- I guess if you catch him on an off-day, Dale Sveum doesn’t sound surprised by the Cubs’ overall crumminess this year. ‘‘I’m not naive; I knew what I was getting into,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I saw what we had. If we didn’t get offense from the corner positions, we’d have trouble scoring runs. [Alfonso] Soriano has been pretty good and [Bryan] LaHair, but we haven’t had much production from the other spots. And scoring runs has been our biggest problem.’’ So … even Sveum could tell, and admits, this was a weak roster from the get-go? I’ve said it before: I highly suspect he was told from the day before he signed that his roster was probably going to be thin for a little while, and that his job was to start changing the culture, to do what was best for the organization long-term when it comes to using certain players in certain roles, and to try and win as many games as possible (in that order).
- Speaking of the crumminess, Theo Epstein, naturally, isn’t going to say whether he thinks this team is bad. “Organizationally, there are a lot of barometers we’re watching to make sure we’re moving in the right direction,” Epstein said, according to Paul Sullivan. “And we know we’re going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. It’s really important to examine everything you do …. You want to make sure when you make mistakes you’re aware of them and figure out why.” But, it isn’t difficult to read between those lines. In the same article, Sullivan contends that, in addition to rebuilding, one of the Cubs’ goals this year is to avoid setting the franchise record for losses (103). I’m not so sure about that one – if September rolls around, and the choice is losing only 102 games and picking third in the 2013 Draft (and getting less Draft money and international money to spend), or losing 104 and picking first? I’m not saying the Cubs will actively try to lose games, but as far as rooting goes in that scenario? I think Theo would be just fine with the Cubs dropping 104.
- You know things are getting grim when you start to see multiple iterations of the “hey, there are still reasons to watch the Cubs” articles coming out. The latest comes from Gordon Wittenmyer, who does correctly identify a number reasons to keep watching the Cubs, headlined by the imminent arrival of Anthony Rizzo. Again I’ll say: the weight of expectations placed on this kid is going to be crushing. Try to relax for the first month, ok? And I mean that in either direction, good or bad. We could see Rizzo called up as soon as this weekend, but it might not be until next week.
- Patrick Mooney with a write-up on Jeff Samardzija, featuring some love from Cubs Assistant GM Randy Bush. “[Samardzija’s] not going to make the same mistakes over and over again,” Bush said. “He’s just going to learn. Physically, he’s got everything you look for to be that kind of guy you can hopefully tee up there for 200 innings a year.”
- You can win four tickets to a Cubs game and throw out the first pitch, courtesy of a contest being run by ComEd. Just hit up the “Coolest Summer Ever” tab on their Facebook page, and you can enter from there. There are other Chicago-based prizes as well.
- MLBullets at BCB notes growing discontent in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse … some of which is discontent about the fact that people keep saying there is discontent.
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