the job of the staff ace. On the plus side, staff aces get paid like Justin Verlander for doing that.

  • I'm not trying to second guess the manager but I would have put someone that could put the ball in play.

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    Rizzo got 3 straight pitches that he'd normally put in the parking lot. Fouled 2 off singled on the 3rd one. Still, something is definitely off. Rizzo from last year rarely missed fastballs down the middle.

    He did drive a ball to the deepest part of the park earlier.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I predict Rizzo will be fine. He is amazingly unlucky this year; yes, some change in approach means more uplift in his swing, but even Adam Dunn will produce a .260 BABIP over time. Rizzo is closer to .150. He'll be fine.

    The hitter I would worry about is Beef Wellington. 17Ks with no walks.......that's awful. "But he is hitting .328" you may say.....not for long, I guarantee it. His average will plummet below .220 without a correction, kept up only by his hot start.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. What I do like about Castillo is up until this past week I was fine with him not walking because he saw a lot of pitches, waited for a good one to drive, left the bad ones alone, and learned to shorten up with 2 strikes, all of which he had been doing with regularity but this week he's been expanding his strikezone, swinging at pitches he hadn't been before, and not shortening up.

    It's too early for me to say him completely smashing the ball for a month is all luck, it's also too early to say he's become a .300 hitter either. nonetheless I am pleased with his development this year.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. What I do like about Castillo is up until this past week I was fine with him not walking because he saw a lot of pitches, waited for a good one to drive, left the bad ones alone, and learned to shorten up with 2 strikes, all of which he had been doing with regularity but this week he's been expanding his strikezone, swinging at pitches he hadn't been before, and not shortening up.

    It's too early for me to say him completely smashing the ball for a month is all luck, it's also too early to say he's become a .300 hitter either. nonetheless I am pleased with his development this year.

  • Hey I was listening to 670 The Score on my lunch break and heard Matt Spiegel give a shout out to Tom and Cubs Den and was talking about this article. Any chance of getting him as a guest contributor from time to time?

  • Maybe I can do another interview with him but he does Daily Herald column already.

  • Most reasonable and intelligent post on Sveum I've seen so far this year. Great job.

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