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ian stewart cubsAnyone else digging out from under a bunch of thick, wet, sticky snow?

  • Ian Stewart hit balls, took fielding practice, and jogged yesterday, so that’s good. But Dale Sveum isn’t pulling any punches in describing the possibility that Stewart doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training now that he’s missed so much time with a quad injury. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a big question,” Sveum told the media when asked about Stewart coming back with enough time to make the roster. “There just aren’t that many at-bats. You have to be productive in those at-bats. [Luis] Valbuena is playing and doing a real good job.” Dropping the Valbuena bomb is really what tells you Sveum is serious. Thing is, the decision will not ultimately be Sveum’s. He’ll have input, sure. But if the front office believes Stewart has the potential for value at $2 million this year, they’re going to keep him regardless of his injury status.
  • Sveum went on to add: “Hopefully it all comes together because by the time he gets on the field, you’re looking at 20 to 30 maybe regular at-bats [this Spring]. We’ll probably send him down to hit in a Minor League game and have him lead off every game.”
  • Sveum says the order of the rotation after Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson may change based on match-ups. Really, there is not “number three” starter until Matt Garza and Scott Baker are back, so the order between Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva, and Travis Wood doesn’t really matter.
  • Wendy Thurm writes up an outside perspective on the Wrigley Field renovation situation at FanGraphs, and it’s a great read for anyone looking for a succinct discussion of most of the salient issues, or looking to see how an outside smart person evaluates the situation. Having someone like Wendy calling attention to the unique issues the Cubs have in trying to get things done is both helpful and responsible. Kudos to Wendy.
  • Nobody does obscure MLB roster rules quite like Arizona Phil over at the Cub Reporter. Here he goes into depth (depppppppppth) about how much minor league players make, depending on a huge number of factors. Why is Lendy Castillo set to make $288,000 this year and Logan Watkins is set to make just $39,950, even though the latter is on the 40-man roster while the former is not? Well, Phil’s got your answer there (it’s long, but helpful for understanding).
  • Patrick Mooney with a profile on outfield prospect Matt Szczur, who has felt like something of an afterthought this Spring. If he can put together a quality 2013 season, he’ll be on the radar for an outfield job – likely 4th or 5th – in 2014. Or he could be traded, I suppose.
  • Lots of love for Alfonso Soriano, who says he feels incredibly healthy right now. That’s good.
  • The Cubs are hiring, if you’re looking.
  • Jim

    I guess the Cubs are looking for some desperate employees … $8.65 per hour and a college degree is needed? So that college degree earns you .40 above the minimum wage of $8.25? Hahahahaha Go Cubs!

    • hansman1982

      They could list it as an unpaid internship to hand wash the troughs and still have more qualified applicants then they know what to do with.

      • BubblesHargrave

        You’re right, but I do think Sveum jumps to conclusions to quickly in his media relations. He needs to be more guarded with his speech. Maybe that will come with maturity as a manager.

      • mak

        Sure they could, but should they? What kind of quality of life can you have for $350 a week? Do the Cubs really want to treat their employees that way? Taking advantage of this economy in that manner is pretty shameful if you ask me.

        • hansman1982

          Taking advantage of the laws of supply and demand is shameful?

          I could see the shame if they posted exactly what I described above, but to pay a secretary/office gopher next to nothing is not shameful.

          Put it this way, you think Theo (being in charge of the resources he is) would only be making $3M a year outside of baseball? His use of the company jet would be more than that.

          • Pat

            Supply and demand or not, shitty pay equals massive turnover. That results in lost institutional knowledge, beyond crazy training costs, and customer dissatisfaction. If a job requires a college degree then it should pay above minimum.

          • mak

            I’m not saying that there isn’t inherent value in working for the Cubs; I’d expect to get paid below market for my abilities. But when it comes to paying employees minimum wage, just because they can? That’s not how we should be running our businesses.

    • frank

      To be fair, it lists a college degree as “desired”–not required.

  • bubbleshargrave

    dale svuem is a loose cannon. he talks too freely i’m noticing. one minute hes telling peop their his starting 3b after nothing was done to earn the spot. the next minute hes starting the yr in iowa since he didnt have time to prove himself. sveum is way to quick to say one thing or the other. not good. and that’s not the only example of his doing this.

    • cubzfan

      He’s not saying Stewart would go to AAA. He’s saying that during Spring Training, Ian would play in a minor league game where it’s allowed to have him lead off every inning, thereby getting more ABs than if he just played in the major league games. Teams do it all the time.

      • gocatsgo2003

        But that would require reading the actual post, and that’s not as fun as gut reactionary posting.

        • TWC

          What’s funnier is how yesterday’s complaints were all about how Sveum and the FO were too obfuscatory when it comes to players and injuries.

          • hansman1982

            Remember that one time, when, on a Monday, Javier Baez was being penciled in to see MLB playing time by the end of 2013 but by Tuesday he was washed up???

            That was awesome.

        • BubblesHargrave

          It’s not gut posting. I’m just talking about my impression of his comments over this spring and last season. It’s an impression based on quite a bit of his interviews. For instance, I thought the same thing when he named Scott Feldman one of his starters before spring training had started. Why? It looks like it’s going to work out that way with the injury to Garza. But what if things hadn’t worked that way? How would Feldman have taken that. He jumps to conclusions to quickly.

          • TWC

            Hoyer on Feldman upon his signing, especially the first bullet (including Ace’s parsing):

            http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/11/28/jed-hoyer-and-scott-feldman-speak-why-he-chose-the-cubs-and-vice-versa-plus-future-plans/

            Then, from mid-Fberuary, Sveum on Feldman in the rotation. Note the phrase “nothing is guaranteed”:

            http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/02/14/dale-sveum-says-scott-feldman-is-his-fourth-starter-but-nothing-is-guaranteed/

            A few days later, you can see Hoyer’s explanation (and complete agreement with) Sveum’s comments on Feldman:

            http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/02/16/jed-hoyer-speaks-interest-in-michael-bourn-500-aaa-at-bats-for-every-player-trading-carlos-marmol-more/

            Sveum is either a “loose cannon” or he’s completely consistent with the Cubs’ FO. Whichever fits your narrative.

            HTH.

            • BubblesHargrave

              Alright Dale Sveum Apologists! Of course Jed had to back his manager up after he’d already spilled the beans! Maybe the whole front office needs to try a little conservation in their speech then! But it’s mostly Sveum who needs to get control of this. As I said above, maybe this will come with more maturity as a manager. I don’t come on here and comment to much because when you’re the only descending voice on a subject people don’t like that.

              • hansman1982

                So Hoyer saying something, then Sveum saying something similar then Hoyer saying that exact same thing is the FO backing up their manager “after the fact”?

                I think calling TWC an apologist kinda outs you…

                • BubblesHargrave

                  I just gave an overall impression of Sveums interviews, not an overall impression of his managerial skills. He needs to be more guarded with his speech regarding the outcome of where certain players will be at the start of the season or at other times. If I can’t even say that without such a strong reaction, what impression am I supposed to come away with about feelings on here regarding critical commenting?

                  • BubblesHargrave

                    Here’s another example of what I’m talking about. Just now Brett posted a new thread on Drew Carpenter:Essentially, Sveum was asked, if Garza and Baker are out, and if Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva are his fourth and fifth starters, who would his sixth starter be. Instead of going with guys like Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, or Alberto Cabrera, Sveum offered non-roster invitee, Drew Carpenter.

                    “Carpenter would be first in line, really,” Sveum said of the rotational pecking order after the obvious seven starters, per the Tribune.

                    It’s interesting not only that Carpenter is next in line, but also that he’s being considered as a starter at all. Here were my initial thoughts back when he signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal in December.”

                    I like Brett’s last line about how interesting that is. Is this just an impulsive reactionary comment based on a good impression Sveum has had of Carpenter, or something the FO wanted him to say in this position?

                  • hansman1982

                    All that has happened is that the community has proven your impression wrong through direct quotes from the men you are talking about.

                    Even Ian Stewart’s starting job was always a “as of right now he is the starting man, but let’s see what spring training has to offer”.

                    This is not a strong reaction, just merely pointing out where your beliefs do not hold water in reality. If you can’t handle that, I’m not sure what to tell you.

                    • TWC

                      The thing about Stewart, is that as much as it pains me, he was always the odd-on favorite to be the starting 3B this season. But does his inability to be healthy for the last month (… or few years …) change that? Hell yes, it does. And of course it should.

                      It was a similar situation w/ LaHair last year. Very early on (before ST, right?) Sveum said that LaHair was the starting 1B going in to the season (much to some chagrin). If LaHair had gotten injured should the team have stuck with him? No. Instead they waited to remove him until his suck quotient dropped below Rizzo’s rising awesomeness quotient.

                  • waittilthisyear

                    i agree with most of what you are saying. sveum seems to be a bit more candid than most managers. whether or not that is a bad thing is ytbd

              • Drew7

                ” I don’t come on here and comment to much because when you’re the only descending voice on a subject people don’t like that.”

                Or maybe, just maybe, they simply *disagree* with you. Why comment on a subject only to become defensive when someone has a different opinion?

                • BubblesHargrave

                  I don’t mind being disagreed with. But my comment was referred to as a “gut reactionary” comment. SO I was just trying to establish the reasons why that wasn’t true.

  • CM

    Seems like the qualifications required don’t exactly match up to the whopping starting wage.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Such is the business – folks want to work in baseball.

      • ETS

        While not a perfect analogy, zoos are similar. I took a college class with a prof that was fairly connected in the zoo world, and it appeared to me that you do see several highly qualified people working medial, low paying jobs hoping to work up to being a zookeeper. Even the zookeepers didn’t make great money (at least that was the impression I got).

  • Idaho Razorback

    No snow in North Idaho. Highs have been in the mid 40’s with rain. Spring is here, hooray!

  • EQ76

    (Matt Szczur) “If he can put together a quality 2013 season, he’ll be on the radar for an outfield job – likely 4th or 5th – in 2014. Or he could be traded, I suppose.”

    -I’m gonna assume with many of our OF prospects that they’ll end up traded sooner or later. We can’t exactly have 9 outfielders on the roster in 2016.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Our list of elite OF prospects goes: Soler, Almora, Jackson, and…?

      I guess you could throw Junior Lake’s name on that list, but it seems like he’s being looked at as an uber-versatile bench player that can step into spot starts all over the place (3B, 2B, LF, RF, probably even SS or CF at the MLB level in a pinch) rather than as a full-time OF.

      • EQ76

        I’m assuming that in the next couple of years we could have more names in the hat through drafts, trades, international signees & free agency to go with our depth in OF prospects. This time last year we didn’t have Almora and Soler in our system..We’re one FA signing or trade away from a logjam in the OF for the future..

        My original thought is that when you look at the Cubs’ prospects, I think many of the OF guys will be traded in the future.

  • http://meaninginhistory.blogspot.com/ mark

    From Mooney’s article–I like when writers actually gather information and pass it along:

    Szczur [is] 1-for-15 with seven strikeouts so far in the Cactus League, but the exposure and experience has been invaluable.

    “He’s a young man that hasn’t played tons of baseball in his life,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s another kid where you can’t teach that hand strength. The ball comes off his bat like a major-league player. But there’s just adjustments that have to be made to understand what’s all valued in his swing.

    “His upper body wants to lift out of his swing, and that’s why he chops balls to shortstop and third base. He’s got power. He can hit a ball actually a long way. That guy’s a really, really strong kid with major-league hands when he’s got a bat.”

    So Sveum seems to be saying that it’s not that his swing is “slappy” but that he’s not integrating his upper and lower body in his swing–the upper body is tending detaching itself from the rest of the swing.

    When you look at his height/weight, his speed, his football background and the way people raved about his athleticism, it only made sense that he must be “a really, really strong kid.” The only question is developing an MLB swing and making it part of his “muscle memory,” as Brett Jackson has said about his own swing adjustments.

    Trouble with moving spare outfielders, or so it seems to me, is that there are probably a lot of them in every system who are somewhat interchangeable.

  • CubFan Paul

    Baby/Family update?

    Just wondering/just remembered while thinking about bugging you/posting on something stupid.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Paul. Yeah, I’ll have to include one of those at the top of the Bullets in the coming days. Short version: everything’s great.

  • Dustin S

    That’s kind of what I’ve been saying Sveum’s position on Stewart is. My gut feeling is that in the end they’ll figure the $2m is small enough to keep him anyway. That might be Theo and Jed pushing more for a future trade chip than Sveum wanting to keep him. Offensively this team needs all the help it could get. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him start on the DL though and get a couple weeks extra time in.

    On Matt Szczur, I’m still not totally sold on him. He could be another Ty Griffin. I would think he’ll head back to AA. We’ll see how he adjusts this year.

  • DB Kyle

    I’m quite conflicted. It seems like we might be making the right decision at 3b for a terrible reason.

  • Carne Harris

    I think Sveum will have some input into whether they keep Stewart. I’m reading that Francona book right now and in it Theo came to Francona and basically had him sign off on the Arroyo-Willy Mo Pena deal before pulling the trigger. I know the dynamic’s a little different here, but I think the FO will include Sveum the same way. Great book for anyone interested in how our baseball ops people likely interact with Sveum. At one point Francona says something like, “Just give me the information, don’t tell me how to manage!” Fine line there, I’d guess.

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