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I “forgot” that I had signed up to run a 5K this morning (read: The Wife signed us up and probably told me while I was typing a post some weeks ago), so I am beat. A runner I am not.

  • So, you’re probably still stewing a bit about the Cubs’ lineup last night. For those who didn’t see or have already blocked the game from memory, the gist of the issue is this: Dale Sveum had created a righty lineup for the Cubs, as he does, in anticipation of facing lefty Joe Saunders. But Saunders was scratched just before lineups were exchanged, and was replaced with righty Josh Collmenter. Fortunately, Dale had time to change up his lineup back to the normal iteration, featuring the LaHairs, the Campanas, and the DeJesuses, for example. But … Dale didn’t change the lineup, instead leaving Joe Mather, Reed Johnson, and Jeff Baker in to face Collmenter. Obviously, it didn’t go well.
  • Dale offered what kind of looks like an explanation after the game, but it’s going to leave you wanting. “I had time to change it,” Sveum told reporters. “It was more Collmenter, we had no prior history. None of our hitters had ever faced him. He’s so funky …. I’ve seen last year [in Milwaukee] when no one ever faced him before. He’s a completely different pitcher. He’s a guy you need to face three, four or five times before you get a reading on that arm slot.” So, none of the batters had seen Collmenter, and he’s funky, so why bother with match-ups? I mean, is that really his explanation? At least give us, “I’d already told the guys who were playing, they were warm, and you can’t just change the lineup at the last second because it throws off guys’ rhythms.” I don’t know if that would have been BS, but at least offer it. Because the explanation Sveum game leaves me thinking irrational, dark thoughts about tanking, and I really don’t think that’s the case. For now, I’ll file it under: really, really strange.
  • Anthony Rizzo has now been at AAA long enough that the Cubs will have control over him through 2018 (instead of just 2017), but that doesn’t mean he’ll come straight up today. Dale Sveum says Rizzo will be up “soon,” but not in Arizona. The Cubs head home to Wrigley for a series with the Mets starting on Monday, and then they face the Astros to close out the week/month before heading to Atlanta on July 2.
  • Sveum added that Randy Wells is expected to start again on Tuesday, despite his weak outing filling in for Ryan Dempster earlier this week. That plan could change, but, for now, the plan is to give Wells one more shot.
  • About Jeff Samardzija’s rough start, Sveum pointed out that Samardzija tends to start leaving the ball up and walking guys around the 80-pitch mark. The velocity is still there, but not the command or control.
  • As noted in the comments last night, Jeff Samardzija has a third-time-through-the-order problem (small sample size warning ahead). The first time through the order, batters are hitting just .232/.278/.320 off of him, and he’s got a herculean 5.25 K/BB ratio. The second time through, he has a less sexy, but still acceptable .248/.314/.431 line against, with a 2.30 K/BB ratio. But the third time he sees guys in a given game, they’re hitting .325/.411/.403, and his K/BB ratio plummets to just 1.55.
  • None of that is totally atypical for pitchers, but it was precisely the fear we had with Samardzija coming out of the bullpen: unless he’s got all of his pitches working, he doesn’t have enough stuff to fool guys the third time they see him in a game. So, it could be the fastball up thing that Dale noticed, but it could also be a reluctance (or inability) to fully mix up his pitches throughout the game.
  • Speaking of Samardzija, he’ll probably scale back his boot camp preparations in the offseason this year, after two straight Winters of  killing himself.
  • Interim hitting coach James Rowson says he hasn’t tried to change a lot so far with the Cubs, just “attacking the strike zone.” I know that’s just a meaningless buzz phrase, but that’s, like, exactly the kind of thing Rudy Jaramillo used to say.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer wonders whether Starlin Castro will be able to truly buy into Theo Epstein’s preferred plate approach method.
  • Cerambam

    So Brett, here I am waking up on Saturday morning the morning I know Rizzo can be called up, I pick up my laptop hop on to bleacher nation read a headline that had RIZZOMG in it only to find that he will just probably be up Monday WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If he were coming up, be assured, it wouldn’t be a little ‘ole Bullet.

      • MichiganGoat

        Now I think you should, be the last bullet after some marketing bullets, kinda like this:

        -Buy a BN t-shirt
        -Follow BN on twitter
        -For what its worth Rizzo will be in tonights game, so there is that.

        Then listen to the rabble explode.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    To hell with this year. It would be at least interesting if we had 3 or 4 top guys that were tearing it up in the minors with an end in sight. We don’t have that. I know everyone loves Rizzo as do I. I think Baez has an opportunity to be outstanding. I am not sold on Jackson. I know the next shiny thing syndrome where I should be drinking the koolaid, but his k’s are out of control. Hopefully next year a full year of Soler and Almora will give me hope. I was bashed for saying this was a 95 loss at best team before the season. People were predicting 70 and 75 losses. Some said .500 team. Next year’s team isn’t looking much better. There are some solid FA’s, but not enough to turn around this team. The FO keeps saying they are going to build from the bottom up, so that doesn’t sound like a FO that is going to go crazy in the winter. Still looking like 2014 is the first opportunity to sniff .500.

    • Rick Vaughn

      I’m pretty sure most people assumed this was an 80 to 100+ loss team. So I doubt you were “bashed” much, at least on this site.

      And 2014-2016 seems widely accepted as the time frame when this team is expected to compete again.

      • Kyle

        Which is still a bad decision. There’s no good reason why a big market team should be giving up on 3-5 entire seasons. Epstein has more or less admitted in interviews that the reason we are doing this is because he felt burned out by the pressure to win in Boston.

        That said, at least the front office is doing a fantastic job of executing this plan, and combining it with some nice development from the leftover prospects from the Hendry era.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “People were predicting 70 and 75 losses”

      No, people typically were predicting 70-75 wins.  There were a few people predicting (?hoping?) that it would be a 0.500+ team, but I think that a lot of us saw this team as a little worse than the 2011 team.

  • OlderStyle

    We don’t need to drink kool-aid but neither do we need to sip hemlock tea.
    (serenity now)
    Many believe it will get better soon. Castro will improve, Rizzo should be special, Shark will improve, Soto will be gone, Sori gone, loads of FA money to spend. Drafting and development take time but there are a lot of positives moving forward. After surviving the late 70′s and 90′s as a fan this is not as bleak as it seems. Go Cubs.

    • djriz

      Hemlock tea. Very funny.

      Wait until we trade away Garza, Demp and whomever else. Our winning percentage will dip to .100. Then you’ll see mass panic.

      Ever cry and laugh at the same time? It hurts.

  • baracus

    would still love to see LaHair play everyday. i don’t care who’s pitching.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs future will definately be built from the minors. It’s our hope that Theo & Jed can get the most talent from any future trades. It will be interesting just how deep other GM’s will dig into their farm system in exchange for Garza, Dempster, Soriano or other current players. Unfortunately, the new CBA changed the value of prospects.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I’m 47.  I spent the ’70′s, ’80′s, ’90′s and ’00′s waiting for the farm system to develop anything.  Although I think much more highly of Theo & Jed’s tactics than I do of Hendry’s (particularly for position players), I think that I’ll be forgiven if I’m skeptical of the farm being the complete answer…..

      • djriz

        You’re right Doc. The Farm needs to be the foundation (for longterm success) but key trades and free agent signings will also need to play a role in building the type of team Theo wants.
        I’ve also had the pleasure (?) of watching our farm system for decades and have seen a majority of our top prospects flame-out. That being said, I don’t remember a group of prospects as deep as we have now, nor with as much upside. I’d bet that 3 of our top 10 prospects will have decent ML career, and that would be significanly better than any time in the last 40 years.

        • Kyle

          The 2002-2003 Cubs farm system was better than what we have now. Much, much deeper, especially with pitchers.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Definitely with pitchers, but I think I’d take this crop of position prospects over the ’02-’03 crop.

            • Kyle

              Agree, but in sum that group was much higher regarded. Those pitchers were better than these hitters, strenghth to strength. And those hitters were a lot better than these pitchers, weakness to weakness.

              This system is probably top 10. Back then it was consensus No. 1.

  • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    For anyone doubting the value of a good farm system, check out the situation at 3rd for the red sox. Youkolis out and red hot Will Middlebrooks in- kid looks like the real deal. Another good draft pick by Theo and Co.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Well, at least Dale didn’t lie and say he didn’t have time to change the lineup. I have faith in him still, but the losing and his “matchups” are starting to wear thin. The right handers vs. the lefties is starting to get old since it isn’t working.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “The right handers vs. the lefties is starting to get old since it isn’t working.”

      The righty/lefty bit has little to do with why the Cubs are losing.  The Cubs are routinely beaten by both LHP and RHP.  Their net OPS when facing righties is still -0.02: so, if they were doing as well against lefties as they do against righties, then they’d be a 0.450 team or so.  Now, obviously they need some right handed power: but it is tough to find a split for which the Cubs are “working.”

      • @cubsfantroy

        I understand that, but they have only 3 wins versus lefties. I guess what I should have said was that he needs to get LaHair, DeJesus etc.. in there against lefties on a consistent basis. Granted, they aren’t hitting well against them, but neither are the right handed hitters. Why not get LaHair and them in there to at least try to get some AB’s and see how they do or at least have the opportunity to show that they won’t do well on a consistent basis. LaHair only has like 20+ AB’s and you can’t judge him solely on that. At least I wouldn’t think you can.

        That being said, I am not looking at winning as much this season as I am in the Cubs at least gauging talent on all fronts, and that means getting lefties AB’s against lefties.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          LaHair has had hundreds of PAs against lefties over the years.  Again, the minors are not irrelevant: otherwise, baseball teams would just call guys up at random on the grounds that “we don’t know they’ll fail because they have not yet failed against MLB competition.”  If a guy can do something in miLB, then he might be able to still do it in MLB; however, if a guy cannot do something in miLB, then it pretty much guarantees that that he won’t be able to do in in MLB.

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    Rumor has it that there is already a deal in place for Demp.He is just resting his arm for the second half.Its not like we are in the race. LA Dodgers is my guess( Lily is his best friend,plus the have a great shot for the playoffs.). 5 out of the top 6 prospects are pitchers.
    Say 1 of Allan Webster RH,Garrett Gould RH or Chris Reed LH( Alot like Chris sale), these are ranked 3,4,and 5.
    Plus say either Aaron Miller LHP or Steve Ames RHP,Rankings 15-18.

    • Jeremy

      Even though Zach Lee would be my first choice, I would love to get Chris Reed though. Reed is on the DL though I believe.

    • djriz

      I can’t buy into the ‘resting his arm’ argument. If a team wants to add pitching, wouldn’t they want their new pitcher to play right away?

  • RWakild

    This righty lineup is horrible!!! Sveum is an idiot for not realizing it and changing it against the right hander. But on the bright side we now have the worst record in the majors again. Is there a clear top pick for the next draft yet?

  • Sparks

    Doc- I spent the late 40′s, the 50′s, throught the 00′s. I’m 80 years old. I have read of rookies coming from the farm system for all of these years. I am probably more skeptical than you. But I’m still hoping to see a World Series win in my lifetime. Somehow, I am not convinced Theo & Jed are planning any “huge” free agent signing until they need to fill in just one or two spots. I think that’s a few years away. (Sorry to be a pessimist, but 67 years is a long time.)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Hey Sparks: my dad would be 7 years younger than you.  When giving his eulogy, I noted that the only thing that he didn’t get out of life was a Cubs pennant!  So, I can relate to that: I’m betting that my son will say the same about me before they dump my ashes into the cat’s litter box…..

      But as for FA signings this winter, well, it’s tough to say what will be out there.  I have always coveted Ethier, but the Dodgers just wrapped him up.  Our best hope is Cole Hamels: and that would be a huge boon to the starting pitching, but he won’t help us hit lefties too well!

      Anyway, hang in there: I really do think that we’ll have perennial playoff contenders in a couple of years. (Given that you suffered through the ’50′s, ’60′s and ’70′s, you definitely can appreciate that!)

  • Sparks

    Amen to that! I am convinced that the way to win is through developing the farm system. At least I can say that I lived through the Cubs playing in a World Series. I was 13 at the time, and we lived out in the Country (at the time). There was little public transportation to get to Wrigley, and in 1945, few people had TV. The most I saw of the Series was from newsreels. I DID get to listen on the radio, though.

    • MoneyBoy

      80?  OMG, I’m a mere 60!!    50 years or so of memories.  Part of me wants to believe Brett’s “If It Takes Forever” and part of me … well, you know.

      It feels like the emphasis on the farm system (the last few years) seems more coordinated under Wilken and Fleita; my hope is that the new blood in the front office will add to it.  Those who know way more than I do seem enthused about the last two drafts (2011 Intl included).  Luke’s  fabulous work gives rise to the idea that there is “deep depth.”  How and if it blossoms … stay tuned.

      Money to be spent this winter … where, how much, and for how long … the ever vexing questions.

  • Stu

    Sveum’s comments are the lamest I have ever heard for a manager. Given that the lineup was unprepared for the change in pitcher, so were the LaHairs, etc. So what would be the advantage be for playing the all right-handed lineup?

    I’ll stand behind the high draft pick argument because it is the only logical conclusion given the facts. It would be nice to believe that they are trying to win this year, but there is no evidence that they are attempting to do it on a daily basis.

    So the question that the diehards are having a tough time answering in their own minds, why would you give money to a team that is not trying to win everyday? Is it that you can say to yourself that you endured the bad years and now you are rewarded when they win in 2015-16?

    Enjoy the CUBS in any scenario where you are not giving them money. You’ll feel less like a sucker.

  • Jp

    I really hope Sveum is under orders to coach poorly to get that 1st pick, that’s the only excuse… I know nobody wants to hear this but did Theo really say Sandberg wasn’t an option stating lack of experience? Last night was a rookie mistake if I’ve ever seen one. Or he’s tanking. The excuse the pitcher has a funky delivery was horrible, I mean horrible.

    • GoldFinch

      That’s because Sveum is not a manager! He is technically an assistant manager.

    • rcleven

      If I ever thought games were being tanked to get a better draft choice I would never follow this team again. I understand there is a rebuilding process. The core(if there is a core) has to be built around. Games should never be tanked.

  • Cubs1967

    somehow I don’t see Ryno with that kind of stupid respone; and it is plain fucking stupid.

    has any team had a guy tear up AAA pitching like Rizzo and still be kept away, ever?

    if garza goes and demp does too, and it’s obvious smarz needs a break and will be shutdown around 150 or so IP, will this team then even win 45 games?

    can I sue the cubs for false advertising……..its’ not really Major League Baseball………like the name says?

    everyone realizes the suspects are just that; not prospects, till they become major leaguers…..like Castro……so after 108 yrs and counting; then what?……..nothing guaranteed……..

    anyone notice the a’s got a RF with 13 homers for their releiver bailey,(reddick) and the stros got a SS with 13 homers for their releiver melancon (lowrie) and we got 1 win with a 4 plus ERA 4th starter at best for ours in marshall………..who had the highert WAR of the 3?

    yeah……….cubs convention is gonna be fun………just not for team theo and puss’n’ boots ricketts!

    • MichiganGoat

      So Ryno (a manager noteam as given a MLB job btw) would solve all our problems? That and Marshall, how many wins would they have brought?

    • art

      lol, last year, Cubs/LaHair?

  • rcleven

    When the heck is the media going to hold Sveum accountable for his lapses. He has set up a pattern with his lefty righty rotation. He just dropped the ball last night by not sticking to it. Lame excuses are beginning to pile up.
    The golfer ball thrown by Samarj was well under 80 pitches. Just getting tired of hearing all the lame crap coming out of Dales mouth and wondering if he is just going thru the motions and really wants to win. I have given him the benefit up till now but he is really trying me.

    • GoldFinch

      My wife recently went to the auto shop for some work on one of the cars. The so called “manager” said it needed $300.00 in brake work. I work on cars, so I looked into this myself. The vehicle did not need the work the “manager” said needed done. In other words, the “manager” fed me a line of BS. After further investigation, it turned out the “manager” was an “assistant manager.” He got FIRED.

      • MichiganGoat

        So fire Sveum?

        • GoldFinch

          Of course that is up to the FO. Can you give me or any Cubs fan a reason to believe Sveum is any better than Quade? Oh thats right. He threw a bunting tournament in spring training!

          • Njriv

            How about we get a team with at least mediocre talent, then we can judge Sveum.

            • GoldFinch

              It’s not a question of the talent with the team. It’s a question of how he is using the talent he does have!

              • Njriv

                Thats true, but I honestly don’t think if he changed the line-up this team would have been able to score more then 6 runs.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                No, the debate really is about the talent, and largely in relation to one player: LaHair.  One camp holds that LaHair’s miLB stats show that he cannot hit LHP.  The other camp holds that whether LaHair can hit LHP is still unknown, presumably on the assumption that what happens in miLB stays in miLB.

                If you are in the first camp, then Sveum is doing the best he can with a bad job.  If you are in the second camp, then Sveum is making the bad job worse by sitting a superior hitter.  But the two views necessarily follow from fundamental questions about the talent on the team.

                 

                And Njriv has the right of it: given any one collection of 8 hitters, then the best possible lineups will generate an extra run every week or so; you cannot tweak this collection of regular players to consistently score more runs than the Cubs pitching will allow.

                • GoldFinch

                  Lol! Can you put that in English Doc?

                • Njriv

                  Well put Doc. Thanks.

                • GoldFinch

                  Also. I don’t think fans are asking Sveum to pull runs out of his behind to make up for bad pitching. I think what is being debated is the decisions he is making with what he has. Let’s not get the principles confused.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Um I’m confused a while ago you wanted to fire Sveum and now your talking about confused principles? The main board has gotten to difficult to follow thes days- to the message board for this has become Camelot – a silly place.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Have you forgotten Quade so completely already?

            Start with the pitching staff.  Quade stuck with Russell as a starting pitcher for much too long, had a tendency to let pitchers try to pitch out of their own messes regardless of what match ups were coming, and generally mishandled much of his bullpen.

            Sveum has had less talent to work with overall, but he’s done a much better job of removing starting pitchers at the right time, using his bullpen intelligently, and not sticking a guy on the mound who has an ERA over 9 as a starting pitcher.

            Under Sveum, Castro has taken significant strides forward as a defender.  Under Quade, he didn’t.

            Sveum actually lets base runners (when he has them) try to steal.  He also has them running aggressively, taking the extra base, and so forth.  The simple, non-aggressive station to station base running of the Quade era is gone.

            Quade wouldn’t recognize a defensive shift if it bit him.  Sveum has probably kept the Cubs in more games than their overall talent level warrants by a very heavy and intelligent use of shifts and positioning.

            Under Sveum, Soriano dropped down a bat size and has started hitting.  His defense has also improved.  Sveum actually plays Bryan LaHair on a regular basis.  He’s also been willing to give other younger guys a shot (Clevenger, Valbuena, Mather, Dolis, Camp).

            He keeps (most) of his bench players fresh by frequently getting them into games and finding them at bats.  The old Quade plan of benching a guy for a six days, giving him a single at bat against a tough reliever, and then benching him again if he didn’t get an extra base hit is completely gone.

            Most of Sveum’s problems have to do with his roster.  For example, I like that he is working his bench guys into the lineups regularly.  It’s not Sveum’s fault that his bench guys just aren’t very good.  Most of the starters should be more rested as they head into the hottest part of the summer, and that should help prevent any severe summer slumps.  We’ve been calling for managers to use their bench like this for years.

            Really, the only major gripe I have with Sveum is his inability to find any playing time for Adrian Cardenas.  That’s the exception, though, rather than the rule as it was with Quade.

            • baldtaxguy

              Great points, totally agree with them all.

              • GoldFinch

                You ass kisser(LOL) I can’t believe you “totally” agree with all of them. I know I don’t.

                • baldtaxguy

                  Well, I do.

                  Do you have some sort of need to say nothing continuously? Your posts have zero to minimal content, yet you post incessantly.  Further, you find opportunities to insult when there is no need. I enjoy this site immensely, but I find you beyond irritating, a distraction, and you take away from the what the site and the good work Luke and Brett have to offer.  Take some advice and shut the hell up.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Sadly you just have to try and ignore BetterNews/Joe/GoldFinch he was once kicked off here for doing all of the above and then insulting people constantly. He looks for arguements, says things that he has sources or truth, ignores facts, and is a general nuisance. It’s hard but we all need to learn to stop feeding him. Its hard since he gets involved in every discussion. Be sure to send Brett an email and voice your frustration.

                    • baldtaxguy

                      Thanks for the advice, will do.

                    • Ted

                      Here I thought you were the same person.

                    • GoldFinch

                      ? There you go again.

                  • GoldFinch

                    Didn’t mean to step on your toes. Sorry. I apologize. I like Luke and the comments and effort he puts forth. However I don’t always agree. I can’t see how anyone could totally agree will all the points he made in that particular comment.

            • MichiganGoat

              Uh a logical well developed comment, supported by facts and reason- hard to find that lately. Keep up the good fight Luke.

              • MoneyBoy

                THIS!!

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Wow, great summary.  I was so busy being disgusted by the Cubs roster that I didn’t pay attention (or remember) the day-to-day stuff!  I don’t think that a good manager would have made a big difference: but I’d forgotten how “old-school” Quade was in so many ways…..

            • Cheryl

              Thanks Luke. Some excellent insights. However I still think he locks in too much on the righty-lefty thing and I don’t think he plays LaHair enough. But I tend to agree with a lot of things mudge says. Numbers can be an excellent tool but you need to look beond them at times.

              • Drew7

                Can we please get an example of effectively “looking beyond the numbers”?

                As noted, Campana “reeking havoc” on the bases doesnt cause an increase in productivity (and thats not taking into account the fact that hes terrible at getting on base anyway), and LaHair looks like hes swinging a garden hose against LHP.

                Im really not trying to be a jerk, but looking beyond the numbers still gets us nowhere.

          • baldtaxguy

            I have to think that the decisions Sveum is making is continually biased towards the goal of showcasing trade candidates, thus the ever changing line-ups, sometimes emphasizing matchups, and sometimes (last night) simply attempting to establish value for trading pieces.  I am not going so far as blindly giving Sveum a pass on the year, but his decisions are more constrained by the options, or lack thereof, available, with the long-term goals established.  This team “is what it is” with interesting stories (for me) to watch as the season unfolds, such as trades, RizzOMG, LaHair progress, Castro maturity/leadership, and Sveum’s growth and creativity, albeit it subject to what he has to work with .

  • Brian Myers

    I’m wondering if actual “game time” has something to do with Rizzo not being called up. A while back I read he wasn’t going to be brought up until he has PLAYED a full season (162 games) in AAA. By my count, he’s played in 160. That means he could show up either to start the series vs the Mets or later in the week against the Astros.

    • GoldFinch

      I have heard that Rizzo was not to be called up till after the break. However, mounting pressure by fans and the media “may” push the date up.

      • MichiganGoat

        And you heard this where???

        • GoldFinch

          Straight from the horses mouth.

          • Jimmy james

            You know a talking horse?

            • Leroy K.

              his name is Ed I believe.

            • HoustonTransplant

              Lawl. Oh, Wilbur…

              • Dan Fredrickson

                I saw a Mister Ed episode once where Ed played for the Dodgers and stole home. I think the Cubs could use him.

                • Jp

                  This chat has been hilarious going from RizzoOMG to mr Ed in the matter of about half a dozen responses. Good work all around guys, I havent laughed that hard in a while.

  • Jp

    I think he’s a double agent giving secret information to the Brewers… It should be obvious to the Brew that we don’t need his help anymore, we suck enough on our own and they can take him back already.

  • willis

    Sveum’s terrible. Nothing else to say.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Does everyone else *facepalm* when Cubs1967 says anything? And then bringing up the Marshall trade, yet again.

    @willis, I wouldn’t call Sveum terrible, he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with. Granted, some of his decisions have been head scratchers, but he is still a first year manager, it will take some time to get his feet under him as well. Not everyone is Connie Mack/Tony LaRussa/Bobby Cox in their first year.

    • Toby

      Don’t forget when someone uses WAR then they are smarter than other Cub fans. I can tell you that the Marshall trade has overtaken the DeRosa trade in terms of some fans griping about how the Cubs gave away someone instead of understanding why said players were traded. I not sure how you feel, but are you tired of all these sabermetric statistics being thrown around like they are the only thing to judge a player? Call me old school, but the only statistics that matter to me are: AVG, HR, RBI, OBP, OPS, ERA, W/L, SO/W ratio.

    • MoneyBoy

      @Willis … lf you’ve got a 1st yr manager, he’s bound to make mistakes.  Why not allow him to make them with a team that’s likely to lose 90 or more games?

      @Toby … I think the new metrics have some value but there are times when I feel myself saying “figures lie and liars figure.”  BTW, I’m 60, so totally old school … but, every and any tool should be used by those charged with and when making evaluations on the draft, pending arb eligible players, F. A.’s, etc.

  • Kevin

    Does bringing up Rizzo actually matter? If they trade Dempster & Garza, who is left to pitch?

  • mudge

    Sveum put together a major league lineup for the first games of the White Sox series. There was palpable excitement on the boards, they won a couple games, and we’re right back to square zero. Sveum doesn’t think like a manager. He thinks like a coach, good at positioning and teaching fundamentals, but so far, with the exception of bringing out the best in Soriano, a tin ear for the psychological aspects of the game. Worst example, taking a utility player named “Super-Joe” and slotting him in the three-hole in the middle of a losing streak. That’s setting a guy up to fail. A canny manager doesn’t do that. You want your high draft pick, enjoy, but I don’t see this guy showing he’s managerial timber. And I wonder if managers are born, not made to some degree. You could have won a few more games this year bunting a guy home from third in close games, letting James Russell earn a few 2 1/3 inning saves. Less talent requires more creativity. You can look past Campana’s OBP to how he tortures pitchers when he is aboard. You can look past LaHair’s average against leftys to how scared the pitchers are of him relative to Jeff Baker. Those things “count” too, in how it all shakes out at the end of the day. This is my concern about numbers. They’re a useful tool, like technique in music. But you have to play music with soul, or it’s meaningless, and you have to manage a team with consciousness of those things that aren’t so easy to measure, or you lose. So you put LaHair in against lefties, honor the dude’s potential with a daily gig, and let him work it out.

  • Carew

    This one is kinda lame but I still dont blame Sveum. I blame the players. These players are being paid big-time and are Major Leaguers. They dont play like major leaguers. Some do, of course, but others (Baker) do not.

  • MI6

    What’s the team batting average when Campana plays? Do other players do better (because he seems to distract the opposing pitcher)?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I would expect Cubs batters to hit better when Campana has reached base than otherwise for one simple and cruel reason: Campana is not a good hitter, and if he’s on base, then there is a good chance that the opposing pitcher is not throwing well.

      It would take years before you would get enough pinch-running cases to test the idea adequately.

  • Stu

    OK, so it appears that no one has yet come up with a logical reason for Sveum and his decision for leaving an right-handed lineup against a right-handed pitcher.

    So can we chalk this up to a rookie manager mistake or part of the “grand plan”.

    But wait, we we told during the interview process with THEO that Sveum’s interview blew everyone away compared to his competition. It was a grueling process in which he was given multiple scenarios that required intense, deep understanding of the subtleness of baseball. Yet, he can’t explain why he left a right-handed lineup in which has no advantage against a substitute right-handed pitcher.

    I think they know exactly what they are doing. Milk the cash, ignore the day-to-day winning, stock the farm system for 2015 and beyond.

    I’ll be enjoying my CUB games free of charge thank you very much. I can even have a beer for about $1.

  • mudge

    Campana’s not your starting outfielder on a contender. But he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch run the bases, and that’s worth something in a year like this. Are there successful managers who platoon this many players? Usually it seems like it’s two or three positions on a team, not a completely different look.

  • Tommy

    I haven’t seen a ton of success for the Cubs this year using the right/lefty lineups, so honestly, whats the big deal? I like Sveum for a couple of reasons:
    1. I’ve seen effort, even in losing.
    2. I haven’t seen selfish attitudes, blowups, and loss of control in the clubhouse. (do you think we would have seen any of that with last year’s team?)
    3. Haven’t they set some kind of a record to date for 1 run losses? At least we’ve been competitive for a lot of the games we’ve lost.

    I’m not saying I like losing, nobody does. But I think our future looks bright. At least we can count on seeing players grow through our farm system, which is something we haven’t had in quite a while.

    Look for the positives and it makes things a lot more enjoyable.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Slow day of news

    • Carew

      seriously. There needs to be a no-hitter, hit for cycle, trades or somethin

      • Spencer

        i think i’d put decent money on the cubs being involved in a no hitter this season.

        • Leroy K.

          and not in a good way lol

        • Carew

          sadly, i agree. It’d probably be against a very average, maybe below, pitcher too

          • ProfessorCub

            Starter goes down, long reliever subbed in to start at last minute throws a no-hitter against Cubs. Seems entirely plausible – heck, it’s almost happend a couple of times already.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Random: But whatever happened to Reggie Golden? Remember there was considerable hype about this guy for being a 2nd round pick. He has completely fallen out of most peoples top 10 lists. Is it to early to call him a Bust?

    • Drew7

      He tore is ACL 6-8 weeks ago. Way too early to call him a bust.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Exactly.  He really hasn’t been on the field enough to know what he can do.  He’ll probably still be lurking in the low 20s on most Top Prospects lists this winter unless he is forced further down by the Cubs sheer depth.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Any here Ken Rosenthal talk about how Seatle is looking at the possibility of trading Felix Hernandez? Anyone think the cubs could be interest? I know were in the business of selling off our own guys like Dempster and Garza for young guys because they are aging and won’t be the right age for when we will be competitive but Felix is only 26. He would be around 28 in his prime when we could be competing. They need hitting prospects and that is our one surplus. How about a package of Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters and maybe another 2 high upside guys. I know that is probably the most one sided traded ever but come on I’m a Cubs fan lol. Or maybe also dealing Brett Jackson? I would strongly consider dealing jackson and Lake and Vitters still. Felix Hernandez’s contract comes up after the 2014 season which it would be ideal to just sign him then to as a free agent but chances are he will be traded to a contender by then and resign with that team, or if he reaches the market then there is something called the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Phillies who are other big market teams who have deep pockets to compete to sign him for the Cubs. If the Cubs are in battle with the Yankees for a free agent who is a big time major league free agent (not Soler), I would pick the Yankees to win every time. The Yankees over pay for everyone and they would get him over us. This so hypothetical but still fun idea of him possibly coming to the Cubs

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I can’t see the Cubs landing Felix without trading Starlin, and that isn’t going to happen.

  • cubchymyst

    I went on ahead and looked up the Career OBP splits for Baker, LaHair, Johnson, DeJesus, Mather and Campana against RHP and LHP. Here are the numbers from http://www.baseball-reference.com

    RHP LHP
    Baker 0.291 0.355
    LaHair 0.376 0.260

    Johnson 0.325 0.368
    DeJesus 0.368 0.327

    Mather 0.272 0.314
    Campana 0.311 0.293

    It seems like Sveum is just playing the odds for OBP when he puts in his line up against LHP. I don’t see what is wrong with that, and I like shifts he uses on defense. I have no problems with Sveum so far.

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