Dale Sveum’s Report Card and Other Bullets

Suddenly, the Cubs have to win today to avoid losing EVERY SINGLE road game to the NL West this year, and have to win all four remaining games to avoid 100 losses on the year. Neither seems particularly likely.

  • I’m not sure Dale Sveum meant it to sound like this, but he essentially says Justin Germano is a sacrificial lamb at this point, and doesn’t have the stuff to actually compete as a starter in the bigs right now. “You’re basically just overmatched,” Sveum said of Germano’s start last night, per the Tribune. “You can’t sugarcoat it or anything like that. He has done the best he can, but it’s tough to go out there against lineups, especially good lineups, five, six left-handed hitters and try and get away with 86 mph [fastballs]. I feel bad for him because he has done everything we’ve asked and gone out there every time. So I appreciate that.” Ouch. I mean, does that sound like a manager talking about a guy who has any hope of cracking the roster next year? Doesn’t sound like it to me. The start was Germano’s last of the season for the Cubs, and it’s almost impossible to imagine the Cubs keeping him on the 40-man roster throughout the Winter. He could be back in Spring Training on a minor league deal, but it’s hard to justify more than that.
  • Sveum had a closed door meeting with a number of veterans on the team yesterday, to talk about offseason preparation (keep in shape), Spring Training (what to expect and be ready for), and how he did as a manager (wanted feedback). While he might not know for certain at this point, Sveum is clearly expecting to be back next year. There’s no real reason for him not to return at this point. Speaking of which …
  • Alfonso Soriano on Dale Sveum’s season with the Cubs: “Sometimes when you have a losing season like this, they blame somebody, but I think he’s the wrong guy to blame. He did the best he can. He talked to the young guys, he talked to the veteran guys. We don’t have anything negative to say. He’s a great manager so far in his first year. He’s smart enough and he knows what he has to do. It’s not his fault. [Our record] is because we have a young team and not a very good team, but it’s not his fault.” It’s actually perfect that Soriano is the one saying this, because he’s been neither young nor bad this year.
  • I’m digging these numbers on Darwin Barney’s now-ended streak, from Carrie Muskat: “Barney’s 141-game errorless streak, which lasted from April 18-Sept. 27, featured more total chances per nine innings (5.30) than any other second baseman in baseball. During the 141 games, Barney had far more putouts (293) than any other second baseman in baseball in that span (Gordon Beckham was next closest at 259) and Barney’s 676 total chances trailed only Arizona’s Aaron Hill (687).”
  • More on the end of Barney’s streak, if you can stomach it.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

71 responses to “Dale Sveum’s Report Card and Other Bullets”

  1. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    Personal opinion but the chances of Sveum getting sacked are only marginally greater than the Cubs making the playoffs.

    He’s done a tremendous job with a whole lot of nothing. Get the man a big league group of starting pitchers and then we can start judging.

    1. Cubs1967

      you might be the only guy who has ever said a mgr did “a tremendous job” while losing 100 games……

      he had nothing.
      he did nothing.
      he’s here for 3 yrs while they suck………….then adios.

      learn to read between the lines.

      1. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

        I think you have to judge a manager on criteria that fits the situation. Not sure even the greatest manager in the world could have produced a winning record with this group.

        If you look at talented players, rizzo, Samardjia, soriano, Castro, and Barney there has been improvement and some of that can be attributed to coaching and management. Also, loosing 100 games is not a ton of fun. Keeping the clubhouse in order and coming to play everyday without a Zambranoesque episode is a victory in my book.

      2. Steve

        So, what you are saying is that Theo told Svuem, ” Listen, we are going to suck for three years, so I’m going to hire you so no major name manager comes in and get his rep tarnished during a rebuild “

        1. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

          No. What I am saying is that the criteria Theo is using to judge Sveum is not primarily wins/losses at this point. He has other criteria knowing that the talent is just not there yet. Think he is on record saying exactly that.

          As for tarnishing a managers reputation: I am not sure theo gave that a moments thought. He picked the best manager for the job and most managers would give up a hand for the chance to manage the cubs to a World Series no matter what the product looks like on the field at the time of signing.

      3. RoughRiider

        I find it odd that you would call yourself Cubs1967 and then say “you might be the only guy who has ever said a mgr did “a tremendous job” while losing 100 games……
        he had nothing.he did nothing.he’s here for 3 yrs while they suck………….then adios.
        learn to read between the lines.”

        The 1966 Cubs lost 103 games. Leo Durocher was the manager. ( Hall of fame manager) Some people did praise him with the job he did considering the lineup they had. The Cubs had 5 future hall of fame players on that team. They had a lineup of players like Hundley, Banks, Beckert, Santo, Kessinger and Williams. They had Ellsworth, Jenkins, Larry Jackson, Hands and Robin Roberts. yet they lost 103 games. The 2012 Cubs have no where near that kind of talent. Dale Sveum may be gone in 3 years but it won’t be because of what he did this year.

        And before some one jumps on it. I am not saying Sveum is as good as Durocher was.

      4. Frank

        If the team had any talent at all, wins and losses might be a viable criterion to use. It’s not.

      5. @cubsfantroy

        I’m sure the Cubs would have won at least 30 more games and not even have come close to 100 losses if they hadn’t traded Sean Marshall.

        Yes that was sarcasm.

        1. Jeff

          In spite of your sarcasm, please tell me what the win in that trade was??? Surely we could have gotten more for Marshall at the trade dead line??? Wood is not good, Sappelt might be a decent fourth outfielder and the 2b kid isn’t even in our top 20 prospect list.

          Theo surely is a wonder kid…he makes me wonder why they do what they do.

          1. hansman1982

            The win was converting 1 more year of a LH reliever into 5 years of a SP, 6 years of a 4th outfielder and a prospect.

            Trading Marshall when they did is the ultimate case of trading at peak value. Unfortunately you probably aren’t going to get much from a setup man.

  2. Mysterious4th

    I think dale has done an exceptional job! Only fools (white sox fans) would even try to suggest that he did anything but a good job with what he was given to work with! I can’t wait to see what he does when he has a team that will be playoff bound!

  3. RY34

    i applaud him for being brutally honest regarding Germano, he probably needs to say the same thing about berken and volstad. If two of these three are in our rotation next year, 100 losses will be the same result. an o-fer on the west coast, only the cubs can set horrible records like that!

  4. Stinky Pete

    Soooooooo if Germano is done for the year, and won’t be back, we could drop him off the 40 and put Greenberg on?

  5. jim

    Sveum gets an A, but management a D- for so many reasons. Btw, vitters stance bothers me. Anyone up to see texas in april? Bleachers only cuz we can hope for sun then.

  6. Tony

    Mgmt gets a D-? Have you paid any attention to what the plan is? They get an A+ for the season. They moved short-term assets for long-term ones, added lots of talent from the draft and the international market and were smart enough to shut Smardjzidjka down to preserve his arm for the future.

    1. Kyle

      Even if we pretend that’s an A+ worthy plan, they certainly haven’t gotten an A+ in execution.

      They had four positions where they could either use flippable players or reclamation projects, and they only got something useful out of two of them (The Maholm trade and DeJesus, whiffed on 1b and 3b). They held on to Garza way too long, gambling that some team would spasm out at the trading deadline rather than dealing him last offseason when it was a perfect sell-high opportunity, and the gamble crapped out. They’ve failed to find or develop a single useful relief pitcher.

      They’ve had a lot of good moves, too, of course. But even if we’re grading on a curve because they wanted the team to be bad, they still can’t get an A+. I’d probably say B or B+, but only because I really hate the way they handled the Garza situation.

      1. Jason

        But they have Garza under control next year too…I think they played it perfect with not letting him go for less than he’s worth. If things don’t go well next year, they’ll be able to shop him at the trade deadline again and end up with a good deal.

        1. Kyle

          He’s depreciated significantly. Last year, he was coming off his best season, was perfectly healthy and had 64 starts of cheap control to offer his new team. This spring, he’s got an elbow injury, was having a down-ish year before the injury, and has 32 starts of control to offer his new team.

          There’s simply no way they didn’t get a fair offer for Garza last spring, but they wanted more. And now they will get much, much less.

          1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            What reasonable 3b were out there that we didn’t have to overpay for? Didn’t we get Valbuena for basically nothing? The Rockies trade was horrible. They aren’t going to look for long term 3b when it means overpaying. They have quite a few top end 3b prospects. Now, if a 3b makes sense then you go after it. Your 1b claims are just nuts. I won’t even throw anything out ther on that one.

        2. Chris

          I have to agree with Kyle. They botched the Garza stuff, big time. They slow-played the market and got caught holding the bag. Unless he has an unbelievable spring, his trade value is less than it was in early July.

          1. JR

            Garza’a trade value is probably 25% of what it was last offseason. Looking back they absolutely over played their hand. Lets move on..

      2. mikaylaaa

        I’m sorry.. whiffed on 1b? How do you figure that? Lahair had a better first part of the season than anyone thought he would. And I’m pretty sure the guy we have playing first right now is kinda sorta maybe good. Theo and Jed traded for him.

        1. Kyle

          LaHair got half a season and has no trade value whatsoever That’s a wasted resource.

          1. Chris

            LaHair was a resource that they created for themselves. He played over his head for 2 months, and settled into what he really is afterwards. There were too many questions on what type of player he would be for any team to have serious interest in him. I can’t fault the Cubs for not moving him before he showed his true talent level. It was too small a sample size for any team to get a read on him, let alone offer a nice prospect for him.

          2. hansman1982

            To think that LaHair ever had much value to another team is beyond strange.

            Assume the Cubs were a playoff contender onMay 1 (approximate peak of his value) who in the Cubs system would you have given up for him? Let’s go crazy and say we had a Tony Campana/Koyie Hill hybrid manning 1st?

            If you say anything over a C- prospect you are either much dumber than I assume, being intellectually dishonest or grossly overvalued LaHair. Rival GM’s just would not be willing to part with much based on 1 hot month and a career (age 28) season in the PCL.

            1. Kyle

              “To think that LaHair ever had much value to another team is beyond strange.”

              Exactly. So why give him a job?

              1. hansman1982

                Cause we had Rizzo waiting and he was free to us. Again, flip the cards and suddenly the world would be upset that Theo gave anything up for him.

                Also, possibly a gamble that he would stay hot enough until the deadline where he could be included to sweeten the pot on a deal.

                1. Kyle

                  We did not have Rizzo when LaHair was given the job.

                  I agree LaHair was always going to be worthless. That is the point.

            2. EQ76

              all this is true and I completely agree.. but somewhere deep down inside, don’t we all expect him to be dumped and then picked up by the Cards next year and watch him hit 35 bombs and bat .320…freakin’ voodoo magic??

              1. hansman1982

                pfft…he will get picked up by the Cards next year and by June 1 Cards fans will be demanding that he wear #5 to remove the stench from that number.

  7. TSB

    Sveum did this season what most rookie managers do. Play the veterans, don’t take chances, and stick to a game plan no matter what. Too early to see if he learned from this season, but his approuch is very similar to Quade’s.

    1. Tommy

      Sveum did this season what most rookie managers do. Play the veterans, don’t take chances, and stick to a game plan no matter what. Too early to see if he learned from this season, but his approuch is very similar to Quade’s.

      Sveum played more rookies than any manager in baseball this year, so I am going to have to disagree with your assessment a bit. I don’t see his approach being anything like Quade’s as Sveum played around with the rotation and the lineup constantly, did things like defensive shifts (something Quade never did), and asked veterans to change things in their daily habits (like working with Sori on his defense and getting him to swap out his bat size).

      Comparing Sveum to Quade was just way off base. I think he did an excellent job of teaching the young kids, and getting as many players a good look in the major leagues as possible. This season was the first step to determining the talent that already existed, and next season I expect we’ll see a lot of players saying goodbye to the Chicago Cubs, both in the majors and the minors.

    2. baldtaxguy

      If you could not see the difference between Sveum and Quade, than you were not paying attention. Not even close.

  8. Crazyhorse

    To lose 100 games is a distinct sccomplishment. stand up and take a bow Little Theo.

  9. ottoCub

    A quote from Carrie Muskat’s article about Sveum’s meeting with the veterans:

    “Players in his office included David DeJesus, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Darwin Barney, Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, Joe Mather, Carlos Marmol and Matt Garza.”

    It says a lot about the depth and experience of a team when half the guys in a “Veterans Meeting” have less than 3 years major league experience.

    It’s hard to watch this last week of the season. Partly because it’s always sad to see baseball seasons end, but mostly because the Cubs look so woeful. We can only go up from here, right??

  10. Steve

    The DBacks announcers were running their mouths about how many put outs could Barney have on a crappy team..when all the batted balls were going over the fence.

  11. RoughRiider

    Brett,
    Are we ever going to be able to go back and correct our comments again? Like removing an extra m.

    1. Dan

      Yeah, I would love to see that…

  12. Dustin S

    I’d like to see Theo give a statement soon confirming Sveum will be back next year, just to silence any debate on his status. It’s Chicago so there will be a lot of press talk on it after this kind of season. But the FO has made plenty of statements that this year Sveum was going to be evaluated more on player development than wins/losses. Soriano, Samardzija, Rizzo, Barney, etc. are all good cases to be made that he’s succeeded on that front. So he’s definitely not going anywhere yet. They all know he was sent into a gunfight with no bullets this season.

    His lineup choices, bullpen management, I wouldn’t rate super-high. But some of that has to come out of natural frustration from losing day after day and wanting to try anything to turn it around. The big question is when do they start evaluating him more on wins/losses. That will depend on when some of the prospects made it to Chicago, and how active they really are in free agency. Even though he said they’ll be active in FA, I feel like that’s more to appease angry fans than to have any serious plans to spend huge money this off-season to be competitive next year. It makes no sense to fill-in gaps with FA until after next season at the earliest.

    1. Professional_High_A

      You said Sveum was sent into a gunfight with no bullets but lets be clear; he was sent into a gun fight with no bullets, no knife, no stick, blindfolded, handcuffed, and already shot.

      1. Wilbur

        It was a target rich environment and he was the target …

  13. ssckelley

    Germano, Rusin, Raley, Volstad, Berken….damn I miss Randy Wells. I have watched a lot of bad Cubs baseball over my lifetime but I do not think I have ever seen a starting rotation as bad as this one. Sveum deserves to manage a team with a decent rotation and more talent on the field. My only complaint about Sveum to this point is the amount of times he kept running Mather out there to bat leadoff.

  14. Rcleven

    Germano, Rusin, Raley, Volstad, Berken….damn I miss Randy Wells

    Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

  15. Josh

    I kow this is off topic but what hapend to gerardo conception?

    1. Kyle

      He turned out to be pretty bad at pitching. Also he got mono, but the part about being bad at pitching is probably more important.

      Hopefully he was just a way to grease the wheels for Soler or something.

    2. DarthHater

      Let’s just say that his pitching has been less than immaculate.

  16. jim

    Tony, i add ownership grade d- also. Ruined rf. No $ for renovation now thanx to joe r.
    Ep Gave away colvin n dj lemahieu por nada ;overplayed his hand on garza. Better have a good draft next season.

  17. nkniacc13

    Im really going to be interested in seeing if the Cubs are willing to sign a fa that would cost them a draft choice. They keep the 2nd pick but would lose the pick in the 2nd round correct?

    1. Kyle

      Correct. It should be around 40th overall.

      It depends on their plan for next year. If they have any intention of trying to win baseball games in 2013, then passing on a useful MLB player to avoid losing the No. 40 overall pick is pretty much insanity.

      But if we’re in “don’t use any resources whatsoever on the current team unless it also benefits us long-term” mode again, then might as well avoid them.

  18. Kyle

    That’s also an interesting point for the “wait until we’re ready to compete to sign FAs” idea. What if the Cubs’ young players and Epstein-led coaching leads to a 78-84 record next year, so we’re “ready” to compete, but we’re picking No. 11 overall. That’s no longer a protected pick, so the best free agents will cost us a first-rounder instead of a second-rounder.

  19. Kevin

    2nd pick is not in the bag yet.

    1. baldtaxguy

      It was over after the CO sweep

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Better check the standings. They don’t play Houston either.

        1. baldtaxguy

          I see. It would require two sweeps, which could happen, but odds are not likely. The earlier sweep by CO of the Cubs put that in motion.

  20. baldtaxguy

    Conversation about Sveum being fired is just nonsense.

    1. Frank

      Absolutely agree.

  21. Kevin

    Colorado 62 97
    Chicago Cubs 60 99

    The Cubs are 2 games behind with 3 games remaining.

  22. Picklenose

    I think it is hard to evaluate Sveum in isolation given this team, but we can look at him and the coaches together by looking at the players that played both this year and last year. That would be Soriano, Castro, and Barney. On defense, all three of them increased their fielding percentage and runs saved over average. Clearly the emphasis on defense helped. On offense it is more of a wash. The one thing I find significant is that both Soriano and Barney really increased their walks and slugging while Castro stayed about the same. That suggests to me that Sveum’s approach and his coaching staff are somewhat successful, at least when compared to Quade.
    Another thing that tends to support Sveum is that prior to the trade deadline when he still had Dempster, Garza, and Maholm pitching, the Cubs were definitely an above average team. I don’t know if they could have kept it up but for that short period, 3-4 weeks, they actually looked pretty good.

  23. mudge

    Quade got a Q. Sveum gets an S. The Front Office gets an FO.

  24. Josh

    I hope the Cubs are able to bring in a guy like Brandon McCarthy is offseason. That would be huge for us. Then the top 3 guys in the rotation would at least be respectable. Right now all 5 of our guys are fairly incompetent. I doubt we go after a blockbuster deal like the one Greinke would get, but McCarthy is a very good pitcher that should come at a fair price.

  25. Cubbie Blues

    Was surprised nobody pointed to Germano’s comments about Upton yelling at him from the dugout.

    I heard someone yelling at me,” he said. “It wasn’t on purpose that I hit Montero. I even made eye contact with Montero. He knew, but I feel like everyone in the stadium thought it was. It was just bad timing after a home run. … I think he was yelling ‘Hit me, hit me’ after I did. That’s not really my game. I give up home runs all the time. If I hit people after (homers) I’d be hitting quite a bit of people.

    If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.

  26. Larry Bittner

    just read the quote above. It made my day. Too funny