Kevin Gregg, Dale Sveum and Professional Courtesy

Kevin Gregg, Dale Sveum and Professional Courtesy

During my schoolin' days there used to be an old anime called Dragon Ball Z that ran in the states right after school. It's a polarizing show with a lot of fanboys and a lot of #haters, but that's irrelevant. There was a line in there delivered by Master Roshii that's stuck with me over time:

A candle flickers most violently just before it burns out

Enter Kevin Gregg, a nomadic reliever who still finds himself closing games every so often in spite of his previous and spotty track record.

Gregg has been just ok in 2013, he's notched 32 saves with a 2.90 ERA in 59 innings of work. Those numbers belie the true nature of his season, however. He started off hot but over time his WHIP has bloated (1.30 as of writing), the K% has plummeted to below average for a reliever (19.5% as of writing), and the walk rate has inched up (11.6% as of writing).

Naturally the Cubs would want to get better at the backend of their bullpen, a spot that's closely resembled a dumpster fire covered in oil and gasoline for the past two years. Dale Sveum announced that Pedro Strop would get a shot at closing games down the stretch:

“It’s going to be an opportunity for Strop. We want to see what he does in that role. Kevin [Gregg] has ben one of the better closers in all of baseball. God knows where we’d be without him.”

-Carrie Muskat on the reporting

Again, this seems to be a natural progression of talent evaluation. Gregg had a good season but he's going to be a free agent at the end of the year. It would behoove the Cubs to find out if they have a closer in Strop or if they'll need to find one either in house or elsewhere.

Gregg was not very happy with the decision and had this to say after the game:

 

 

This did not please the front office at all, and Sahadev had a string of quotes from Theo Epstein, but this is the most important one:

There's a lot of stuff here. On the surface it appears that there is a weird tension going on between the players and management. Castro rebelled against attempts to tweak with his swing. Jeff Samardzija let his emotions get the better of him recently. Edwin Jackson got into a tiff with Sveum, and now there's this situation.

There's a storm gathering around Dale Sveum, one that was in my blind spot but it's come into direct focus over the past few weeks. There's odd reports about the Cubs maybe kind of pursuing Joe Girardi and there were the odd comments that the FO made about Sveum's job security.

I didn't think that Sveum's was in any danger of being fired. I thought that the evaluation process was a normal one and that the Cubs would come to the conclusion that given the talent level it was unrealistic to think Sveum was directly responsible for the Cubs 2013 season.

However.

Sveum is making a lot of noise for all the wrong reasons lately. If we consider that the Cubs have been drastically underperforming their Pythagorean Record all year and we take into account the recent clubhouse tension I think we can reasonably assume that his job may be in jeopardy.

As for the candle quote? Both Gregg and Sveum are flickering wildly right now. Odds are pretty good at least one of them is snuffed out.

Filed under: Chicago Cubs

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, Gregg, MLB, sveum, theo

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