dale sveum starlin castroThe Wife and I went to a food truck fest last night, which made for some awesome eats, but I couldn’t help but notice that the 45 trucks in attendance were all jacked into huge generators, billowing frightening amounts of nastiness into the sky in one concentrated channel. That probably wasn’t good. But, you know what? My burrito was awesome. Worth it. ‘Murica.

  • As you know, Starlin Castro was pulled from yesterday’s game after a mental lapse with the bases loaded allowed a runner to score on a pop fly to shortstop. You know how the story plays out from here: Castro (to his credit) owns up to the mistake, apologizing profusely to his team. Dale Sveum expresses frustration, openly wondering when this kind of thing is going to stop. It’s the same script for everyone involved, including the fans who are left shaking their heads.
  • What’s difficult for fans and observers to reconcile is that, although each individual mistake/lapse/whatever is completely explainable and understandable … Castro keeps having them. And we keep waiting for the one that is the “a-ha” moment, where the light flicks on and we see a discernible change going forward. He’s 23, so it’s not like there isn’t plenty of time, and it’s not like those determined to give him more time are being naive. But let’s be very honest with ourselves here: if Castro were hitting this year, a mental blip like this becomes a discussion point for a day, and then is largely forgotten. Because he’s not hitting, it becomes the rallying point for those who’ve been anti-Castro for a long time already.
  • Me? I am as frustrated as anyone by these kinds of mistakes, but they worry me far less than his offensive struggles this year. That’s where my focus is, and where I’d like to see him improve over the last month and a half. Whatever happens with Castro long-term (and he’s under contract for a long, long time), getting him back to the .300/.340/.425 guy who can play adequate or better shortstop should be the focus. The mental stuff … well, if he returns to being that guy, we might just have to live with it.
  • From Castro to Javier Baez – a penned transition that is becoming increasingly pointed – folks were asking Dale Sveum about Baez before yesterday’s game, thanks to his increasingly ridiculous performance at AA Tennessee. My heart swooned at this comment, per Cubs.com: “[W]atching him now, it looks like [Baez] has toned down a lot of his movement and hand movement, and his leg lift is a lot slower and calmer than it was in Spring Training – and even early in the Minor League videos I watched. That’s what development and adjusting are about, that’s what you want to see – that you’re able to handle strike-to-ball sliders. I think, in this last week or so, it seems like, listening to the reports, that’s what he’s been doing. It sounds like he’s laying off a lot of stuff – [he’s] a lot more calmer, a lot more under control.” Performing fantastically at AA is one thing; improving BB/K rate stuff is another; but doing those things because of swing and approach improvements? That’s tickle-you-pink material right there.
  • (Carrie Muskat points out in that piece that Baez has a strong split going at AA, with a huge batting average against lefties and a weaker one against righties. It’s a very good point to make, though the particular split doesn’t really concern me. For one thing, it’s a very small sample size, and Baez didn’t have a particularly strong split in his time at Daytona earlier this year. For another thing, Baez’s BABIP against lefties at AA is .500, and just .258 against righties. I’d say there’s some flukishness informing both of those figures. For still another thing, Baez sports an .810 OPS against righties at Tennessee (.361 wOBA). That’s mighty good for a 20-year-old shortstop at AA, even ignoring how much he’s been feasting on left-handed pitching. Still, it’s something to watch.)
  • From the infirmary, Brian Bogusevic (hamstring) has officially been assigned to the Iowa Cubs for his continuing rehab. He played successfully down in Arizona for a bit, and he’ll get a little time at AAA before presumably returning to the Cubs soon.
  • Scott Baker, whose rehab was interrupted by rainouts and the need to recertify his injury (his 30-day rehab stint was up), will start again for Daytona today. He hasn’t had much success so far on the results side of the ledger. The Cubs would undoubtedly like to see him make at least a few starts in the bigs before the end of the year so that they can have a little more data to input into the old is-he-worth-another-prove-it-contract computer.
  • Arodys Vizcaino is headed to Mesa, per Carrie Muskat, to continue his rehab. You’ll recall, Vizcaino, 22, is missing his second straight full season after Tommy John surgery and then subsequent bone spur surgery. Jason McLeod recently said in a podcast spot with Buster Olney that Vizcaino was looking very good this past Spring Training, and it sounded to me like, absent the setback, Vizcaino probably would have seen a lot of action this year – maybe even in the bigs. Bummer. As it is, he’ll continue rehabbing in Mesa in the hopes that he can pitch competitively in the Fall.
  • MichiganGoat

    “let’s be very honest with ourselves here: if Castro were hitting this year, a mental blip like this becomes a discussion point for a day, and then is largely forgotten. Because he’s not hitting, it becomes the rallying point for those who’ve been anti-Castro for a long time already.”

    Perfectly stated and this is my frustration with the anti-Castro fans- focus on the measurable failures/struggles and stop using anti-highlights to rally your frustration.

    • cub2014

      Goat that is the problem with Fans (I am one
      as well). We react and over react to quickly.
      Castro isnt going anywhere for 2014 I think we
      all know that or we should. Fan = FANATIC

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Sadly, this is nearly all we can talk about aside from:
        1) Prospects succeeding
        2) Prospects failing
        3) TJS comebacks
        4) Organizational MGMT
        5) Lineups for 2014-15
        6) PEDs
        7) Acquisitions/trades
        8) Wrigley Renovations
        9) Ricketts money
        10) Theo, Jed & Jason’s acumen
        11) Whether Oprah should buy the Cubs – and let me run it 😉
        12) Clown questions

        • MichiganGoat

          You forgot beer, when there is nothing meaningful to discuss start talking about beer.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            Amen. Yeah, I focused on the wrong things there.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Nothing like a Box of Rocks (Rolling Rock), and a ballgame.
              Leinenkugel, Angry Orchard, 312, Blue Moon, Foster’s…

              Not a full fledged connoisseur, but I should be.

              • MichiganGoat

                None of those should ever be inucluded with the word connoisseur.

                Double Trouble, Devil Dancer, Huma Lupa Licious, 120 Minute, Pliny the Elder, All Day IPA, are a few that should be discussed

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  I know…I don’t drink all the micros and stuff. Should though. There is only 2 major corps running the Beer world, what does it matter…they’ll disappear.

                  (Should have stayed with my hillbilly relatives side business of moonshine down in TN…)

                  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                    SAB Miller & InBev…

                • lukers63

                  Your making my mouth water……

                • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

                  Brooklyn Lager, Long Trail Ale, and PBR.

                  Hate me.

                • Leo L

                  big fan of fat tire

                • waittilthisyear

                  that devil dancer was good. too bad its only out for a month of the year. st bernadus 12 should be discussed ad naseum

              • Jp3

                Angry orchard, leinekugel? **slaps forehead**

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  Angry Orchard – apple cider is easy on my ever growing delicate bowels…never thought I’d write that. But, well, that’s honesty.

                  • Jp3

                    I hear you, my NABBM are really wanting me to try something different than freedom ipa and blue point toasted lager myself

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          What about correcting other’s spelling, gramatical, and punctuatonal mistakes????

          That’s, like, #3 on my to-do list this year.

          No, really. It is.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            Grammar Nazis Unite!

            • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

              I’m a pronunciation Nazi, actually.

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                The most famous “Nazi”>>>???[img]http://stitchesndishes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/soup-nazi.jpg[/img]

    • Internet Random

      “nd stop using anti-highlights . . . .”

      Let’s call those lowlights.

    • BABIP (MichCubFan)

      I bet Castro can’t wait for this offseason.

      He needs another day off. Then he and Dale need to get together and make sure they are on good terms and that this is behind them.

      Then try to “start things over again” and try to end this year on a positive note.

  • Frank

    I understand that the Cubs can’t send him to Iowa and I think he’s too old for someone to kick him in the ass, (maybe not) so what’s left? What will wake him up? How about wavers? Put his name out there for a week and pull him back. Maybe something will click, but I doubt it.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      His name has probably already been on trade waivers. To a front office like this one who is going to listen on everybody (even guys like Castro/Rizzo who will most certainly not be moved), I feel like everyone on the roster has already been sent through.

      That being said, I could be wrong on this, but players aren’t told in August that they’re put on trade waivers…because everyone is and nothing actually happens until a deal is made or they are given up.

      So, I’m not sure what putting him on waivers would do.

    • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

      I don’t think it’s an issue of “waking up” for Castro.

      I think he has serious concentration issues that have nothing to do with effort or will. He spaces out and he can’t help it. It’s not ADHD, but it is something along those lines. I doubt medication would help, but that’s the type of issue I think Castro is dealing with, not laziness or taking his position for granted.

      • Frank

        He had concentration problems before this year, but he hit like a mad man. Yesterday wasn’t the first bonehead thing he’s done at shortstop. I seem to remember him once standing with his back to the plate when the pitcher was going to pitch.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    I don’t disagree with being overly conscious of this one play. As Brett generally put it, when in context of his overall woes in hitting, then it is a point for those who don’t feel he’s the future at SS for the Cubs.

    I remember on another message board, the ongoing fight over Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Their injuries that just spiraled the team post-2003 to the 2006 bottom. Not to toot, by I was in the camp of moving forward without them after a period…probably early 2005. (Wood to his credit persisted and attempted to do anything to be a contributor. Prior – that’s likely a conversation only he could fill the honest details on…)

    I hope Castro does take this situation as a point to turn it around. None of us that has lived over 30 years, hasn’t been where Castro is in some situation: struggling or under-performing from someone, or some organization’s stand point.

    • Ron

      And that is why we have Tadalafil!

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        HA HA! [img]http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg59/matthewstephens/Demotivators/FORTY.png[/img]

  • Matty V

    My biggest fear is that Castro’s current state of mind is part of his offensive struggles. His body language says to me that he’s not having a lot of fun and he’s mentally checked out. I think the defensive lapse might be a part of the bigger problem. He obviously has the tools and I want to see him succeed. Maybe another day off would do him some good to help clear his head. Granted, I’m not in his head so I really don’t know what’s going on. This is just my observation from afar.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah “Body Language” is also part of the Scrappy Family of NOT Stats. Maybe it’s time to quantify the SFNS.

      • MichiganGoat

        Heart, desire, TWTW, BellyFire, hustle, focus, body language, chemistry, are a few to include.

        • BABIP (MichCubFan)

          Yeah that stuff is bullcrap. What he needs is some lineup protection.

          • MichiganGoat

            As long as it’s left handed protection

            • Eternal Pessimist

              …and maybe a baseball batting tee!

              Honestly, I hate to see Castro shrugging his shoulders with his head down. I want him to go to the plate with confidence, and his body language means a lot…even if no one has put the stat together that proves the correlation to performance for us.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          While it may not be measurable, you certainly best be able to recognize the signs of it….else as a manager, you pretty much are not tuned in to your product/person etc.

          I think a few psych majors might crawl up your ass for dismissing this. Knowing how people lie, contort, deceive with their body language, or not tuning in to clear mirroring signals, or other clues is not going to necessarily win you less ballgames, but SEEING it might win you a few more, if you RESPOND appropriately, IMHO.

          • MichiganGoat

            A psych major who believes he/she can diagnose through watching him on TV is a fool.

            • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

              I am currently working on my master’s degree in clinical psychology, and although I can’t diagnose anyone by watching them on tv, body language provides clues (sometimes misleading ones) that we can’t help but interpret. We, as humans, are built to “read” body language, often on an unconscious level. It’s a fundamental part of communication. Even you do it.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Completely agree with this…and by the way we all judge/profile, and react based on these things, including body language…body language IS data, even though it hasn’t been turned into an advanced baseball metric for us to use more scientifically yet.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              I didn’t say diagnose him through TV. I am talking face to face interaction on a daily/weekly basis, something undoubtedly the Cubs have people on staff that do their assessments and report what they conclude to the MGMT on a variety of levels, including performance and character changes. (Not just scouting his tools and usage of them.)

              The players are both employees and assets.

              I am sure you’ve read Kevin Kerrane’s Dollar Sign of the Muscle where Jim McLaughlin spoke of evaluation methods:
              1. Substituting centralized management for old-fashioned individualism: Computerize player data, rationalize draft procedures and development of consistency in hiring, training and grading of scouts
              2. Professional psychological tests like the AMI (Athletic Motivation Inventory)
              3. Physical testing to evaluate eyesight, general health, bat speed, reflexes and other ratios of physical strength

              This was pre-sabermetric in the 1960s with the Reds and Orioles.

        • Headscratchin

          Don’t forget leadership and club house presence.

          We poke fun at some of these non-stat things, but there is some immeasurable “thing” about a person’s make-up that does a lot to dictate if they will be successful or not. Strong immeasurables aren’t going to turn a pumpkin into an all-star (see Tony Campana) but it does seem to work the other way around sometimes (see Rick Ankiel)

          I think Matty V is on the right track with his thoughts. Starlin’s offensive and defensive lapses start right between his ears. Is that because of lack of leaders in the club house? Lack of belly fire? Poor coaching? Or is he just a flake?

          • Eternal Pessimist

            ‘Strong immeasurables aren’t going to turn a pumpkin into an all-star’

            Right, though it might turn a bad prospect into a decent prospect and a decent prospect into a good prospect.

        • Matty V

          Goat, would you say there are zero intangibles in baseball?

          • MichiganGoat

            No but I would say using intangibles to measure a players success is a poor way to determine a players worth. When a player is having success (good stats) we say he has great intangibles but when his stats are failing we say he has poor intangibles. We don’t say that player is performing great but has crappy intangibles, it’s also how we trick ourselves into believing a player is greater than his performance- that player can’t hit but he’s got great intangibles (see Tony Campana). We can’t measure intangibles but we use them to support of personal worth of a player. It’s just a poor way to describe players.

            • Matty V

              I don’t think Castro’s current state of mind determines his worth. I was only trying to connect some dots between some things I’ve observed about him (granted, in the stands from a distance and on TV) and his current struggles. And, not knowing him personally and never having spoken with him, I could be way off too. I don’t think he’s a bad player. His stats do determine what kind of a player he is. I was just wondering if his current mental state is affecting his current performance, or if his current poor performance is causing him to be in a bad place mentally.

        • wilbur

          How about acting impatient when your own starting pitcher is being slow between pitches, until he finally just takes off his glove and puts it under his left arm and body until the pitcher goes into his motion. I saw him do this when feldman was pitching this spring in Milwaukee. How do you quantify being an unprofessional little jerk?

      • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

        Now, Mr. Goat, I must protest.

        Body language may not be a stat but it’s certainly a way of deciphering an individual’s state of mind. If we’re trying to figure out why Castro is having these issues, body language can provide potential clues.

        I’ll even go out on a limb and say that a team with good “chemistry” can provide an atmosphere of support and positivity that creates an environment in which a player is more likely to succeed. Think of that as opposed to a team where everyone is miserable, hating the manager, hating each other, etc. Yes, I know both types of teams have won the World Series, but I posit that a team with “good” chemistry is likely to do better than one that is a mess.

        Now: “Scrappiness.” This is a quality of never giving up, playing as hard as possible at all times, etc. This will only get you so far, but couple it with some talent in a player and he will end up with a few more hits, a few more runs scored, a few more catches or putouts made over a season.

        I know we all get tired of hearing about intangibles because they are unquantifiable and largely unpredictable. But they *are* a part of the game and influence the outcomes of said game.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Good comment.

          I think it has become a blinding oversimplification to say that intangibles mean nothing. Think about this: you are with a woman that fits your resume real well. Educated, has her own career, does a similar level of job, income and age matches well, grew up in the same area as you, all the basic, age, demographic, education level stuff that says, “yes, this relationship can work whatever % of the time.”

          But it does not for various intangibles, like, she loves certain books, while you obsess over sports. She’s politically one way, you another. You want 2 kids, she’d rather not. She’s a looker; you, the average Joe.

          What lined up were predictors of success, however, what didn’t were deeper “fluffier stuff” – being connected, appearance, politics, and kids. Not close to being a perfect analogy, but the tendency to simplify things down to one numerical idea, ignores the intangible things in this universe.

          Last I checked, whatever you think moves this universe, does not do it at the whim of humans.

          “Man plans; God laughs.”

          Not saying ignore the big data, but sure as hell be aware of the unexpected taking you down. All the linear regression, R-squared analysis in the world hasn’t stopped financial crisis, hunger, cancer, or criminality of epic proportions called war.

          • Kyle

            There are things that are lost when we simplify to one number. But most of the things people use to describe as “intangible” are pretty darn tangible and measurable.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Notice I said big data….

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              And certainly how one approaches a situation where you feel you know, and they don’t, requires more subtle understanding than bulldozing, which, is what typically “in the know” people do, if by accident or purposefully.

              Many are more impressed with their knowledge, than they are with building a positive interaction with a person of lesser knowledge on a given subject.

              Such Intellectual snobbery should not be excused – correcting others in public/or calling names/or laughing/belittling – tends to make both people mad. Wars have started over this stuff.

              And since their are numerous intellectual capacities – nine at least – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences we often ignore, those with a completely different skill set from ours instead of understanding it or conceding them that skill set.

        • caryatid62

          The problem with intangibles is not whether or not they exist, but if anyone outside of someone immediately within the vicinity of the team/players 24 hours a day have any idea what they are and HOW they impact on-field performance. Right now, that’s not really possible, and the continued effort by those in the media (or others outside the game) to attempt to “prove” their significance usually results in perpetuation of a false narrative or lazy stereotype.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            I explained it earlier as, “I am talking face to face interaction on a daily/weekly basis, something undoubtedly the Cubs have people on staff that do their assessments and report what they conclude to the MGMT on a variety of levels, including performance and character changes.”

            • caryatid62

              That’s all fine and good and probably should be done (or already IS being done), as long as fans and media stop doing it. They’re part of the problem.

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                But it is going to be done (fans) whether or not you want that.

                I am guilty of it.

                We are each time we decide whether to turn on the Cubs, or go to the park, write on a message board, etc. Through our choices we make the decision to support or decry. Some do it with a voice; others typical actions; some overt actions.

                Starlin f-up. It happens. I’ve f-up more than he has , and people have critiqued/judged, literally, in a court of law, a public forum, where truth is rarely sought, just a spin by each side to get their desired verdict.

                Try that on – at least Starlin is a millionaire. He’ll live, even in through the most bitter of critiques by all.

          • MichiganGoat

            +1 – We are playing armchair psychoanalyst when we start throwing around intangibles. The same intangibles we praise a player when they are good are the same ones we criticize when they suck (see Zambrano’s “passion”)

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              To be cute: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and their you have, the facts of life….;)

              The ones most successful harness their inner daemons to be both highly energized and passionate, while equally determined to control their worst impulses.

              Certainly better to be passionate, than to be staid and set in a pattern of dull and boring contempt for one’s fellow man.

              Extreme Passion can be harnessed to good; dull and unexceptional vigor will kill any hopes of success.

              Just my opinion.

              • MichiganGoat

                So a calm coolness is worse than acting “passionate” or is having good/great stats all that matters?

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  Read Napoleon Hill. Take any situation you’ve lived. People that achieve certainly have to have ” a passion” – how that is displayed – well, that’s all in the eye of the beholders. Some are so committed they write books about such things in hopes to achieve what all their critics miss in their snap conclusions.

                  To your discussion, a calm coolness is a fine attribute. People with grace under pressure are certainly more rare – and have their placings in organizations. Ducks look cool and collected above water, but underneath they are flapping around to get to their destinations. (Even these cool people are thinking quickly, and hopefully, passionately, about what to do next to achieve goals.)

                  A-Rod had great stats. Seemingly Cool Demeanor. Always knowing what to say.

                  What say you there? Is he a winner? Does his calm demeanor really achieve things we’d like? Does he strike you as a guy you would want on your team, baseball or otherwise?

                  No. He has other personal flaws. Texas loved those 57HRs so much, that they dumped him because Texas could lose games just as easily without him and his huge contract. (His value as a cool under pressure guy and statistical anomaly of greatness did not win a championship. Of course, he was always worried about his image…)

                  I love statistics. I do more statistical analysis of far reaching import to my personal goals than most that post triple slashes, fWAR, bWAR, UZR, RF, FIP, xFIP, PECOTA, SIERA, Velocity charts and all the other mechanisms we’ve ferreted out to be a well-informed baseball population.

                  Sadly, I think many of the stat-heads mistake their trees of insight for a grander and cooler forest, and can’t include enough balance to their projections and data-driven insights to actually drive home their arguments with an appeal that whets the appetites of their critics, or congeals their cohorts to a nearly uniform decisive lot. While passionate about what a number says or concludes, they ignore the actual object it is measuring – baseball’s great mystery of chance. Because it is not a MBS, or a CDO, or medical study on rats, it’s baseball, a part of the national blood which invokes poetic heights, as well as, the calculated wOBA to determine WAR. What is it good for?

                  Maybe, alas, Baseball is worth nothing to talk about.

                  Just to let you know: I am working on a history of baseball. Have been for many years. It is a marriage of the statistic today and the storied past as focused through the prism of America’s growth and evolution. When I publish it, within the next year, you Cubs fans will be able to lampoon and critique to your heart’s content the conclusions drawn.

                  It is my passion.


                  • MichiganGoat

                    So Castro just needs to read “The Secret” and create a “Vision Board” and all will be okay? Again we have no idea what he’s think or how he is handling himself- we are picking a handful of bonehead plays and making judgements about his character because we are frustrated with his play on the field and this helps demonize him and explain the bad stats.

                    As for ARod he was going to become more expensive than the Rangers could afford and ARod started to have his character questioned when his on field play didn’t live up to the contract. At the time he was traded to the NYY he was the poster child of the MLB.

            • jt

              Putting in the work and being aware of games situations are tangibles that don’t directly have metrics. The work dedicated in the training room and practice field are “intangible” but do find an indirect path to the box score.
              Earlier in the year Valbuena was tagged out because he didn’t complete the sprint to 2nd on a steal thinking ball 4 had been called. I think Valbuena has belly fire. He didn’t have focus on that one.
              The masterful surgeon who leaves a sponge in the chest cavity didn’t perform masterfully. The mundane stuff has to be completed also.

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers


  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    There is something to the discussion of how long it takes to do a rebuild. I guess in the McDonald’s world of 3 minutes or less, the 2 year ongoing saga of rebuild has to start producing in 2014…else, you begin to wonder about it. By producing, I mean, there should be 1-3 more legit pieces shown to be on the championship map of 2016. (That’s a reasonable expectation for playoff and competing for several seasons…)

    Is Arrieta a guy? Strop in the BP? Will Hendricks debut? Then can Vitters/Jackson/Olt be anywhere near the bigs, and stick?

    Those are the questions we need to see answers to – in 2014.

  • Jp3

    This nastiness channelling up in a concentrated form makes me think of Ghostbusters 2….or was It ghostbusters 1?

    • Oswego chris

      Two…the slime reacted to negativity

      • Jp3

        Hold up, the EPA shut the electrical system down because of Richard Peck (great name for an EPA villain) which made the containment system burst. Apparently there is more stuff to talk about than just prospecty goodness😀

      • Ron

        So Jackie Wilson can fix cub fans?

  • Jon

    I have had some time to sleep on this & this is what I would have done if I was Dale(yesterday )

    -The play at the plate looked reasonably close, so I would have gone out there , go crazy arguing-throw a tantrum, and get tossed

    -After the game , I would have pulled Castro privately in my office, and chewed his ass out

    Essentially, the big media story would have been the managers tirade , but privately Castro would know the message .

    • fortyonenorth

      Yeah, I think Sveum reacted poorly. Anyone who’s cracked a middle school psyche book knows that negative reinforcement seldom works. Despite the mental gaffe, the overall trend in Castro’s has been positive over the last six weeks. By any scientific measure, publicly humiliating him will not provide any benefit whatsoever.

      Castro is having issues that transcend his physical abilities. The Cubs have to be aware of this and, hopefully, they’re helping in any way they can. Managing people (not just athletes, but people in general) is extraordinarily difficult. In my thirty years in the workforce, I’ve only encountered one truly “great” manager. He had an MBA from Princeton, a CVA a mile long, and a forty-year track record of motivating people. I won’t argue whether or not Dale Sveum can “manage” a baseball game. But what are the chances that he–who I am guessing never got beyond high school–is a talented people manager? Pretty darn slim.

      My guess is that Theo and Jed see the situation in a similar light and will have a private discussion with their manager. He deserves that kind of respect–in the same way that Castro deserved a more professional, proactive and positive response.

      • Ivy Walls

        your in the show, not AAA or AA or A+ and the raw basis at this level is produce or be replaced. That is all and everyone knows it, Castro has 2300 AB’s, 550 MLB games. Coddling will not apply, he had to take him out for the betterment of the team. The team demanded the discipline. And playing him today would be a mistake as well.

        • fortyonenorth

          Seal does a trick; seal gets a fish. Seal does a trick; seal gets a fish. Seal DOESN’T do the trick; seals gets publicly humiliated in front of the Sea World crowd and all the other seals.

          Jokes aside, it has nothing to do with coddling. We’re talking about basic human behavior here–there is no “jock-centric” exclusion. I doesn’t matter if you’re in the “show” or in your little cubicle, negative reinforcement doesn’t work.

          I’m not saying that Castro didn’t mess up or “deserve” to be disciplined–or whether Sveum was justified in doing it. I’m just arguing that the way it was handled was ineffective and will not benefit the team or Castro in the long run.

          • CubsFaninMS

            What if the seal simply doesn’t get a fish? It’s not humiliated, it simply doesn’t get rewarded. The seal was also not paid $65 millon to do the tricks over the course of 6 years. Under that context, the seal should damn well be prepared to perform.

      • jt

        A guy is given 40 acres and a mule. He is not given a manager. He is told to go out there and work it or we will take it away. That is motivation.
        The above applies to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Baseball players work in a team but they work for themselves. For them it is not about putting in their 40 hours and before going bowling on Friday night. They either focus on their training and their job or they start looking for the 40 hour load and the Friday bowling night. That is their motivation.
        Castro had money in the bank. He can go bowling on Wednesday after sleeping all day if that is what he wants. But is that what he wants? If he wants to keep his job then he’d better focus on his training and focus when in his actual labor. That is his motivation.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        fortyonenorth: “I’ve only encountered one truly “great” manager. He had an MBA from Princeton, a CVA a mile long, and a forty-year track record of motivating people. I won’t argue whether or not Dale Sveum can “manage” a baseball game. But what are the chances that he–who I am guessing never got beyond high school–is a talented people manager? Pretty darn slim. ”

        I think we all know people that are both incredibly educated and very lacking of people skills, and incredibly undereducated (HS diploma) that can motivate.

        My mother was a 2-year college person on mediocre HS grades, who ran a consignment shop for 20+ years with a lot of Chutzpah and admirable people skills. Never got rich, but she survived…w/o a husband.

        People come in all forms. I do agree that the intellectual and factual men have a place in baseball. I’ve written about, talked about it, and been either supported or crassly dismissed. Maybe my approach lacked – that’s why I am back in school trying to complete my MBA.

        Point is, the Cubbies are in a transitional stage where even our current manager could be replaced down the road. Castro is a difficult matter that needs more time, until the end of 2014 – unless some other team knocks and offers more than expected.

  • Die hard

    Sveum is a coward– anyone can bench the kid now– how about when he needed it 75 games ago when it was obvious to everyone else that the kids tires were on the shoulder– Fire Sveum now and replace him with any of the above

  • ed

    Not that it matters, but I believe it was Keith Law’s podcast.

  • Ivy Walls

    “When you wish upon a star?
    Makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires
    Will come to you”

    That’s where my focus is, and where I’d like to see him improve over the last month and a half. Whatever happens with Castro long-term (and he’s under contract for a long, long time), getting him back to the .300/.340/.425 guy who can play adequate or better shortstop should be the focus. The mental stuff … well, if he returns to being that guy, we might just have to live with it.

    BABIP: 2010(.346) 2011(.344) 2012 (.315) 2013 (.292)
    OBP 2010 (.347) 2011 (.341) 2012 (.323) 2013 (.278)
    BA 2010 (.300) 2011 (.307) 2012 (.283) 2013 (.244)
    SLG 2010 (.408) 2011 (.432) 2012 (.430) 2013 (.345)
    wRC+ 2010 (99) 2011(109) 2012 (98) 2013 (68)
    Errors 2010 (27) 2011 (29) 2012 (27) 2013 (15)
    DRS 2010 (-4) 2011 (-10) 2012 (+3) 2013 (-6)

    WAR(Fangraphs) 2010 (2) 2011 (3.2) 2012 (3.2) 2013 (-0.5)
    Value 2010 ($7.8) 2011 ($14.4) 2012 ($14.2) 2013 ($2.4)

    “Don’t you know, don’t you know, Don’t you know that you are
    a shooting star,
    Don’t you know, oh, yeah, Don’t you know that you are
    a shooting star, yeah,
    And all the world will love you just as long,
    As long as you are, a shooting star.”


    • MichiganGoat

      Now these are stats that show reasons to be concerned about Castro’s development, as compared to the Scrappy Stats people have been throwing around to bash Castro.

      • Ivy Walls

        Don’t they, coupled with the fact that he has 2300 AB’s, 550 Games be it 24 or 28 or whatever….he does not recognize the slider that starts a strike and is a ball, he is late on FB away and inside. he just got his first hit of the homestand, made contact on a slider in the dirt and beat out an infield hit.

        New scenery, new approach, new preparation, new everything.

        • MichiganGoat

          I can completely agree with this analysis, based on numbers not selective observation. He is struggling there is valid reason to be concerned and the stats support this I don’t need to know anything about his scrappy stats to make this conclusion. If he showed improvement I’d be talking about how bright his future is and still the scrappy stats would be meaningless. If argue that we need to hd off on giving up on him until this trend continues through next year, if he doesn’t show improvement by next trade deadline ill be supportive of trading him.

  • http://Permalink John Delia (papad)

    Another long term contract (castro) given out by Theo that looks bad. He did it in Boston and he should have learned. I like about 90% of his moves, but hate the long term contracts he gives out.

    • MichiganGoat

      One down year does not equal a bad contract, if Castro’s trend continues through next year then we can start to evaluate the contract.

  • QCfan

    I disagree with those saying if Castro was hitting .300, the mental lapses wouldn’t be a discussed issue. We have been talking about his mental lapses ever since he can into the league, playing them off as growing pains.

    Yes, if he were hitting for a higher issue, the lapses would be easier to take, but they are clearly not growing pains any longer.

    Castro’s lapses are a part of who he is. We need to accept that and work to get his hitting mechanics back to where they were, or cut bait. Another can’t miss prospect, the Cubs failed to develop properly.

    • Leo L

      i think your right that it may be discussed but I think the point is that he would be more forgiven. I think even Sven would have left him in the game if he thought the bat gave them a chance to win especially if they were in a penant chase. but since winning doesn’t matter right now, and he isn’t hitting then the mental lapses become more of a problem. as for castro caring. I tink it is silly to say he doesn’t care because he make mistakes. everyone has weaknesses and concentration can be a weakness. if that was his weakness, but he was hitting 300 with 30 homers then most would forgive his weakness. it would have been talked about until the next day and forgotten when he won the game with a homer. the problem is that he isn’t winning games right now. If he could be an above average shortstop (which would take hard work and dedication) then an occasional mental gaffe could be forgiven.

  • David

    This seems to be a pivotal point in Castro’s career. Also a pivotal point in Sveum’s career, as far as how the situation is handled. Easy to say now, but it looks like it could’ve been handled after the game/ behind closed doors.

  • Robert Johnson

    This could be a first.that some of us are excited about a pitcher that hasn’t pitched in two years. Well, he should be well rested.

  • Jon

    This all started with that little chit John Jay. I bet you think your real “grindy” with your hustle and your 2 first names. f me I hate the Cardinals

  • Jim

    I just refuse to believe that Castro doesn’t “have what it takes” to be a major leaguer. He showed a lot in his first three seasons with the way he hit but yes his defense was suspect. Last year his defense vastly improved. He didn’t have as many mental errors either. He was more focused. He also raised his HR and RBI totals, which I believe is something Sveum and Rowson started working with him on. The team started changing his approach last year to try to get more power out of him. He struggled after Jaramillo left but by around this time last season he started to improve and finished the season strongly. He had 14 HR and 78 RBI, a slight uptick over the previous season.

    Now this year they try even more to change his approach to make him a more patient hitter. But his natural ability is to put nearly any ball into play and get a hit usually 30% of the time. But because he’s letting some of those pitches go by, the ones that he would normally turn into hits, he is struggling. Starting the year without Barney at 2B didn’t help either, because he and Barney were a very solid 2B/SS combo last year. They were one of the tops in baseball actually. And as many have pointed out he and Rizzo have no protection in the line-up.

    I know these sound like excuses and I guess they are, I just prefer to look at them as answers to the question “why is he struggling so much?”

  • willis

    He’s back in the lineup today, hitting again in that 7th spot where he has been so effective and successful…wait a minute. Telling you a genius is running this ship.

    • Joe

      Where do you propose he hits?

      • willis

        2nd. It’s where he’s had all of his success in his career and he’s had a bunch. He’d get more ABs and more chances to fix what ails him. It’s another throwaway year, and like it or not this kid is going to be a piece of this rebuild going forward. May as well try what you can to get some momentum going for next season. Hitting him 7th isn’t doing the trick.

        If I had this wonderful lineup to deal with, I’d go: Dejesus, Castro, Schierholtz, Rizzo, Lake, Castillo, Barney, 3B

        • wilbur

          He can’t hit second because he isn’t a team player. He won’t sacrifice, he won’t try and hit behind the runner. He is too undisciplined to hit and run. You have to let castro be castro, a swing at everything slap hitter with no plate discipline. That isn’t what a winning team needs in the 2 hole, at least if you want to be able to play small ball. He doesn’t have the power to bat in the middle of the order, not really an rbi guy either. So you can bat him 7’th or 8’th.

          • caryatid62

            So much Wrong in this comment…

            • Kyle

              He can’t hit second because he can’t hit.

          • willis

            Well, this isn’t a winning team, is it? By my watch the cubs have around 40ish games to fix this problem this year. My point is when we loved his hitting, he was hitting 2nd. He’s had all his success there and hardly any in other spots. It’s about fixing him at this point, so I’d try to put him back where he was successful before. I understand the other side of the argument, but I’m desperate at this point.

  • waittilthisyear

    body language demonstrates *SOMETHING*. see: jay cutler.

    • caryatid62

      Yes, it usually demonstrates ridiculous fans and overzealous media-driven narratives.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        And getting hit by 300+ pound roided out freaks of nature more then any other QB might have something to do with it.

  • wilbur

    His body language told the cardinal third base coach and the runner on third base he could tag up and score. The data on the play was recorded as a put out, an rbi, and an earned run. No error was recorded for Castro so the numbers do not tell the story do they. That’s how a 300 hitter can get to 2 all star games, get a big contract, and still not consistently help his team win ballgames. I hope he does improve his numbers so he can be traded. The cubs won’t win a championship with him at shortstop, he’ll continue making mind numbingly bad baseball plays. Who can forget his getting picked off second base, by the catcher., quantify that one.. These are bad plays in little league, Castro signed a 60 million contract, time he starts to earn it.

  • cubzfan23

    Castro’s mental lapse yesterday was bad of course. I thought the headline from MLB was a bit ignorant though considering bases loaded and no runs scored in the first would of been a better story.


    Castro never looks like his head is in the game. If I was Baez I’d be thinking that Short is up for grabs … because it is. Too bad the Cub’s gave this kid 70 million bucks. Which is a big part of the problem. They should have made him work a little harder. He has had off the field issues which speaks to his maturity level. But more over I don’t get the feeling he is thinking strategically about his position… what to do when this or that happens or that happens. He is just reacting.

    • caryatid62

      We have absolutely no idea what he’s thinking. We know he’s not performing well. That’s it.

      We have absolutely no way of getting inside his head to determine what he’s thinking or why he’s thinking it or what amount of money has anything to do with what he’s thinking or why he’s thinking. Simple as that.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      What off field issues? He got drunk and took a drunk girl back to his apartment? No one else has EVER done that.

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    How about trading him for Stanton from Miami? Neither player seems happy where they are at.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Now that’s a trade I’d make right now. Miami wouldn’t.

      1). Stanton has more value than that
      2). no way Miami takes on Castro’s contract

  • cubzfan23

    In every sport players tend to have a sophomore jinxs. Castro didn’t really have that and I think this is that year he is having his. I look for him to bounce back next year.

  • Die hard

    Sveums quote yesterday sums up why he is not cut out for the job— he says he prefers 2000 minor league at bats for Baez and other minor leaguers— given they will get 400 tops per yr he wants minimum 5 yrs in the minors ?!! What a 🐴s patut!!!

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