Theo Epstein Clarifies Third Base and Other Bullets

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  • The take on Matt Garza’s first start in 10 months from the other dugout: “He’s a pro,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Garza, per Cubs.com. “That was very, very good stuff you saw out of Matt Garza tonight. Live fastballs, both sides of the plate with late life, the breaking ball, the changeup – that’s the kid they wanted when they made the deal for him. That’s almost a year away from the game, that’s electric stuff. He just showed you what he’s capable of doing.” The only ding on Garza’s start was that it lasted just five innings, but even that really isn’t much of a ding. Everyone knew that Garza was limited to 85 to 90 pitches, and everyone agreed that it was a good idea to limit him.
  • You expected Dale Sveum to be asked about using Shawn Camp last night. The 37-year-old righty is struggling mightily this year, and gave up the game-winning grand slam to the Pirates. The organization opted to keep him earlier in the day, and instead opted to designate Michael Bowden – no stud, himself, but more effective overall this year – when Matt Garza was activated from the disabled list. It was the perfect storm for Sveum, and slightly unfair, given that roster moves aren’t really within his control. On the subject of keeping Camp and DFA’ing Bowden, Sveum told ESPN, “[Camp] can get righties out with his sleeping slider. He’s durable. He can pitch. That’s why.” He can pitch. Strictly speaking, that’s true.
  • But as for Camp, himself, and his struggles, Sveum was at a loss. “It’s hard to pinpoint,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “First and foremost, when a guy like that is losing two, three miles on his fastball, everything else is a little short. That’s where we are. He’s having trouble getting the ball to 87 miles an hour right now.” Well, Camp did make 80 appearances last year, and he is 37-years-old. Maybe that’s part of the velocity story?
  • So, is Josh Vitters the future at third base? Dale Sveum kind of demurred on that question when he was asked yesterday, following Ian Stewart’s comments about Vitters’ standing in the organization. “[Vitters] is the priority, put it that way,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “Who knows about third basemen of the future, but he’s a priority to develop as that guy. The guy was a first-round pick, and the guy can swing the bat. We still have to develop him with the thought of him being our third baseman some day. He’s got power, he can swing, he can hit a fastball. But there’s a lot of development left in him.” Sveum added that Luis Valbuena is the third baseman of the present, and if he keeps playing as he has been, Vitters is really going to have to blow up to displace him. The truth is, I don’t think the Cubs believe they have a third baseman of the future, certainly not in the Majors or at AAA. They just have lots of options, and are willing to see what’s what over the next several months.
  • Theo Epstein clarified his conversation with Stewart in an email to the Sun-Times. “I called Ian to give him an honest assessment of his situation so that he could make an informed decision regarding whether or not to accept his assignment to Iowa,’’ Epstein said. “I told him things had changed because Valbuena was playing well and was now our major-league third baseman. I told him Josh Vitters was a prospect and needed to play a lot at Triple-A. If Ian accepted the assignment, I couldn’t promise him at-bats, and we owed him that candor since it impacts his career.” So, as suspected, there was a lot of nuance there. Epstein wasn’t exactly saying that Vitters is THE GUY at third base for the future. He was simply saying that Stewart was no longer under consideration for that role, and, when it came down to starts at AAA between he and Vitters, the guy who is still the prospect is going to get the starts.
  • Something to consider about Matt Garza’s great stuff last night: yes, missing 10 months of action can make a guy rusty. But it’s also a hell of a lot of rest for a pitcher’s arm. Who knows? Maybe Garza comes back even stronger now.
  • Don’t forget to take in the latest episode of the BN Podcast.

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

98 responses to “Theo Epstein Clarifies Third Base and Other Bullets”

  1. Kyle

    I’m still questioning whether Michael Bowden has actually been more effective than Shawn Camp, even including last night. Bowden’s still got a worse xFIP. Scouting-wise, one’s got a fringe-useful FB and nothing else, one’s got a fringe-useful slider and nothing else. I’m still not seeing the Bowden>Camp case outside of superficial stats.

    As I mentioned to you on Twitter the other day, the Cubs have had an astonishing two decades of negative pythagorean variance. Now that we’re at -4 in that category, that’s -39 over the last 20 seasons. With 6 seasons of -4 or worse and only one season of +4 or better. Because Cubs.

    Darwin Barney is a glove-only middle infielder whose offensive start has had some reasonably questioning if his defense is even worth carrying his bat in the lineup. And he’s 11 OPS points ahead of Starlin Castro.

    1. Mike

      I don’t even know if this is really a Camp vs. Bowden debate at least regarding last night. What I have a problem with his how Sveum uses some of these guys. Why is Camp pitching in that situation and for that long? Why wasn’t Villanueva just brought in to start the 6th? It was his day to start so he could seemingly go two innings. Plus they had a day off Monday so the entire pen was rested. Just infuriating.

      1. Kyle

        It’s two different debates.

        Camp’s performance last night brought on complaints about the bullpen usage last night (which I agree was awful) and also renewed the Bowden vs. Camp complaints that we had seen the last two days (which I don’t agree with).

      2. hansman1982

        I have a feeling they are keeping Villanueva out of the mix right now to see how Garza holds up after this start.

        1. Kyle

          He was warming up at some point in that inning.

          1. hansman1982

            It seems that inning was in full-on-all-hands-on-deck mode.

        2. Jim

          What would be the purpose of that? You would still have 5 days until Garza’s spot in the rotation would come around again. Should Villanueva go 10 games without pitching?

    2. cms0101

      I’d rather have Bowden over Camp, but they’re both bad so who really cares at the end of the day. They need to drop them both, along with Rondon, and try the next batch of Iowa cast offs.

      1. Werner

        I don’t follow this as closely but wasn’t the Henry/Pinella regime quicker at pulling trigger on bullpen changes? I understand that if you have crap in minor leagues and crap in major league that it makes little difference. But they’ve wrung all they could out of Camp and why not let Dollis/Parker/somebody with a pulse come up? Seriously.

    3. cubzfan

      Barney is now at his career average in all but BA, and is also creeping up on Soriano and Castillo in OPS this year. Yikes.

    4. hansman1982

      “As I mentioned to you on Twitter the other day, the Cubs have had an astonishing two decades of negative pythagorean variance. Now that we’re at -4 in that category, that’s -39 over the last 20 seasons. With 6 seasons of -4 or worse and only one season of +4 or better. Because Cubs.”

      It’d be interesting to see if this has gotten worse as other teams have adopted increased night schedules.

      “Darwin Barney is a glove-only middle infielder whose offensive start has had some reasonably questioning if his defense is even worth carrying his bat in the lineup. And he’s 11 OPS points ahead of Starlin Castro.”

      It’s interesting because his BABIP last year and this is 30 points lower than the previous 2 seasons. However, outside of LD%, this season is remarkably similar to his 2011 season (good God, this is his 4th year in the majors).

      1. Kyle

        I got into some knock-down, dragouts with Cubs fans two years ago when I said that I didn’t think Starlin Castro was a .340 BABIP guy long-term despite having done it two years in a row.

    5. King Jeff

      I think you are on to something here. Bowden was more effective this year, but he always seems to be in a tight rope act out there. I would assume it’s because he’s got virtually nothing besides his fastball, and that’s not even all that good. I think Camp is probably suffering from overuse. With a loss of velocity for a guy that wasn’t even a hard thrower to begin with, I think it’s only a matter of time before he hits the DL with some shoulder fatigue or a dead arm.

      I know it’s probably virtual suicide, but from what I’ve been seeing, James Russell would be a very hot commodity on the trade market this year. What’s the minimum that it would take to pry Russell away? Are we looking at at least a Sean Marshall type return? Should they even consider trading him at this point considering the hole it would create in the pen?

      1. CubFan Paul

        For a Marshall like return I’d trade Russell in a heartbeat. I bet theo&Co would too.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Whenever you can trade a middle reliever for a young starter that has had success (as minor as it might be) you make that trade.

  2. Mike

    Camp can’t get righties, that’s what’s so infuriating! His splits are HORRIBLE! He had an OK year last year and that wasn’t even his best year. Dale is using Camp because I guess he feels sorry for working him to death last year? I don’t want a manager who is that loyal. That is too loyal. This is baseball, you have to win. You can’t trot Camp out there just because you feel bad you overused him last year. And this is why Camp is still with the team. Because Dale must have went to bat for him over Bowden and that is infuriating.

    Even if you say that Dale is working with what he has, which to a certain extent I agree, he still is using guys incorrectly. You bring in a guy who has just been AWFUL this year in a bases loaded situation? WRONG! You let Russell pitch to one guy?! WRONG! And to still let Camp continue to pitch in that inning and load the bases again?

    1. Jay

      Got to be what Camp’s making and they’re hesitant to eat it this early in the season. No other reason for Dale to embarass himself making excuses for why they kept him.

    2. demz

      “You can’t trot Camp out there just because you feel bad you overused him last year. And this is why Camp is still with the team. Because Dale must have went to bat for him over Bowden and that is infuriating.”

      You are just making stuff up. You have no idea what’s going on in the organization, you’re just feeding yourself this stuff to make a case against Dale when he probably had no decision in keeping or releasing Camp.

  3. Art

    A couple of good starts from Garza and the cubbies will have a two hot commodity pitchers to trade. Shaping up to be an exciting trade deadline.

  4. @cubsfantroy

    Camp and Russell to Baltimore for Bundy and Machado. Get it done Theo, you can turn water into wine.

    1. hansman1982

      I dunno, that’s kind of a strong package we are sending over there.

    2. Voice of Reason

      And then trade Barney for Cano. Cano is a free agent anyhow and Barney can slide right in and take over.

      Then trade Vitters for Chase Headley. Vitters can play third for the Padres since Headley is a free agent.

      Then trade Garza for Kershaw. Garza is a free agent and Kershaw makes a lot of money. With the Dodgers not playing well and the large amount of salaries they have, this will give them some relief.

      Making these trades is easy! What is Theo and company waiting for? Let’s turn water into wine!

      1. Jay

        :-D :-D

      2. BluBlud

        Is this like the video game where you can turn trade override on?

      3. Dynastyin2017

        No! No! No! I think we’re trading Vitters for Stanton.

        Then Soriano for Rendon.

        How’s that?

  5. hansman1982

    “Well, Camp did make 80 appearances last year, and he is 37-years-old. Maybe that’s part of the velocity story?”

    Camp’s IP last year were well within what he has done the past few years. I think the bigger part of everything is that he is a 37-year old reliever.

    1. CubFan Paul

      See theo&co’s theme bullpen wise (2012/2013)? We suck on purpose. Hopefully we get another Top 3 Draft Pick next year for our troubles.

    2. Norm

      I think there is an argument for # of appearances over # of innings.
      Like, 80 appearances with 60 IP
      is worse than
      60 appearances with 80 IP

      I don’t have any evidence of this, just seem to recall something I read. Maybe cuz of warm up time too?

      1. BTC

        It could be the stress level. It might be more stressful to appear 80 times and pitch less, then to appear 60 times and pitch more.

  6. cms0101

    Hopefully these comments by Theo regarding Stewart and their conversation put this non-story to bed. While I don’t believe it would have upset anyone in the front office if Stewart declined being sent to Iowa, given the $2mil salary, calling the guy and giving him the lay of the land seems perfectly fair and reasonable. It’s reasonable to think Vitters should be playing every day. It’s reasonable to say Valbuena has earned the job. Stewart needed to make a decision between career and paycheck. He chose paycheck. Can’t fault him for that. He’ll sit on the bench and see what happens in Iowa the rest of the season, and then get a minor league deal from someone else next year. End of story.

  7. cubbyblue

    Its a tomotao or tomoto…. Camp sucks- Bowden sucks- Rondon sucks- I mean really its a scap heat up stinky crap- At some point when the club is better, hopefully they are not just picking up castoffs from other clubs. Why do they think they can revive a piece of crap time after time. Our pitching coach is not going to fix anyone. Its a true shame to have a very decent rotation and they get screwed day in and day out.

    1. Cyranojoe

      That’s hysterical. “Its a tomtao or tomoto…”

      I know what you mean to say, but still… what??? LOLOL.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Just so everyone is clear. That was not me.

        1. Cyranojoe

          Heh. And also, I misspelled “tomotao”. Whups.

  8. The Dude Abides

    Top of mind for Sveum should be “who is the Cub’s manager of the future?” learning on the job managers eventually wear out their welcome.

    Theo & company are continually tweaking the roster, it is only a matter of time until they focus on the coaching staff…

  9. Jay

    More stupid Dale speak “Camp can get out righties with his sleeping slider”..SLEEPING is a good word for it, it certainly doesn’t wake up and break–just lays there and waits to be clubbed.

    And maybe everyone on the team thought Garza’s pitch limit was a good idea, but nobody sitting in the stands does. Like you said, with all this rest and rehab, if anyone should be able to go 120 pitches, it would be him.

    1. DarthHater

      “maybe everyone on the team thought Garza’s pitch limit was a good idea, but nobody sitting in the stands does.”

      Did you take a survey? Or have you simply been pre-authorized to speak for all fans?

      8705395082_71435b7e84_o.jpg

      1. hansman1982

        Jay is in fact, the representative from “The Stands”. It’s a tiny province in the Gamma quandrant filled with water farmers and womprat bulls-eyers.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          I always thought it was “The Stand” he was a representative from.

          1. hansman1982

            Potato/Potatoe

    2. King Jeff

      Yeah, because everybody knows that a guy who’s making his first start in a year has unlimited stamina built up in his arm. It’s not like he’s just getting used to pitching against MLB hitters again, or that this was the first time that he had put that much stress on his arm in months. Good call.

    3. TWC

      “… with all this rest and rehab, if anyone should be able to go 120 pitches, it would be [Garza].”

      Garza hasn’t thrown 120 pitches since his final game of the 2011 season, but I’m sure you’re correct. ::rolls eyes::

    4. falselife

      I definitely think the pitch cap was a good idea. He is a commodity and it’s important to maximize the potential in terms of his value.

      A pitch count does a couple of things. First, it gets him into the game and, more importantly, gets him out of the game in a timely manner. He may be ready to rock, but it’s best to ramp up those pitch counts slowly. There is a lot more going on than Garza can throw 110 pitches. There is mental fatigue and muscle fatigue (not just the arm) to contend with. Secondly, this helps him build confidence and keeps his stats appealing. Imagine last night. How would you have felt if Garza stayed in and produced what the relievers did? Suddenly, his very solid night would turn into a mediocre evening that demonstrated his endurance wasn’t there.

      As of now, the Cubs are the Cubs, but Garza had a noteworthy appearance that has people talking about his trade value if he can put more starts like that under his belt.

      I think the pitch count was necessary, and proved effective.

    5. Cyranojoe

      Hahahahaha… oh, wait, you’re not joking?

  10. Melrosepad

    Should drop Camp and bring up Yoanner Negrin. 11.8 K/9 with 2.4 BB/9 Seems like someone who should get the call up to see what they can do in the majors.

    1. LouBrown

      I would agree. I think the FO has written off this season. May as well see which bullpen arms in the system may be ready. Is Blake Parker ready for a comeback? He got shelled in his six innings last year, but has been good at Iowa this year. Can’t be much worse than Camp. Rondon is dissapointing, unlike Castillo last year, I thought Rondon was ready to be a MLB bullpen arm. He had a decent start to the year, but has faded rapidly.

  11. jt

    “I got into some knock-down, dragouts with Cubs fans two years ago when I said that I didn’t think Starlin Castro was a .340 BABIP guy long-term despite having done it two years in a row.” –Kyle
    Can’t put the same foot in the same river twice.
    Both Castro and the the way the lg defends him have changed.
    I’d think he has to learn to pull the ball into the LF bleachers or hit the ball 10′ further when blasting to CF or right center.

  12. mjhurdle

    I was as confused as anyone by Dale’s pitching changes last night, but overall i am still satisfied with his performance as manager.
    Obviously he doesn’t make all the right calls, no manager does, but he catches a lot of flak due to an amazingly ineffective bullpen and an offense that can’t hit with RISP.
    He is the victim of a large group of second-guessers that love to point out anytime a lineup change or bullpen arm blows a game, but conveniently forget every time a defensive shift robs a batter of a hit.
    I wouldn’t say i am 100% behind him as the long term manager, mostly because i am not sure what he could/would do if actually given a competitive team. I will say that i would rather have him than Dusty, Sweet Lou, or Quade by a mile.
    Sveum has showed me some bad, and more than a little good. If anything i appreciate how well he deals with the people that think he should pitch Russell 3 innings in every single ballgame and call for his head if anyone else comes out of the pen. He is handling being the manager of the most frustrating type of team (one that seems to be close in every ballgame, but does not have the talent to get over the hump) very well imo.

    1. BT

      Wrong. There is only one possible right move, and I’ll tell you exactly what it is after the game is over and I see how things turned out.

    2. mudge

      I’ve said I think Sveum has the skills of a bench coach. That includes credit for excellent positioning, getting Soriano to a lighter bat, etc. He’s not making the best use of his pen. I’m the one – the only one – who’s suggested Russell could pitch 2-3 innings. Three times a week. Nobody’s ever suggested pitching him every day. So don’t twist my words. If ypu have one guy you can trust in your pen, use him to win games instead of holding leqds for an inning that will be flushed down the toilet the next inning.

      1. BT

        You are torpedoing your own argument. How in God’s name can you tell what kind of manager Sveum is if you yourself admit he has ONE FREAKING GUY in the entire bullpen that he can trust? If your ideal plan, the plan that would make him a “good” manager, is to use his one left hander for 3 three inning spurts a week, then it seems pretty unfair to judge him using the rest of the bullpen’s crappiness as evidence of his ineptitude.

        By the way, what manager in the major leagues uses a relief pitcher like that?

        1. mudge

          A smart one?

          1. BT

            So, in your mind, there are no smart managers in the major leagues, making the term essentially meaningless.

          2. MichiganGoat

            Giving Russell that many innings 3 times a week and then just sitting the rest of the bullpen is a horrible idea. 1-Russell (or any pitcher) will be exhausted by the time you need his innings to count 2-at some point you have to use the other arms but in this model one pitcher will be doing an equal load of the rest of the bullpen. How is that good baseball? When Russell hit the DL or has an elbow explode are you going to praise Dale for using Russell this way or attack him for over using a pitcher?

            1. mudge

              it’s 7-8 innings a week.

              1. mjhurdle

                a “workhorse” pitcher pitches 200 innings a year.
                that averages out to 8-9 innings a week, depending on if the regular season goes 23 or 24 weeks.

                So you are suggesting a smart manager would use a bullpen arm to roughly the equivalent of a 200 inning starting pitcher, which is to say you want 150-170 innings from Russell this year?

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Beat me to it, hell you might as well just make him the 6th starter at that point or two person bullpen – The Stashe and Russell the rest can just be there to warm the bench and tell jokes. Each of them log close to 180 innings out of the pen.

                2. mudge

                  That’s a lot of innings for a reliever. Why would it do more harm to an arm to warm up 3 times a week and throw 2-3 innings, than to warm up as a starter twice a week and start?

                  1. TWC

                    This is James Russell’s 2011 performance sorted by pitch counts.

                    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=russeja02&t=p&year=2011#pitching_gamelogs::21

                    Look how bad he is once he gets above, say, 25 pitches per appearance.

                    Look at his 2012 appearances. Same thing.

                    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=russeja02&t=p&year=2012#pitching_gamelogs::21

                    Really, you don’t want Russell throwing more than 25 pitches every few days.

                    1. TWC

                      Damn. Links got truncated. And a ‘:21′ (no quotes) to the end of each link, or click on the ‘Pit’ category to sort from high to low.

                    2. mudge

                      ok, there’s some real information.

                    3. Cubbie Blues

                      OT:
                      Am I the only one that goes to FG first over BR?

                    4. TWC

                      Almost certainly not. B-R is just my habit. I don’t care much for the colors or the layout/arrangement on FG, even though they do have more info.

                    5. hansman1982

                      “Am I the only one that goes to FG first over BR?”

                      It depends in what I am looking for and what my mood is.

                      I REALLY wish BR, FG and StatCorner would get together and make 1 super-stat website to destroy all other stat websites.

                    6. Cubbie Blues

                      That’s funny, I started with FG because I like the layout/arrangement better than on B-R.

                  2. mjhurdle

                    well, the MLB leader in innings pitched in a career as a reliever is Hoyt Wilhelm.
                    he pitched 2254 innings over his 20 year career, which averages to 112 IP per year.
                    If you remove the years he started and his SP innings, he averages only 93.3 IP per year as a reliever.

                    So unless James Russell is the (improved) second coming of the HoF Wilhelm, then i would say that the idea of him pitching 7-8 innings a week might not be the wisest choice.

              2. TWC

                Remember how good of a starter James Russell was back in 2011?

                1. MichiganGoat

                  but but but if he’s good for one inning he’ll be great for 3-4 innings… AMIRITE

                  1. mudge

                    said 2-3, not 3-4, goat. don’t twist my words.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Oh then that sounds great that extra inning a game will be the real difference maker.

                    2. bbmoney

                      I’m not talking about James Russell specifically.

                      But I’d be all in favor of rocking a 5 man bullpen (appropriately constructed with guys who can throw 2 or 3 innings at a time), eschewing the ‘closer’, and just running guys out there 1 or two times a week for 2 or 3 or 4 innings.

                      Let’s you carry 15 position players, including 3 catchers, which gives you a lot more flexibility late in games. But hey… I”m sure I’m on an island with this stance.

                    3. hansman1982

                      So what happens when one of your relievers gets shelled in the first inning of his scheduled appearance?

        2. mudge

          I’m not using the rest of the bullpen’s ineptitude as an argument against his management skills. I’m suggesting he use what he’s got to win ballgames. At this point Russell and Gregg are reliable and Marmol could also go a couple innings on days he has his control. Let him go two when he’s on. Team is near .500 if you handle the bullpen wisely.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Dale: Alright everybody i got a plan… first all you pitchers must go 6+ innings NO EXCUSES (glares at Garza), second- Russell you pitch every game innings 7-8 and maybe 6 if one of the starters get a case of the “boohoo my arm hurts,” Third- Gregg you have to pitch the 9th every single game – DON’T BE A BITCH YOU CAN DO IT, finally the other bullpens you have now been transferred to Wrigley Restoration detail – TOILETS DON’T SCRUB THEMSELVES. Okay break – GO CUBS GO.

            Sounds like a great plan.

            1. Cyranojoe

              OMG YES

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            The simple fact of the matter is that with the (possible) exception of Russell, there is not a single guy in the Cubs bullpen who does not make the opposing batter, his manager, his teammates and his agent smile. Heck, if the batter has a 2 month old infant, then it gives its first non-gas smile. The Cubs are hardly alone in this position, but that’s not much consolation for us.

            1. FFP

              Alverez’ agent wasn’t smiling after Pedro’s tangle with Russell last night. He was batting .199 before and .199 after. As for the RBI he added to his resume? That’s a team stat.

              (“Non-gas smile”–might have coined a new term for the effect out bullpen has on everyone not a Cub, Doc.)

              1. FFP

                *our bullpen

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                I was trying to find a clever and succinct way to write that something worse than flatulence was about to be passed by the Cubs’ pitcher, but I couldn’t find it.

      2. mjhurdle

        wasn’t “twisting your words”. I actually didn’t even have a specific person in mind, that was just an exaggeration to refer to many of my friends that expect Russell to pitch every single time a starter comes out of the game, and anytime Russell comes out they complain that he should go longer.
        Russell has 17.1 IP through roughly 1/4 of the season. He is on pace to an inning count that is consistent with his previous year work. If you pitched him three times a week for three innings, you would blow past his previous high IP of 77.
        And then next year when he becomes a Camp type reliever that has lost a little velocity and is not as effective, everyone will be screaming at Sveum/Front Office that they overused Russell and ruined him.
        My point is more that Sveum has to use what he has. He can’t say “well, the BP sucks, so i am only going to use Russell until his arm falls off”. Which, coincidentally, is exactly what Dusty would have done.

        1. mudge

          well that’s valid. but I’m seriously suggesting 7-8 innings a week, not 9. even if it was twice a week, you’d win more games. I don’t want him overused.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            If a guy pitches 7-8 innings a week, then he’s going to pitch well over 180 innings in a season. That is badly over-using a bullpen arm!

            The opposition showed us what happens when you do that last year. A big reason why the Pirates were in contention until early August was excellent bullpen pitching. However, their relievers all gave out in early August, and that contributed heavily to the Pirates abysmal record the rest of the season.

            1. mudge

              Point taken. What frustrates me is to see Russell roll through the 7th and have the game blown in the eighth. If a guy is rolling, let him pitch. So maybe that’s two appearances a week.

              1. Cyranojoe

                I disagree with most of your argument so far, except for this. If a guy is rolling, let him pitch, especially when his pitch count is ridiculously good — I could swear Russell’s been pulled after a single-digit pitch inning, after which the game gets unceremoniously dumped into the trash bin by the rest of the bullpen. :-(

  13. auggie1955

    Last season Camp was pretty effective prior to the AS game with an ERA of 2.80, and a BAA of .229 in 45 IP. It was after the AS break that the wheels started to fall of as he posted a 4.68 ERA and a .301 BAA in 32.2 IP.

    Jed and Theo decided to to re-sign Camp for 1.35 M hoping he would regain his 2012 Pre-AS Game form. They were wrong. I guess Jed and Theo can’t admit they were wrong by DFAing Camp.

    1. BABIP (MichCubFan)

      Why do people even bring up that Jed or Theo (or any FO member in baseball) should admit that they were wrong?

      Is that not a reality of the job?

      What does help if they admit they were wrong? What puropose would that fill? Do you think they owe it to you to admit that they made a mistake?

  14. Patrick G

    Did Svuem mean sweeping slider instead of sleeping slider? Never heard of that before

    1. LouBrown

      I think it is supposed to be a sweeping slider, but with Camp it is a sleeping one…

      1. Patrick G

        sadly

  15. Dustin S

    A lot of thoughts on the post, but it is concerning that Sveum was so oblivious to why Camp is struggling this year. As you said, he’s 37, was overused last year, and looking at his career numbers overperformed last year. There’s a reason Seattle had cut him when the Cubs picked him up. His velocity is down and he’s up in the zone a lot. It makes it look like Sveum is dwelling on Camp’s success from last year more than looking at how he’s throwing the ball today.

    There’s a thin margin for error in baseball, and having 2 guys in the pen in Camp and Marmol that have a good chance of blowing any game by themselves is a rough way to go.

    Also, Theo’s email was basically a confirmation of what Ian had said which is interesting. That situation is a horse well beaten, but the Ian/Theo statements about Vitters being the future do make me look at how it went down in a slightly different light. It sure looks like Theo tried to pressure Ian into opting for free agency to save the Cubs $2M with the threat of getting parked on the Iowa bench if he didn’t, which IMO is pretty crappy if that’s what really happened. There was obviously a little more posturing and animosity than it looked like initially which lead to him taking the 3 days, right or wrong. So if that was the case I don’t really blame him for not being happy and keeping the money for his family. It’s really on Theo as a bad move for giving him the contract only 6 weeks earlier.

  16. RWakild

    The obvious choice last night was to piggyback Villanueva. Let him go the rest of the game and give the bullpen a rest. If Garza feels anything wrong, Carlos is still sort of stretched out. Soon as Rondon was called in I started screaming at the TV and a few minutes later started watching the voice to protect my sanity.

    1. cub2014

      I agree RWakild, Villanueva was the obvious choice. Svuem
      has always made curious decisions? After run producers for
      the offense he may be the weekest link.

      1. willis

        Completely agree. And that’s not post game analysis. People on this side and on the MB were saying during the game it should have been Villanueva. Why the hell try and protect a lead with a combination of Rondon (terrible), Camp (maybe the worst reliever right now in baseball) and one batter of Russell? It doesn’t make a lick of sense. It didn’t when dummy Dale made the move, it didn’t when Camp gave up the bomb, and it still doesn’t today. You cannot defend his moves last night. Or most nights.

  17. Bilbo161

    Is it my imagination or has Rondon lost a bit on his fastball?

  18. Bigg J

    Using Camp is as bad as using Marmol anymore,,,,,i was curious why they didn’t DFA Camp……bullpen is horrible…..look at how many games Cub’s bullpen has lost

  19. Tyron

    Fire,..dale now ASAP,thank u! Bad pitching management.
    Can’t see us doin much around the trade deadline either

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Poor spelling and punctuation is equally appalling.

  20. willis

    Exact same effective lineup tonight. Insanity……………..

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