No recap today as the Cubs lost 9-5, but there is plenty of news that came from the game regarding the closer situation.
There are sometimes in life where you can rely on what you hear or read and we certainly do that hear. Then there are times when you have to infer from context.
Then less frequently when it comes to the world of baseball, you have some related experience. Today is one of those days for me.
Welington Castillo will miss the rest of the season
- Welington Castillo will have surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus his knee. My first feeling was..phew! Not that I'm an orthopedic surgeon or anything, but I did the same thing about 10 years ago playing basketball. It hurt...a lot. But an MRI later I was told it was a partially torn meniscus in my left knee and I was given the option of surgery or rehab. I chose rehab and I was already feeling better in just a couple of weeks. Of course, I didn't have to catch everyday. On the other hand, I'm also not a giant ball of muscle like Beef Welington. The recovery time is 4-6 weeks and I presume surgery is the better route for Castillo but then he will rehab and build strength around the knee to stabilize it. He should be back well before the spring if his experience is anything like mine.
On the Dale Sveum situation
- I think sometimes when you don't flow with the narrative, people assume you are on the extreme other end of things. Am I a Dale Sveum supporter? Not necessarily. Do I think there are concerns about Sveum this season? Absolutely, I do. We've talked about concerns about the development of the core players. I think that's tough to ask of an MLB manager, but it's fair and it's part of his job. Sveum knew that going in. Here is where I don't agree with the narrative: Just because Theo Epstein didn't give a vote of confidence or refused to comment on Sveum's future, it doesn't mean he's "on the hot seat" or "a lame duck". I think that's a tremendous leap. As someone who used to work in the training, development, and evaluation of employees I can say that I believe Theo when he says they are in a process of evaluating -- not just Sveum, but every staff member. I can tell you from personal experience that the number of times we talked about an employee's future publicly before finishing the evaluating process was...ZERO. There simply is no good reason to do that. So while there is some concern about Sveum and I don't necessarily think he's the long term manager, I do believe that they are simply in the process of making that decision and will not comment until that process is finished. Reading into a non-answer in not something I would do because I would have given a similar non-answer if I were in Theo's position. Why can't we just assume he is being honest here? And, by the way, yes, I still believe Sveum is coming back for 2014.
On the MLB Draft
- Did some chatting on the draft today as it looks like the Cubs are now locked into a top 4 pick barring the corpse of what was once a good White Sox team suddenly springing to life in the last 8 games. Here's a few thoughts: 1) Carlos Rodon is the consensus #1. He is not falling to #4. Let's cross him off the list. 2) Alex Jackson probably isn't going to stick at catcher, and if he doesn't he's not a top 5 pick. He may not even be a top 5 pick even if he does. 3) The early guys you should keep your eye on are Jeff Hoffman, RHP and SS Trea Turner. Both fit the Cubs profile. They are college players, which is what the Cubs prefer when they are picking this high. Hoffman is an athletic pitcher with a power arm and the potential to develop good command. Turner is an athletic, up the middle player who has enough bat to move to a different position if necessary. 4) One college arm to watch is Luke Weaver, who got some buzz as a member of Team USA. Cubs Den contributor and Big League Futures scout Kevin Gallo thinks he'll surprise this year. There's also Tyler Beede, who looked like a top 3 pick until command problems derailed him. He's still considered a top 10 guy but f he turns it around, he's worthy of a top 5 pick.
Kevin Gregg out as closer
If you heard Gregg today, he was pretty upset at losing the closer job for the rest of the season to Pedro Strop. And there are unconfirmed reports that he was told he wouldn't be back next year. I understand why he'd be upset. He's a competitive athlete and he's trying to prolong his career -- he's not looking at the Cubs long term rebuilding project. But he didn't handle it the right way. He's a short term solution and the Cubs gave him an opportunity to resurrect his career. He was waived by the Orioles earlier this year and now he goes into the offseason off of a good season and a chance to cash in. And not just that, Patrick Mooney reports the Cubs kept and used Gregg long enough for him to finish his 50th game, which earned him an extra $500K in performance bonuses. I'd say they treated him quite well.
His reaction didn't get by Epstein and the two met. Gregg apologized to both Dale Sveum and Epstein, but it's still possible he'll be released before the season ends.
UPDATE: Gregg misunderstood and assumed he wasn't part of next year's plans. That isn't true, but it doesn't look like he did himself any favors with that outburst. The Cubs will still decide on his possible release tomorrow morning.
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