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dale sveum starlin castroWell that Javier Baez news was nice to wake up to this morning. I wonder if his promotion won’t be the only one this weekend. It could be that, because of his high profile – and because the Daytona Cubs Twitter account wanted to offer the congrats – his was the only one we heard about late last night/this morning. I do know that 2013 18th round pick Giuseppe Papaccio looks to be this year’s mid-round college senior who flies up the promotion chain until his bat is challenged (a la Tim Saunders last year, for example). He’s already been promoted to Kane County, and that might not be his last stop this year.

  • When a Cubs pitcher has a bad outing, as Jeff Samardzija did yesterday, you can pretty much bank on Dale Sveum saying the same thing (per Cubs.com): “There was no fastball command at all. There were a lot of fastballs, and he couldn’t get ahead, couldn’t put anybody away, kept missing by a ball on the plate. He was up all day long. He didn’t throw a whole lot of quality fastballs down in the strike zone.” No fastball command, and not working down in the zone. Although Sveum says it every time, he’s probably right every time. That’s how important those two things are.
  • Dale Sveum points out that the coaches (and he’s not necessarily patting himself on the back so much as passing on some credit to, for example, pitching coach Chris Bosio) probably deserve some of the credit for Travis Wood’s blossoming as a starter with the Cubs. “The coaches have a lot to do with it,” Sveum said, per ESPN. “For what Wood has gone through from spring training last year and getting him to understand about his arm side command. For him being able to consistently do that and what [he has done with special coaching assistant] Mike Borzello with the game reports, never varying from it. [The coaching staff] all have a lot to do with it but the biggest thing is about the adjustments [Wood] has made.” The respective All-Star teams are to be announced later today, and I’d expect Wood to be on the NL squad.
  • Sveum on Starlin Castro’s baserunning gaffe in the 8th yesterday, on which he was picked off of second base by the catcher. “He has to be more aware of the situation,” Sveum said, per CSN. “You’re down by four, you have nowhere to go. Those kinds of plays stand out. That’s one thing about baseball. It’s not like basketball where you turn balls over and nobody really knows who did it. In baseball, every mistake stands out.” They especially stand out for Castro right now.
  • For his part, at least Castro knows his mistake and faced the media about it after the game. “That’s not a smart play,” he said. “I feel really, really bad. That can’t happen. Down by four, eighth inning, that run is not important. I was trying to be aggressive, but that can’t happen.” Yes, Castro made a mistake.
  • The only part of the discussion of that play that bothers me is the fact that folks act like you shouldn’t be aggressive on the basepaths when you’re down big in the 8th. Yes, you should not take HUGE risks, but it was the 8th inning, not the 9th. You always stay aggressive in that situation because even just one run gets you that much closer in the 9th inning. If you sit back and play it safe in the 8th, maybe you don’t score on a single or on a subsequent wild pitch. Then maybe your team ends up scoring three in the 9th, but you’re a run short because you didn’t get that one run in the 8th. Of course that run is important. I don’t want to dwell on this specific incident too much, because I’m not defending Castro’s mistake. I’m really just talking about the broader point: if it isn’t the 9th inning, passivity is the wrong approach, and I don’t much care for narratives that suggest that you should be more passive. You don’t know how important that singular run in the, say, 5th inning when you’re down by six, is going to be.
  • The Stanley Cup will be at Wrigley Field today.
  • Cubs outfielders are turning the tables on the fans. Per the Onion. So, yes, it’s a joke. I especially like the subtle photoshop.
  • The Dude Abides

    I wonder who Sveum would point to for Rowson’s biggest success story this year.

    • Hansman1982

      Schierholtz, ransom, Valbuena

      • The Dude Abides

        I guess when your dealing with this team you hang your hat where you can.

      • The Dude Abides

        Hansman 1982 – still feeling god about Rowson turning these guys around?

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Where is Luke?

    • X the Cubs Fan

      That sounds rude, but I like the minor league updates.

      • cubzfan

        He doesn’t do them on the weekends, but gives a summary on Monday mornings.

        • bryan

          No he does an article sunday morning. And its usually his best write up on the minors every week.

  • jpeck

    There is nothing I would like to see more than Castro turning this around, but I am at the point that “he should be traded at the winter meetings next year” if he doesnt have a great 2nd half. I can take a .240 batting average, if he had some power, and can take a good average hitter with no power, if he could play defense.

    What we have here is a .240 hitter with 4 hrs that is arguably the worst defensive SS in the majors. Then you watch baserunning mistakes pile up…. Please dont show Jeter/Castro comparisons, it is embarrassing! Castro does not show the Drive, the Passion, or more importantly the Baseball IQ that Jeter does. One guy is a leader the other isnt. I think we all know who it is.

    • caryatid62

      FIRE AND PASHUN!

    • Rich H

      You are comparing a finished product Jeter with a kid and it is not fair to him. I have been as hard on Castro as anyone but this is insane. How people forget that the Yankees almost traded for Felix Fermin because they did not think that Jeter had that killer instinct to be a major league player let along be good at it.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Jeter wasn’t a leader at 23 either plus I am willing to bet that Castro will hit at least .275 with 15 HRs by the end of the year.

      • X the Cubs Fan

        and 200+ hits

    • Alb_daKID

      Hey he’s still young and is in a slump, as well as pressing. Just thought I’d throw the usual excuses out there! 8D

    • Roughriider

      I guess you would have traded Santo after his third year in the majors too and you’re completely behind the Brock for Broglio trade.

  • BigSmokeJ

    I continue to be amazed at how some people continue to want to bury Castro. The kid is 23 on a crap team that for the last three years unloads 30 – 40% of its players every year. Yet because he can’t hit 350 and not make mistakes he needs to go. Thank god you guys aren’t the GM of the team, no player would ever want to come to your team.

    • Derrick

      Thank You sir my sentiments exactly. So many ready to trade the face of the franchise and bring up an arguably worse defensive shortstop in Baez. Remember folks when Castro was 20 he was already in the league raking. Slumps happen he makes some bad mistakes I agree but ready to give up on him at 23 would be crazy. All this he is lazy and has no passion etc, I’m glad you guys know him personally soooo welll …

      • Chad

        Castro is a phenomenal trade piece even though he is sucking this year, and that is why people are mentioning it. Also, they won’t be trading him this year. At earliest it would be this off-season. I doubt that, but if they ever get a guy like Baez or Alcantra for example that they think can play SS at a level similar to Castro then he will be shipped. It happens all the time. In my mind, if you could include him in a deal with someone and get a great return in SP prospects or a even a younger SS prospect then I think you do it. I hope Castro figures it out, I do, but I don’t see him being with the cubs long term even if he does figure it out. That’s just my opinion.

    • jpeck

      I understand he is young, but I ask you, what does Castro do “great”. He hasnt shown he can field. He doesnt walk hardly at all. His most hr’s in a season is 14. I am not asking him to hit .350 —- This year .250 would be good. As far as the GM comment, Good players would want to come to “my team” because I wouldnt put up with bad baseball. lol.

      • Rebuilding

        Castro has shown 2 plus tools: his contact/hit tool and his range at SS. As he gets older he should get to average power (above for SS). If he can overcome his mechanical issues so he can show the contact he should hit .290 with 20-25 HRs. Teams die for that. In the field he has the things you can’t teach (range and arm) but struggles with the things you can (silly concentration errors). By normal progression he would be in AAA this year and we would all be slobbering over him supplanting the current SS

      • Rich H

        What Castro did great was contact. He could square up anyone. That has taken a step back this year but he still has that ability. It is just taking a while for the changes to his approach to bring results.

        • Rebuilding

          That is right Rich. You don’t have 200 hits in the big leagues at 21/22 without an incredible contact/hit tool. Its still on there. Anyone that is really interested please go back and look at video of Castro batting in that great debut game he had (it’s on YouTube). Look at how different his stance is and how much more he does now before the ball is pitched

    • Alb_daKID

      People rag on him soooo much because he messes up soooooo much. How is that hard to see? You can no longer chalk that up to “but…hes still young.” The assessment above noting his plus tools are correct. Castro is a contact doubles hitter with 10-15hr power. His approach and I believe the mental approach he is being lectured with is that of a power hitter. Obviously that hasn’t worked out, but his hit tool will probably end up being fine.

      The mental lapses, not knowing to run bases and his stagnant defensive skills are what stand out to me as consistencies. At what point do you keep saying hes young? He’s been at the MLB level since 19 and his quality of play has regressed. Ignore the slump in numbers, I speak of his play in terms of baseball I.Q. Castro seems to not always “GET IT” or truly understand how to play the game. Thats my beef.

      • Kyle

        “At what point do you keep saying hes young?”

        When he’s not young anymore.

        • Alb_daKID

          Litterally speaking yes. I meant more in terms of his service time. His I.Q. has not shown one ounce or improvement. Close to 4 years in the league he should have some things figured out by now. Physically honing his skills is more than likely still on the rise. That I wont argue but understanding the game how to play correctly one would think Castro should be further down the road.

          • Kyle

            It’s perfectly normal for a player of his years of professional experience to still be inexperienced.

      • Kyle

        It’s partially that Castro is a mistake-prone player and partially confirmation bias. When Castro makes a mistake, it’s *always* a story the next day.

        Quick quiz, no looking it up: Who is Castro tied with on the team lead for outs on the basepath?

        • jj

          I say trade that old Castro for 1 or more “young” prospects, maybe 21/22 years old.

          • X the Cubs Fan

            Hey JJ guess who doesn’t care what you say.

          • Chrisfchi

            If Castro is old, then I’m a freaking dinosaur.

        • BT

          I looked it up, and it’s a good point. He’s getting a free pass.

    • cubmig

      Re: Castro and his inexplicable gaffes. As Cubs fans we are scrutinizing everyone and everything about this team to ensure a better future—–and that means making it to the “Big Show”. At the same time, the prevailing attitude is that this Cubs team is not going anywhere; that this is a “lab year” where all is under a microscope and changes and “experimenting” has taken on a legitimacy of their own. It may be better said to say “It’s shakedown time.” Who goes, who stays, who bats where and what do the changes reveal, etc., etc., etc., it’s all part of what this year is about; the future.

      All that said, I (as a guilty Cubs ‘bitcher’), wonder why Castro’s performance has us riled up as it has??? His bad showing has revealed “warts” that have been there, but are magnified by the transition being focused on.

      Castro will be alright. He’s young and capable of adjusting, but it will take him the rest of this season to [hopefully] shed bad habits in favor of instincts that message head and body with a resounding “YES. I GOT THIS ONE!” Castro is all over the place when (in his head) his swing instincts get the best of him. He shows he’s trying to control flailing at bad pitches…..so he’s working on judging pitches. On the field, Castro wants to field every ball hit anywhere in his direction. There are no infield-outfield boundaries for him. He’ll go after any ball hit almost anywhere within range—–and—- as HE defines range! His base running is now under scrutiny. Why? I’m not sure. The guy plays to win. Maybe he’s trying too hard. Or…….maybe he just has a level of energy that takes over mind and body to drive him to do things more logical baseball minds find confusing. Whatever the case, Castro will find the balance in his idiosyncrasies to be the player his star beginning have shown he is. But he needs time. And….the good news is: in this period of change the team is in, is that time.

      • cubmig

        Castro…….a look back to remember when…..
        [img]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQvhJB5KAhs[/img]

  • Mr. Brent Kennedy
  • Oswego chris

    I see that Javiar Baez currently has 31 errors…now, personally that doesn’t concern me(Hank Aaron had 42 his first year of sandlot ball, according to Buttermaker)

    I have heard that the conditions of minor league fields can cause this, but for all of the Anti-Castro groups( the shortstop, not the 1,000 year-old Cuban dictator)…if Javy replaces Starlin at short(eventually), it’s not going to be Ozzie Smith out there…

    Which is fine cause Ozzie couldn’t hit,

    Boy I am rambling

    • DarthHater

      Heh. Anti-Castro groups. Best new Cubs term of 2013.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    One game Castro tries to score from second and gets tossed out at the plate. Next game he is on second and gets picked off.

    Anyone ever hear the term over-learning?

    5412

    • Rich H

      Exactly 5412. I think he was talked to about secondary leads and got caught leaning when trying to do what he was instructed.

    • http://odu Greenroom

      Seems pretty simple. Great comment.

    • CubFan Paul

      The Cubs just flat out suck at baserunning. When was the last time a Cubs player knocked a Catcher on his ass to score? Probably Ted Lilly. How often does Starlin jam a finger trying to steal second? Once a week.

      Sveum & McKay whiffed on baserunning drills in the Spring.

  • North Side Irish

    Boise Hawks Radio ‏@BoiseHawksRadio 26m
    Not 1, Not 2, Not 3, Not 4, but 5 roster moves today…announcement soon…

    • North Side Irish

      Nevermind…I thought it might be more promotions, but they’re just playing Vancouver this week. Always run into visa issues for that trip and have to call up some AZL guys to fill in.

      • North Side Irish

        Zastryzny going to make his pro debut…<
        <
        <
        The Boise Hawks, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced that 2013 second-round pick Rob Zastryzny (left) is one of three players added to the short-season roster prior to tonight’s game with the Tri-City Dust Devils.

        Also heading to the Treasure Valley are tenth-round pick Zack Godley and former Hawk, Dae-Eun Rhee, while a pair of players – outfielder Jacob Hannemann and pitcher Carlos Martinez, have been placed on the seven-day disabled list.

        http://boisehawksradio.mlblogs.com/2013/07/06/roster-shuffle-nets-2nd-round-pick-zastryzny/

    • Bilbo161

      Interesting info. Thanks.

  • babe ruth

    top 13 worse trade deadline deals ever. guess who made #1 lol

  • Rebuilding

    It’s really interesting you bring up Lou Brock in this thread. Brock was a phenom who came up at age 22 and really struggled. At the deadline he was a 25 yo who was hitting 251 with a 300 OBP and a little over 600 OPS for 2 years in a row. The Cubs gave up on him. If you trade Castro now you might be having the same conversation in 25 years

    • college_of_coaches

      Interesting analogy, nice!

  • BigSmokeJ

    Well I’m not saying he’ll turn into Lou Brock but who knows. But trading Castro now is just the kind of thinking that can set a club back 6 yrs. And even if you trade him for some teams two best prospects, there is no guarantee those players will amount to anything.
    Plus people want to replace him with a now AA player that is a worse fielder then him. The infields can’t be that bad or every SS on every team would have 30 errors and they don’t. Can he hit sure, but who has he faced. And how will he handle failing, because he will fail at some point every player does.
    We’ll see how Castro handles this going forward. But I would say the Sveum hasn’t been a shining light of help so far for this team. He has a crap team and he knows he has a crap team, but when one of the players that is suppose to make up the team of the future is struggling, he goes to the press and says better improve or we’ll send him down. Now that kind of motivation might work with some players but my guess Castro is not that type of person and it had the opposite effect. As the manager you need to know who to push and who you need to handle softly. And I don’t think he has that. Hell he kept running Marmol out there when a blind man knew he could close.
    And I’m sorry no one will play for your team because, as soon as they have a bad year you’ll ship them out.

    • Bilbo161

      If Castro can’t handle this kind of criticizm then he won’t be long in the Majors. He will have to use his human predilection for survival and adapt. Adaptation takes place when the road gets rough. Just fight through this thing and proove them wrong Starlin.

    • jpeck

      My last comment on this whole topic/and your comment, is I havent heard anybody say they want Baez to replace Castro right now. My comment is an offseason trade if he doesnt make changes. He still has trade value and you could get a veteran ss as a part of the trade. I would hate to see another Corey Patterson situation. hold on to him until his trade value is absolutely nothing,

  • Die hard

    Unless you get starting pitcher in return don’t trade him… He’s not a SS

  • @murdiddlyurdler

    hey guys, it’s just baseball. so, chill out. the team stinks. i’m sure starlin will see more and better pitches once he’s batting in an actual major league lineup. playing in the majors is hard enough, it’s even harder when you’re on a team with no expectations, as one of the faces of the franchise, and when you’re learning on the fly because you were brought up at a super young age.

    • @murdiddlyurdler

      and it wouldn’t hurt to sit the guy every once in a while either. give him some time to talk to the coaches/vets while watching the game. I mean, I’m no coach but you can learn from watching as well as doing, right?

  • Rich H

    At what point do we recognize that Castro’s slump is over? He has 6 in row and 8 out of his last 10 games. Also Castro has taken his walks during that time while taking more than 4 pitches per plate appearance. Not saying that he is done made the adjustment but even with the small sample size I think we recognize a difference in his approach lately. Now if he could just get those strikeouts down.

  • Die hard

    Mental slump

  • Fred Sanford

    Hello? Castro was jumpy because he loafed the day before and didn’t want to get thrown out at home again. Not the sharpest knife.

  • cavemencubbie

    Some guys on this site, are trying to turn Castro into another Theriot. A bunch of TOOTBLAN fans, substitute critical, impatient stupidity for nincompoop.

  • RD

    This is probably stupid and irrelevant but just something I pick up when Castro bats. One AB he will go up and get a base hit with an ash bat then the very next AB he will use a maple bat or vice versa. Has anyone else notices this? You would think you would want some consistency or at least just stick with what worked the last time.

  • EricR

    I think Castro should be benched for a few games. He could use some time to think and be humble.

  • Die hard

    Plenty of time to catch up to the bandwagon that left 2 months ago

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