Kevin Gregg is Officially the Closer … in 2013 and Other Bullets

kevin gregg cubsThe Little Boy’s got a cold, which, for a two month old, pretty much means you’ve just got to watch him be uncomfortable. At least we’re second time parents. If this had been The Little Girl, we would have been to the doctor three times by now.

  • Yesterday I wrote in this space that, regardless of what Dale Sveum says, Kevin Gregg is clearly the closer at this point. And, what do you know, a few hours later, Sveum made it official, naming Gregg as his closer. “The problems we had, it was a great, great pickup and he’s ran with it, and done a heck of a job,” Sveum said, per Carrie Muskat. “[Gregg] is a veteran guy who doesn’t panic. He’s been in those situations before. Those last three outs aren’t made for everybody. He throws strikes and has some life on his fastball. He can work both sides of the plate, that’s the good thing about it.” And then Sveum said something that will make you smile, after confirming that Gregg was the closer. “He’s obviously earned it and there’s a bigger sample out there now to know that.” Sample size statements! I love it. Even if I’m not so sure that there’s a large enough sample yet to say that Gregg has stepped up his game this year (although the visuals certainly match the results), I’m just glad to see Sveum speaking that way. He may use some folksy language at times, but this is a guy who understands modern baseball analysis.
  • The back-end of the bullpen, in the run-up to Kevin Gregg, might be getting better on Friday: Kyuji Fujikawa successfully completed his second rehab outing yesterday, and is scheduled to rejoin the club tomorrow. Rafael Dolis figures to be the guy optioned back to Iowa to make room.
  • The Cubs’ .978 fielding percentage is tied for the worst in baseball. Given the dominance of the starting pitching, however, a great deal of which comes with low BABIPs, it’s fair to wonder: are the Cubs making a lot of errors, but also a lot of nice plays? Are they really the worst defensive team in baseball?
  • Each of Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo got some extra practice yesterday – Barney at the dish and Castillo behind it.
  • Don’t forget: the next fantasy contest is coming up later today. It’s a chance for you to win big money AND win extra money by beating me, personally. Space is limited, to keep your eyes open for the sign-up.
  • TCR has the Cubs’ first Venezuelan Summer League roster (it is a level akin to the Dominican Summer League – it’s below rookie ball). The VSL team takes the place of the second DSL team the Cubs had been using.
  • The Iowa Cubs have a Harlem Shake video, because it’s better late than never.
  • When national folks swoop in to comment on the Wrigley renovation stuff, they invariably say things that are (1) inaccurate, (2) incomplete, and (3) hopelessly tardy. Just stop. I’ve been swimming in this stuff for months (years, really), and I only barely feel qualified to editorialize about the myriad complexities of the story.
  • An extremely sad story, as a woman who choked on a hot dog at Wrigley Field on Sunday passed away.

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

52 responses to “Kevin Gregg is Officially the Closer … in 2013 and Other Bullets”

  1. BubblesHargrave

    Don’t worry, Sveum will give Marmol the closers job back in a day or two. It’s his heart’s desire for him to have it anyways.

  2. Blyth

    There was a story on Grantland last week on the Wrigley renovation stuff that drove me crazy too. I tried to comment to try to clear some misconceptions up. Mistake. I’ll stick to the safety of these comments

  3. Jp3

    Haven’t watched the Harlem Shake video because I’ve seen too many to count but I’m curious💬. Is Ian Stewart sulking throughout the whole video and never changed his close?😁

    1. MXB

      he probably showed up 3 hours late

    2. Jp3

      Shoot clothes. Was thinking about Kevin Gregg as the closer

  4. Jp3

    Oh and now that Gregg is officially the closer he’ll promptly start blowing saves immediately

    1. Pat

      Yep, he’ll be removed from the job by the end of the month.

  5. hansman1982

    “When national folks swoop in to comment on the Wrigley renovation stuff…”

    Holy crap, that article is just terrible, just absolutely, god-awfully, terrible. Like, if I were to be set on fire, I would be cursing this article for it’s terribleness. If I were to then have the fire put out and dipped in salt water, I would be cursing this article for it’s terribleness.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      Wow. That’s a bad article no doubt. And the further link about the Cubs being most profitable? They had an operating income of $32 million in 2012 according to that story. I’m not sure how operating income differs from net income, but I’m sure there’s an important difference. (Would operating income count the Rickett’s debt servicing?) But it’s a misleading number.

      Of course, the Cubs dramatically slashed payroll. So they were almost intentionally non-competitive. In fact, opening day payroll was down $37 million from 2011 to 2012. So that profit comes substantially from slashing payroll and a long-suffering fanbase that was generally willing to come out to games and buy merch regardless. But if they hadn’t slashed payroll, what would that operating profit look like?

      To put that another way, it looks like last year the Cubs could have probably about broken even on operating income, assuming a moderately competitive team would sell more stuff at Target and Kohl’s and have more butts in the stands to buy overpriced concessions and even more overprices stuff on site. Maybe even turned a slight profit. But then whence the money to overhaul this team? To sign free agents? To spend big in the draft? This does not even begin to address the restoration of Wrigley

      If anything, this profit number coupled with the payroll slashes the Cubs made before last season fortify my conviction that the long-term approach of the front office is absolutely necessity. The Cubs simply do not have the margins to spend like a major market team. That’s a problem. They need to reinvent the model and structures that bring in revenue in order to take their rightful place among the gaudy payrolls and profit machines of the Yankees, Red Sox, et al.

  6. millhah

    the guy called it “Wrigley stadium”….all you need to know right there.

    1. MXB

      and apparently it is “Billie” Williams.

      1. millhah

        my fav player of all times is ryan sandburg :P

        1. Jim L.

          Or as Harry called him on a few occasions, Ryne Sanderson.

  7. ETS

    “When national folks swoop in to comment on the Wrigley renovation stuff, they invariably say things that are (1) inaccurate, (2) incomplete, and (3) hopelessly tardy. Just stop. I’ve been swimming in this stuff for months (years, really), and I only barely feel qualified to editorialize about the myriad complexities of the story.”

    The comments on that article are worse than the article.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      OK, I wasn’t going to check it out, but now I have to.

      1. ETS

        “Wrigley field deserves a better team than the Cubs”

  8. SD

    Stopped reading the USA Today article after the author told us all his kid was named “Aidan.” Told me all I needed to know.

  9. Tyler

    I tried reading the Wrigley Renovation article, but I had to stop after “Wrigley stadium” and then the attempt to make Ricketts look like a money-grubbing, detached owner of a team.

    How do people this ignorant manage to get jobs writing on the national level?

    1. ETS

      It said the author was a law professor, right?

      1. Tyler

        What’s even worse is when I have to deal with people who are getting all of their info about the Wrigley Renovation from articles like this. I don’t know how many people I’ve directed to Bleacher Nation and said “You want to know what’s ACTUALLY going on with the Wrigley Renovation? Read this.”

        I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve heard that the Cubs shouldn’t renovate Wrigley and should spend all that money on the team.

        1. MichiganGoat

          same here same here- what really gets this goat’s goat is how many people just scream “TRADITION” because keeping a relic a relic is always how you win battles.

          1. DarthHater

            Since when do goats have fingers and toes?

            1. Wilbur

              Don’t forget thumbs …

            2. BluBlud

              Maybe he an Inbred goat, they tend to come out a little different. ;)

  10. MichiganGoat

    The national media story of Wrigley and the renovation is quite frustrating, they never fully understand 1-why Wrigley needs a renovation (because it is falling apart and the facilities are worse than most middle schools) and 2-only focus on the Jumbotron and the poor “tradition” that is being jeopardized by greedy Ricketts and his need to have the same revenue streams that EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE MLB enjoys every game. Thank you Brett for reporting the reality of what is happening- maybe some people over at “ESPNyting goes” need to read this blog.

  11. Tom A.

    Who calls where the Cubs play “Wrigley stadium” ???

    Are people really staring at the Ricketts skybox ? Do they even have one ?

    Are the Cubs really the most profitable team in baseball ? How is that calculated ?

    Does any of this really matter to the average Cubs fan ?

    As a fan, I have said all along, that I do not want the Cubs to depart Wrigley Field. Of course we all want them to win and I hope that will happen in Wrigley Field. I hope the City, neighbors, Cubs and even the bar and rooftop owners are all able to find peace in an arrangement that keeps the Cubs playing at Wrigley Field and gives them a chance to win.

    I don’t like lawsuits — they only should be used as a last resort and can’t stand those bar and rooftop owners that threaten with such ! Don’t really ever want to hear Mr. Ricketts talk about the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field — shame on him for that ! I don’t think that it is ethical for an alderman to own businesses that would benefit from decisions he could influence through politics — ever hear of abstaining from conflicts ? I just wish this all soon would end, but doubt it as likely a mutually agreed-upon arrangement is too much to ask.

    1. wax_eagle

      the “most profitable” myth stems from Forbes’ annual review.

  12. mjhurdle

    That was one of the worst articles concerning the renovation that i have read.
    I understand that there are two sides to every argument. I don’t expect that every article i read will agree with my opinion. However, I do not think it is too much to expect for a writer to do more to support his opinion than resorting to the class-warfare of big bad rich Ricketts wants to ruin history and destroy the Cubs just to make a dollar.
    Had to leave a comment on that site, even though i know the author will never read it, and if he did he won’t care because he accomplished his goal of getting his opinion out there in the most trolling way possible.

  13. DarthHater

    I read the article about the lady who choked to death on the hot dog. It mentioned that she grabbed her throat when she went down and that people did chest compressions on her, to no avail. No mention of anybody trying the heimlich maneuver. People, grabbing the throat is the universal sign for choking and the heimlich is the appropriate response. Chest compressions aren’t gonna save a choking person.

    1. Cyranojoe

      That’s odd, when I read the article it seemed to say that she did *not* grab at her throat.

      1. wax_eagle

        The initial article I read suggested that they didn’t realize she had chocked until she got to the hospital (or at least until she had already entered cardiac arrest).

  14. Willrust

    Fielding Percentage & Wins are the IKEA of baseball stats. They may be ok to look at, but I wouldn’t trust them to hold weight.

  15. DarthHater

    Given the number of “facts” in that article that Professor Turley appears to have extracted from his poopchute, he could be a regular contributor to the BN comment board. :-P

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Or, ESPN.

      1. DarthHater

        Now, now. No reason to be too insulting to the professor.

    2. mjhurdle

      heh, im a regular on the ESPN Cub game boards.
      It has gotten pretty bad, but there are some other guys there that i enjoy posting with while the game is going on. It used to be a lot better a few years ago, but lately more and more of the ‘over-reacting, sky-is-falling fans’ seem to be showing up.
      That being said, there is typically more logic and structure to the posts there (yes, even the ones spamming sports-betting websites) then was present in the good professor’s column.

      1. DarthHater

        I understood Cubbie Blues’ comment to be referring to ESPN’s on-air contributors, not their message boards. ;-)

  16. DarthHater

    New flash: Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley was killed today at Chicago’s Wirgley Stadium when a falling slab of concrete struck him in the head and rendered him unconscious, permitting a roaming pack of coyotes to devour him.

    1. DarthHater

      *Wrigley [grumble]

      1. millhah

        they’re renaming the stadium?!!?

    2. Tom A.

      The worst part of the whole thing was that Professor Turley was sitting in the wrong seat at the time because he was trying to get a better view of the alleged Ricketts skybox. And, his actual seat was chosen to win that day’s fan prize give-away and he was not available to claim his prize. It was truly an overall bad day at Wrigley stadium (as so renamed by the coyote eaten person) for the Professor !

  17. snakdad

    Complete idiots. If Tommy wants his sign, Tommy gets his sign. It’s his F****ing “stadium”. The last thing he needs to do is “play nice”. That’s what got this whole thing slowed down in the first place.

  18. college_of_coaches

    My condolences to the family of the woman who died. A very sad story.

  19. Spencer

    I think the Cubs are pretty bad at defense. I haven’t been wowed as much as I was last year at their defensive positioning, either. But, they do make some very “range-y” plays that necessarily lead to more errors. Castro got credited with an error the other night on a play where he fielded a ball on the first base side of second base. Stuff like that shouldn’t be an error.

  20. Patrick W.

    I usually like what Jonathan Turley writes, but man he comes off bad in that article. Just dumb.

  21. Patrick W.

    Off topic: I just read this article from 1991 as an example of how awful Angel Hernandez is as an umpire. Some names here are sad.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19910722/SPORTS/307229900

  22. Kyle

    So Kevin Gregg is our closer, we’re having some success offensively with being more left-handed, and we need guys who can catch the ball?

    2008-09 Jim Hendry is vindicated in a major upset.

  23. Koyie Hill Sucks

    “And then Sveum said something that will make you smile, after confirming that Gregg was the closer. “He’s obviously earned it and there’s a bigger sample out there now to know that.” Sample size statements! I love it. Even if I’m not so sure that there’s a large enough sample yet to say that Gregg has stepped up his game this year (although the visuals certainly match the results), I’m just glad to see Sveum speaking that way. He may use some folksy language at times, but this is a guy who understands modern baseball analysis.”
    I am wondering if the same will be said once Sveum picks up his second straight 100 loss season? I’m sure 300+ games won’t be enough sample then, haha…

  24. DarthHater

    Whoa, Jon Heyman’s top 20 starting pitcher trade candidates include: Feldman, Garza, Wood, Villanueva, and Jackson. How many games would the Cubs lose this season if they traded all those guys? :-P

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/22218158/trade-market-will-be-filled-with-starting-pitchers-but-who

  25. nkniacc13

    I could see them trading 3 of them thou.

  26. ssckelley

    Omg, this is exactly what we needed, great idea!

    So what do you think of the Cubbies?

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