Kevin Gregg Had a Bad Day and Other Bullets

kevin gregg cubsIt’s been a particularly newsy 24 hours for the late-September Cubs, and I will be getting to all of it in due time. Thanks in part to a wedding today, and in part to the horrifically spotty Internet service where we are, a portion of the items to discuss (mostly the Dale Sveum/Joe Girardi stuff) will be saved for tomorrow or Monday.

  • Kevin Gregg had a bad day yesterday. After serving up four runs in the 9th to the Braves, Gregg met with the media and let loose with some thoughts that apparently had been percolating below the surface during his ugly performance. Sahadev Sharma has a pretty good blow-by-blow account on his Twitter feed, but the gist is: Gregg misunderstood when Dale Sveum told him the Cubs were going to give Pedro Strop a look in the closer’s role over the final couple weeks (Gregg thought he was losing his job permanently). Gregg had a terrible outing and says the closing change affected him out there on the mound (“For an organization to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go in another direction.’ A little professional courtesy would’ve been nice.”). Theo Epstein hears about Gregg grousing to the media and immediately calls Gregg in for a meeting. Epstein clarifies to the media that Gregg misunderstood what Sveum had said, and indicates that he’s pretty upset with Gregg taking this to the media. There remains a possibility that Gregg will be released today.
  • You can see more of Gregg’s comments here.
  • The part about Gregg’s rant – well, ok, one part – that I don’t understand is how he thought it was a good idea to tell the world that being upset about his role going forward caused him to implode on the mound. That’s not going to help him in free agency, and only underscores the Cubs’ apparent position (in his mind at the time) that he isn’t a long-term closing option. (To say nothing of whether the Cubs were otherwise interested in bringing him back in a non-closing role. I’d say that’s pretty much out the window now.)
  • Yesterday, Gregg finished his 50th game with the Cubs, triggering a $500,000 bonus, per Patrick Mooney (you can’t tie bonuses to things like actual performance (i.e., total saves), so “games finished” is used as a proxy – but you “finish” a game, even if you blow a tie game and your team loses before another pitcher comes in). If the Cubs were going to be shady jerks, they would have pulled him from the closer’s job a week ago, and saved themselves $500,000. Doing so would have been entirely consistent with the idea that they are planning for the future, and want to give other guys – who are already under contract for next year – a look in the closer’s role. The Cubs did not do that, and did right by Gregg. Whatever happened with the miscommunication should have been secondary.
  • Unsurprisingly, Welington Castillo’s season is over (there’s only a handful of games left anyway) after an MRI revealed that the “sharp pain” in his knee was a partially torn meniscus. He’ll have a scope performed, and will be out of baseball action for four to six weeks. It’s a painful injury (I’ve done it), but it’s not one that you can’t come back from, even as a catcher. He’ll rest up in the offseason, and should be good to go next year.
  • Thoughts from Jason McLeod on a handful of Cubs prospects. One interesting bit? McLeod suggested that the infield at Iowa next year could feature Javier Baez at shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara at second, and Christian Villanueva at third. That last one is the interesting one. Villanueva is a legitimate prospect who put together a solid year at AA, so moving up to AAA and starting at third makes a ton of sense. But what happens to Mike Olt? Sure, if the Cubs don’t pick up a third baseman in the offseason, he’ll get a shot to make the big club … but what if he doesn’t? Olt’s bat circa 2012 would play a number of places outside of third base, but if he’s not going to be a great bat going forward, then he’s going to need to be a great glove at third base (which he was at one time). It’ll be interesting to see how this glut is worked out. The Cubs have already said that Josh Vitters is moving to the outfield. And then there’s Kris Bryant, who could be pushing for a spot in AAA within a couple months at AA next year.

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

139 responses to “Kevin Gregg Had a Bad Day and Other Bullets”

  1. hansman

    So the Cubs are so broke they couldn’t be concerned with managing games finished to avoid the payout?

    A small piece of evidence that, I think, shows the cubs aren’t nearly as broke as has been portrayed. Concerned about saving money where they can, you bet. That’s jus smart.

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      I think doing right by their players is figured into their budget already. Cudos to the FO for being honest about this.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      I think a good sign that they are broke is when the president of the team told you they were maxed out on a payroll of 90 million bucks.

    3. Kyle

      Or they just knew that refusing to let a guy close out a game at 49 when 50 would earn him a bonus would result in a union grievance and a ton of ill-will with future FAs.

      1. Scotti

        Ill-will? Yes. Grievance? No. There would be no grounds. The team has no obligation to give him those GF. If they want to go in another direction, and have a legitimate reason to do so, that is their right.

      2. hansman

        Ehh, they could have done it a month ago when he was in the mid-40′s and had a rough outing. Installing Strop then would have been far too easy to explain.

        Budgetary limitations, sure. Broke, no.

        1. Blublud

          I’m not even sure their is budgetary limitation. I think the fact that the President and the owner contradicting each other in statements actually proves the Cubs are not broke. They may be struggling to explain the plan without looking cheap. However they have a plan and they are sticking with it. If and when they decide their is a player they want to sign, I’m pretty sure the money won’t be a problem.

  2. Frank

    Javier Baez at shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara at second, and Christian Villanueva at third. So what does that mean for Castro? If they have plans on trading him, they blew it by giving him that contract. Personally, I hope they move Baez over to second and see who wants third really really bad.

    1. hansman

      Absolutely nothing. It says a lot about Baez’s defense, though.

      1. The Dude Abides

        Meaning what? 44 errors in 123 games. IF Baez is coming up sometime next season they have to find his position. Assuming Castro is here it won’t be SS.

    2. J.L.

      That means nothing for Castro. Baez will play shortstop in Iowa and then move to 2B or 3B when he’s called up to the big team, as Theo indicated recently.

      1. Jay

        How is Olt even in the conversation? Since he got beaned, he’s either lost his mojo or his vision. His hitting this year at AAA was dismal.

    3. cubchymyst

      Their are no LH hitters that project to be part of the Cubs future. It will be interesting to see how the front office keeps a balance line up of RH and LH hitters.

      1. J.L.

        There are some nice prospects in the system who bat left-handed, like Vogelbach, Candelario and Alcantara. But yeah, there’s still a considerable imbalance which worries me a little.

        1. cubchymyst

          I like Alcantara and Vogelbach. I really like Candelario. However, Candelario projects as 3B or 1B and Vogelbach projects as 1B or DH and both are a good 2 to 3 years away. It be nice to see a DH in the NL in the next 2 to 3 because that would allow another bat which could help balance out the line up.

      2. Joe

        Why is everyone obsessed with a balanced lineup. When the Cubs had one of the top offenses in baseball it was a VERY unbalanced lineup. They tried to “fix” that and we haven’t had an offense since.

        1. Voice of Reason

          Having a balanced lineup is nice but certainly not a requirement. You just need good hitters that can make contact.

          1. Jay

            Yes, exactly. The obsession with getting a left-handed bat was what brought Milton Bradley to town. Need I say more?

            1. Boogens

              “The obsession with getting a left-handed bat was what brought Milton Bradley to town.”

              I understand the gist of your point but the we shouldn’t confuse the need for a LH bat with the poor choice that was made at the time. Would you be making the same oint if Hendry would have gone with Raul Ibanez instead of Bradley at that time?

              1. bloctoad

                Ra-ool, so cool!

      3. Part of the Core

        Rizzo is no slouch.

    4. praying the cubs get ready to win

      Just wondering, if the Cubs go after Tanaka and get him. If we offered the Rays Castro, Rizzo and Olt and maybe some international money, heck toss in Gregg or let him go, what would the Rays toss in in relief pitching or minor leaguers. I say this, because a SP staff of Price, Tanaka, Shark and Jackson looks really good. We have the 2b, SS and 3b of the future and I would be interested to see Vogelbach at 1b. I am not giving up on Castro or Rizzo but we need to give up something to get Price and we have the IF coming. Bryant when he is ready maybe plays 3b or 1b or the OF IF everyone works out. Curious to hear what everyone thinks?

      Then in a separate deal, we could trade Jackson for salary relief to someone like the Yanks for some prospects and to give young SP a chance to make the club if we don’t have the money or choose to make this trade.

      Our 40 man roster would definitely be solid.

  3. Frank

    I have to.wonder about Dales communication skills. How hard is it to say:”hey Kevin I really appreciate the job that you’ve done for us.over the next couple of weeks we would like you and Pedro to share the closers role,so we can see how he handles it. You are not Being demoted by any means.we just want to evaluate him,”
    Maybe dale did say something like that and Gregg was the one with the problem but after watching dale throw players under the bus,I guessing it’s him.

    1. Justin

      Dale’s communication skills are garbage for sure. He has said so many weird things that don’t make sense to the media this year you have to wonder what the heck he is telling his players on a daily basis. That with the fact the 2 most important players in the franchise have had terrible years with Castro and Rizzo (to a lesser extent) you have to wonder how safe Sveum’s job really is, even without having a good roster.

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        Gregg should have kept his mouth shut…pouting about loosing his starting role is horseshit. 1. he has lost his pitching mojo in the second half…2. regardless of whether he has done well and deserves the closers role, the Cubs still need to evaluate their talent for next year, and Gregg has already shown what he has for the league scouts for next year. We are not competing Gregg, so just grow up and play your roll. Most teams are going to understand this move by the Cubs w/o seeing it a slight against the player…3. They didn’t cheat you out of your money, though they could easily have made an excuse to do it by trying to develop next years closer earlier.

  4. cubchymyst

    Bryant looks destined for the outfield.

    1. Scotti

      Based on?

  5. Aaron

    Kevin Gregg was aware of this fast approaching 50 games closed bonus and perhaps Dale wasn’t. If that’s true than Gregg should have shared his concern with Dale. If however Dale knew about the bonus, and didn’t clarify that with Gregg, than shame on Dale who is supposed to be a player’s manager.

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      Hard to make any judgements on what was said or how it was said, but Gregg’s comments came after he already finished his 50th game and got his payday…it is on him for either not knowing he made his bonus, or expecting the manager to tell him he made it, and the team did right by him.

      1. Patrick W.

        Gregg blamed his poor outing on his (mistaken) belief he was being demoted. When he came into the game there was hardly any guarantee he would finish it, as it was a tie game. It’s entirely consistent to think he was concerned about the bonus, which led to him pitching poorly, and after the game he explained his poor performance with the anger at being demoted part while not mentioning the bonus he had just made. There really isn’t a way to know if that’s the case (unless he says so) but it is not inconceivable.

  6. Brains

    I’m with you guys, his career was in the toilet and he was given a great opportunity, including a bonus payoff. It’s the end of a horror-movie baseball year and he’s frustrated, but always keep it in house. Rule for any job.

    1. Gutshot5820

      It’s hard to keep things in house when your manager is constantly embarrassing their players in public. Players follow their leaders example. Monkey see, monkey do.

  7. CubsFanSaxMan

    So, you make a negative comment, you get released? A little harsh in my book. Bye, bye Jackson and Shark. Too many negative comments.

    1. Brains

      The FO already looks so bumbling that they don’t want the kind of public dissension that the last administration suffered. It made Hendry’s crew look bad, and Theo got rid of a bunch of perceived loose canons just for that reason. But should we release Gregg? It doesn’t even matter. This season is lost and we’re not resigning him.

    2. ClevelandCubsFan

      Any company that has an employee sound off publicly in a way that makes the company look bad will strongly consider firing/releasing that person if the company is well-run at all. You demand professionalism. This isn’t a small breach like jawing your manager, not realizing a camera was around. This is intentionally going directly to the media without sharing those concerns with your manager, GM, or president to seek a resolution and instead blaming your poor performance on their performance. That’s going to get you canned pretty frequently in the real world.

      Even IF Dale is a poor communicator, it doesn’t change the fact that if you’re concerned or upset about something someone says, the professional thing to do is either (1) decide it’s not significant and let it go OR (2) decide it’s significant and try to seek out resolution and reconciliation if necessary.

  8. Aaron

    Just imagine the look on Greg’s face when Theo came into the office to talk with him and Dale. He must have been livid and I don’t blame him one bit. I also hoped Theo talked with Dale and asked him why there was any miscommunication in the first place? In all, this is perhaps the last straw for Dale running the ball club next year as manager. I say they may bring him back in another capacity with the club (not on the field though) so both parties can save face.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      The last straw? Really? Maybe if Dale clears did something wrong. But one things I’ve learned is that no matter how much you strive to communicate clearly and honestly and transparently with people, sometimes someone is going to take exception and question your heart and motives. All you can do in that situation is try to sit down with the person and air it out and try to clarify again. It’s just part of managing people.

      I can understand why Gregg thought he was losing the job, or was concerned about it. But he has been in the business long enough to know better. Sveum didn’t actually say that.

      For example, taking a look at Strop as a closer could simply mean making abnormal pitching changes to ensure Strop gets placed in high leverage situations. (The kind of thing that drives people nuts on this board because they can’t understand why Dale would use his bullpen like that! But it’s because he or the FO is looking for something rather than try to win a championship.)

    2. wilbur

      The thing is, all of this venting etc is being done by the more experienced veterans, jackson, shark, gregg. These are the guys you expect to keep things in check and show something like self restraint if not professionalism. That things are getting a little ragged around the edges with the teams more experienced players isn’t a good sign for Sveum. The door may be open if Girardi wants to make the move. There is going to be a change in manager sooner or later, may as well make the change when you can get a replacement that fits the bill. To me Girardi does fit where this team is now, not because he is from here, or he played here, or even his success with the yankees, but because of what he was able to do with the marlins. To me, that gets him the job.

      1. mjhurdle

        what did Girardi do with the Marlins that lands him this job?

        he had a decent team (J. Joshson, D.Willis, A.Sanchez, M Cabrera, H. Ramirez, d. Uggla) and got them to finish 6 games under .500.
        Im not saying Girardi did a bad job, but i don’t see anything there that stands out as something i absolutely have to have for a manager.

        1. hansman1982

          He also under-performed their Pythagorean winning percentage by 2 games.

          1. Scotti

            Pythagorean theory is based on runs and not whether a team would have HAD those runs in the first place if the manager had NOT created an environment that was suitable to score and prevent runs. Variance in Pythagorean is essentially statistical noise.

        2. Scotti

          “what did Girardi do with the Marlins that lands him this job?

          he had a decent team (J. Joshson, D.Willis, A.Sanchez, M Cabrera, H. Ramirez, d. Uggla)…”

          J. Johnson – Rookie (ROY 4) who has gone on to have a long career.
          D.Willis – Enigmatic starter with anxiety issues put together his last decent season.
          A.Sanchez – Rookie (ROY 9) who has gone on to have a long career.
          M Cabrera – Slugger produced his best season of his first seven seasons.
          H. Ramirez – Rookie (ROY 1) who has gone on to have a long career.
          D. Uggla – Rookie (ROY3) who has gone on to have a long career.

          I would say that is EXACTLY what the team is looking for! A manager who creates a disciplined framework that allows young, talented players to thrive and start long, prosperous careers. It helps that he has a winning pedigree, is exceptional with the media and deeply understands Chicago Cub history.

          1. Professor Snarks

            Nice post, Scotti

            1. Scotti


          2. DocPeterWimsey

            So, one year of Girardi created all of that? That staggers credulity by just a unit or twelve.

            1. Jimmy James

              He’s that good, I mean c’mon he’s an ex cub! Girardi for mgr, grace for hitting coach, Maddox for pitching coach and hector Villanueva for base running instructor = world series

              1. Jimmy James

                Maddux…stupid autocorrect

              2. Scotti

                Yeah, who wants a manager who is know for success AND communication AND hard work AND developing young players AND creating an accountable atmosphere? Managers don’t even matter. We should just let the players manage themselves…

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  That’s the NY Sports media hagiography of Girardi. These are the same people who think that Derek Jeter is a better fielder than Ozzie Smith, after all.

                  The “developing young players” claim is especially ludicrous: he has had almost no young players to manage. And as for the “accountability” aspect, do you pay any attention to what a nuthouse the Yankees clubhouse is on the best of occasions?

            2. Scotti

              You apparently didn’t pay attention to what Girardi was doing in Miami at the time. In “one year” he DID create a disciplined framework that allowed for their young, talented players to thrive and, obviously, start long, prosperous careers. And, with the Loria circus all around them, that stability and framework was very necessary. He has functioned much the same in NYC albeit with more veteran players. He provides the players with a stable environment despite the circus. It takes far more than just talent to succeed in baseball.

              For what it’s worth, if it takes a manager more than one spring training to create an atmosphere of hard work, accountability, discipline, professionalism, etc., it ain’t gonna happen. He’s lost the players already and you aren’t going to put the toothpaste back in the bottle.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                No, he was there for one year while it happened. That means all of diddly and squat.

  9. Tom G

    Maybe the problem with Rizzo and Castro is Rob Deer! I mean look at his stats, hmm, very similar to Rizzo’s! Deer had a .220 career avg. with a lot of pop! I guess the old saying “those who can’t do…teach.” But, I didn’t think they were supposed to teach players to do as they did! I agree with a lot of you guys that Dale’s in-game moves are questionable and I think we should go after Girardi if he is available. Maybe keep Dale around to run bunting drills, LOL, or he could be special assistant to Theo and sit in on meetings with players to help them fully understand what is going on!

    1. Deacon

      Deer SHOULDN’T be an issue. If he is having an effect then it would mean that not only is Rowson, the guy with ‘Hitting Coach’ on the business card, an idiot but also lazy.

      1. Tom G

        your right Deer shouldn’t be an issue. was only pointing out that since he arrived, power numbers have gone up while avg has gone down.

        1. Scotti

          The first problem is that the Cubs have a Hitting Coach (James Rowson), an Assistant Hitting Coach (Rob Deer), a former hitting coach as Manager (Dale Sveum) and a VERY involved Front Office in regard to Hitting Philosophy (Hoyer/Epstein) who have all been “in” players’ ears. That nuts. Hitting doesn’t work like that.

          The second problem is they took a guy who was a career .307 hitter and messed with him for nearly a year and a half before they decided that he just needed to be left alone. Regardless of whether you dig their philosophy, the execution part failed and it took WAY too long for them to admit it failed.

  10. bigbluebear

    I’m kinda done with Gregg, wasn’t that great said something stupid time to move on. Now on a more important note the future. I think the front office without letting it be known just showed us the future plan at 3rd base. Olt starts out with the job, if he produces he keeps it if by the time Bryant is ready for his short stint in AAA Villinueva either gets his shot at 3rd and olt is out or he quickly becomes trade bait. Should either one of the two mentioned above make the job theirs then Bryant plays outfield at AAA. If neither one shows the ability to keep the job they leave Bryant at 3rd. I write about this because I think it’s an awesome plan and will let us know just which one of the three is our 3rd basemen of the future. Man the future looks bright no matter how horrible the present really is. Always darkest before the dawn and all that.

    1. Tom G

      I like this problem, its a nice one to have

  11. Aaron

    Kevin Gregg signed a minor league deal with the Cubs in Spring Training, following being released by the Dodgers. The minimum salary for the 2013 season is $490,000. Gregg made $5.8 million in 2012. In all, the games closed bonus may have doubled his salary this season. He must have thought Dale and the Cubs were letting not going to let him close any more games this season since they were looking at other options. You can only imagine what was going on in Gregg’s head when the next day Dale calls him in to close out the game. Sounds like one big misunderstanding. Gregg was still wrong in going to the media to air out his frustrations and question the integrity of the organization. That’s why Theo had to step in, which was a smart move on his end. I don’t think they should release Gregg over this. Perhaps they ask him to make an apology to the entire team today.

    1. Brains

      Yeah an apology and a quiet end to the year makes everyone look good. That’s the likely outcome here. Who wants eggs on their face after a brunch with long lines and no bacon?

  12. Eternal Pessimist

    Gregg made next years 40 man roster questions a little easier.

  13. Die hard

    Uh– the Cubs could not have ended Gregg’s season short of bonus entitlement and avoid a Grievance from PA– but he wasn’t in future plans anyway– in fact Cubs have no clue who is going to be closer next year– heck they may even talk to the Dodgers about Marmol now that he has shown again he can contribute–

    1. cubfanincardinalland

      Yeah, that’s going to happen. And they will bring back Milton Bradley also.

    2. CubsFanSaxMan

      Watch for Marmol in the playoffs. He just might play an important role in any Dodger success . . or failure.

    3. TWC

      TOTALLY! Marmol can come back next year as a starter!

      1. DarthHater

        Yep, the Dodgers have now given Marmol 19.1 innings pitched in 19 appearances. Clearly, their plan is to stretch him out for a future starting role.

  14. Dustin S

    The million dollar question for me, is if the Cubs do somehow reel in a Girardi (or comparable) to manage…how does that impact the FA approach this offseason? I would have to think it would crank the activity up somewhat (and not just flip chips), although they definitely would still not go all-out. I’m sure the huge Red Sox turnaround from last season hasn’t been lost at all on Theo, in fact it’s probably a big driver to make a move like with Dale.

    In the end Gregg’s situation is kind of moot with 8 games left in the season. The Cubs are probably better off from a PR standpoint just accepting his apology and leaving it at that. I still wouldn’t expect him back though.

  15. Aaron

    The Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Thursday the team could use a leadoff guy.

    “It definitely helps to have a bona fide leadoff guy,” Sveum said. “You see what Choo does. He’s a little different because he drives the ball out of the ballpark. But that .400 on-base percentage, that accumulates to a lot of runs and a lot of runs sometimes in the first inning.”

    There happens to be 2 premier leadoff guys available this off-season. Choo, 31, has a career .389 on-base percentage, .424 in a 2013 season for the Reds in which he’s making $7.4 million. Ellsbury, 30, has a .350 career OBP and is making $9 million with the Red Sox this year. Both players are looking for multi-year deals.

    Both players are represented by superagent Scott Boras, who will more than likely use the Cubs’ need for a leadoff hitter to help drive up the bids for these 2 players with teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays, etc.

    1. Voice of Reason

      The cubs could use a lead off hitter, a number three hitter, a clean up hitter, a number one starter, a number two starter, a closer…..

      This team has more holes than swiss cheese.

      Forget about ellsbury or choo. The cubs aren’t signing wither. They are going to continue to develop the kids and integrate them into the bigs. They will fill in with free agents when they determine what positions they don’t have youngsters to fill.

      If they sign any free agents this off season they will be like achierhoktz and dejesus. No big names yet.

      1. wilbur

        true, no big names unless international FA or maybe a manager. Making a big hire for manager might provide enough buzz to placate the impatient fans and provide a boost to the rebuild on the field too. Plus it wouldn’t set you back a compensatory pick like a big name free agent would.

        I’m calling the bottom here folks. Hopefully, (without screwing up the draft pick), from here we go up. The decks are cleared, the organization is realigned, and the fans are getting restless. A couple of solid off season moves, maybe a new manager, a good haul in the draft and some wheeling and dealing with the international pool money, gets next season off to a more optimisty start. Then if you add a few prospects like Olt, Baez, and Bryant to the mix next year and it will start to become “must see” tv on cubs new media deal. Still will be some ups and downs with young team but the progress will become more visible on the field at Wrigley. Time to get on board!

  16. ruby2626

    Bottom line is Gregg should have stopped being the closer weeks ago and we could have saved half a million to boot. Declining performance and needing to see how Strop and perhaps even Grimm would do are valid reasons. Really stupid to keep throwing someone out there every game who you know is not in your future plans.

    1. Rich H

      I don’t think it was dumb to keep Gregg in the closer role as much as bad planning. We do not know what was promised to him when he was signed but to keep talking about changing roles for the last few days while continuing to send Gregg out for the nineth was not being very honest to Strop or Grimm.

  17. RWakild

    I have been thinking about this for a day. Wouldn’t it have been smart for Kevin Gregg to lose the game yesterday so he can get the final day of the $500k bonus. If he had pitched good and not allowed a run, it wouldn’t have kicked in. Knowing that Strop was going to get the next save chance and there were going to be very few chances in the next few days, I think that this could be a very real possibility. $500k is a lot of money.

    1. Jay

      If that was the plan, I think I would have given up my runs and then quietly dressed and left the clubhouse, not shoot my mouth off and draw attention to the situation.

  18. Gutshot5820

    This Gregg fiasco is another example of why we need some premier free agents that know how to get on base and provide leadership for the ball-club. It is not feasible to surround our young core with a group of hard working has been-s and never will be-s and expect the kids to follow their example. The kids need successful veterans they can look up to that know how to get on base and act and play the game the right way.

    I remember when Fukudome just joined the Cubs. He was a obp and walking machine. The players saw that how successful he was and soon everybody started taking walks. Not saying that was the primary reason, but things like that rubs off on others. It’s great that we have so many promising players, but you have to surround them with some star players that can show them what it takes to be successful in this league, instead of always just hearing words from coaches, Sometimes you have to pay successful free agents that fit the mold of what the FO wants in order to provide example and veteran leadership, because young players need to learn from stars, not leftovers from the scrap heap the Cubs have been picking up lately.

    Same goes for the coach. It is obvious Sveum is a good guy and runs a somewhat discipline club, but he is not a leader in my opinion that knows how to work with big league egos and knows how to squeeze every ounce of talent from each player. He is a strict, non-flexible disciplinarian short on communication skills. I think he would be awesome as a bench coach or even a college coach, but not a big league ballclub.

    1. Voice of Reason

      Yeah because premiere free agents don’t cause trouble. Lol

  19. Jay

    And all that OBP was about he brought to the table offensively, and you need a lot more than that for a corner OF. Hendry made some great moves and could always sign the right pitcher, but he couldn’t find a OF in free agency even with a map and compass.

  20. The Dude

    Eat shit, Kevin Gregg, because you suck again!

    1. True(ly) Blue

      To “The Dude”. I’ve heard that folks with limited intelligence use profanity a lot because they have limited intelligence. Comments like yours really have no place on the internet and don’t add to any kind of meaningful discussion. The Cubs and Gregg both caught “Lighting in a bottle” with his season. Even a person with limited intelligence should be able to recognize that.

    2. The Dude

      To “True(ly)”. Sometimes I use profanity when I talk. Other times I just be quiet. Lighten up, brother.

  21. LARRY

    Someone explain why it makes any sense to play Baez at one position throughout his minor league experience, then move him to a new position when he arrives at The Show? Wouldn’t it make sense for him to practice the new position and develop some expertise in the games that don’t count — rather than trying to learn during the games that do count? If he’s the second baseman or third baseman of the future, start him there now. Or maybe the brass thinks he is the shortstop of the future and there’s a train with Castro’s name on it headed out of town (which would be too bad, because he’ll be a great seven-hole hitter one day, when there is finally talent around him, the pressure is off and he’s left alone to be the guy who led the league in hits a couple of years ago). Anyway: if I’m wrong about deciding Baez’s position of the future while he’s still in the minors, someone explain it.

    1. cms0101

      Shortstop is a much more difficult position than any of the other infield positions. Darwin Barney played SS even with Castro in the majors and then when he was called up moved immediately to second. He won a gold glove within 2 years of his debut. If you can play SS, you can play 2b or 3b. He’ll be fine, wherever he moves to. One other thing to consider, god forbid if they decide to trade him for a star player, Stanton, Price, etc., a SS prospect is always more valuable than a 2b prospect. If/when they decide to call him up to the majors in 2014, you’ll probably see a trend in Iowa where he starts to play 2nd a little more. You may also see Alcantara playing in the OF to allow that to happen.

      1. Rich H

        In total agreement. I really expect Baez to be a power hitting 2nd baseman at some point for the Cubs but his value is twice as high as almost ready shortstop over any other position.

    2. macpete22

      Manny Machado (Albert Almora’s cousin) did it. Turns out, he’ll probably win the gold glove this season too

      1. Reality Check

        machado did not have 44 errors in the minors…..big difference between him and baez. baez should be moved at iowa; silly for him to try to hit MLB pitching AND worry about a new position; complete lack of foresight…….but he’ll come to the majors and be screwed with like castro too so it won’t matter…….let’s take all-stars and make them mediocre.

        giardi anyone?………

        1. cms0101

          He will get moved at some point before he gets called up. They did the same thing with Lake, although his call-up got rushed due to injuries. But they had moved him to OF in Iowa just before he was brought up, probably in preparation for when they really wanted to bring him up. Fielding ground balls at 2b is not so drastically different from fielding ground balls at SS. But if he’s athletic enough for SS, why not challenge him over there for awhile until they have an opening? Hell, if Castro gets injured next year, he could always come up and stay at the position. The Rangers have done the same thing with Profar, and it has worked out fine. Positional differences are way overblown. The Cardinals make most of their players as versatile as possible. If you’re fundamentally sound defensively, chances are you can move around the diamond. Sure, there is something to be said for staying in one position to get accustomed to it, but it’s not mandatory. Flexibility can be just as valuable.

          1. Professor Snarks

            What Texas is doing to Profar has not been ‘fine’. Profar has had a bad year, probably not an indication of his talent. Why would we want to put our best prospect in that position?

            Keep him at SS until they know his promotion is eminent, then move him. Give him a few weeks at his new position in AAA.

            1. Blublud

              What Profar has done this year is an indication of what I always thought he was.

              1. BHam10

                In the MLB at 20…

                1. Blublud

                  I feel Profar is a light hitting, decent defensive SS. Look at what Castro did a the same age. He hit .300 in back to back years, including leading the lead in hits his 2nd year. Look at Trout, Harper and others who top prospect perform well at that age. I’m not saying he should be as good, but he also should have never been the #1 prospect in baseball.

                  1. AB

                    I don’t know what to say if you are using Bryce Harper and Mike Trout as benchmarks for how 20-y/o top prospects should perform in the MLB.

                    Surely you are smart enought to realize these are the exceptions to the rule, right??

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      They are more than the exception in Trouts case we may be seeing a generational superstar developing (hard to think he could be better than he is right now isn’t it?). Comparing anybody to Trout is guaranteed to disappoint.

                    2. Blublud

                      Not really using Trout, Harprr and Castro’s skill as the benchmark. It was more to say that just because a player is young, doesn’t mean he can’t perform. I would use his experience as an excuse before age. Nothing in Profar numbers or even defense, and I said this at the time he was the top prospect, suggested he was the best minor leaguer in baseball. There are guys putting up numbers far superior offensively, at similar ages as was at s given level in the minors and playing just as well defensively, that can’t get that ranking. Profar was definitely overrated ranking wise. The guy will probably never .300, so unless he develops more power, I don’t see him be a very good offensive player.

                      I’m all for moving prospect as fast as possible, but the Rangers may have let his hype dictate his promotions, because he was moved to fast.

                    3. hansman1982

                      Le sigh.

              2. Professor Snarks

                BluBlud, I’ve always felt Profar’s type of player tends to get overhyped a bit by prospect guys, but no way should he be judged by this year. First, it is his first year at 20, second, Texas has not made it easy for him to succeed.

                1. DarthHater

                  “it is his first year at 20″

                  Unless Profar has a time machine, playing a second year at 20 is going to be difficult.

                  1. Blublud

                    Well, it depends when he turns 21. He could get a 2nd year at 20 for a short while.

              3. hansman1982

                How does this not surprise me?

                1. Blublud

                  Because I predicted Profar would struggle when he got to the league. I believe it was you who I debated with. Profar numbers this year don’t reflect what his career will be like, but I don’t see a star player when I look him. I see a guy who could be very good defensively, while not hurting his team offensively. He will hit enough to support his defense. However, I would be willing to bet profar never sees an all-star game at SS. And on a level of Machado, Baez, Correa, Bogearts and other SS of the last few years he is not. Maybe more like Nick Franklin.

    3. MichiganGoat

      Because he is more valuable as a SS and switching to 2B/3B is a regular thing teams do, he has more value as a trade chip as a SS and if Castro is moved he would be ready. Most teams have their best infielder (not counting 1B) as a SS in the minors. It is the most challenging position between the three and making the move with limited or even no game time experience is not unheard of. A SS is part of more plays and sees more balls than a 2B/3B. Glad they aren’t announcing a move until it’s necessary.

    4. LARRY

      Interesting thoughts. Thanks, people.

  22. Illini Iceman

    Gregg didn’t do poorly yesterday because he was upset due to Strop taking his job or because he tanked on purpose to get his bonus. He did poorly because he sucks which is why in April he was out of a job until one of the worst teams in baseball came calling only because they had one closer that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and another with a bad elbow. He had a lucky couple months and good luck with getting that spring training invite in 2014 with some other team.

    1. cms0101

      Thank you! I don’t understand how anyone is fooled by the save numbers Gregg has put up. He’s been awful since July. He had a good couple of months in the first half, and the FO should have pulled the trigger on a deal before he imploded. Once he was shelled on ESPN against the Cardinals, they lost their opportunity to move him.

      1. Scotti

        “He’s been awful since July. He had a good couple of months in the first half, and the FO should have pulled the trigger on a deal before he imploded.”

        From July 19 to September 19 Gregg had a 2.81 ERA. Over those two months he had 15 saves out of 18 opportunities. Of those blown saves, he pitched a second scoreless inning in one to help the Cubs win. HIs high second half ERA comes from eight runs in two outings. I’d rather my closer give up his runs in bunches than piecemeal them out. Fewer blown saves/loses that way. He’s been getting the job done–even in the second half–and that’s about as much as you can ask for a team that sips through straws as badly as this team does.

        1. Blublud

          I agree. Greg has not really been as bad as people say. As much as Sveum sticks his foot in his mouth, Greg should not have even been question.

          3 players fighting with the manager in 1 week. Seem pretty clear who the problem is.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Are you saying Gregg should be resigned?

            1. Blublud

              I don’t have opinion either way. If he can help us win, yes. If not, no.

              I judt feel Sveum throws players under the bus, or babbles to much, but as soon as Greg does it, it’s a problem. I don’t like double standards.

              1. MichiganGoat

                I’m not sure where you are getting the “Sveum threw him under the bus.” In Milwaukee he med with Gregg to tell him Strop would be getting some closer opportunities, Gregg thought it meant he was no longer the closer, then after last nights game he vented to the media, he met with Theo & Sveum again and it was clarified that he wasn’t being removed offically as the closer. So where did Sveum “throw him under the bus?” I could agree that maybe Sveum did a poor job communicating the reality to Gregg but then again Gregg could have been unable to comprehend English. But I’ve not seen anything where he was thrown under a bus.

                1. Blublud

                  I never said that Sveum threw him under the bus, just Sveum has at times thrown players under the bus.

              2. DarthHater

                Yea, and where does that Theo Epstein guy get off giving media interviews all the time and then bawling out players when they talk to the media? What a double standard!

                1. Blublud

                  You love twisting

                2. Blublud

                  You love twisting word. Nobody even mention Theo. He is very professional and strategic when he speak. Sveum on the other hand is a babbling fool. He has thrown Castro, Rizzo, Jackson, Marmol all under the bus just this year. Sveum has no right to be upset.

                  1. DarthHater

                    If Sveum’s a babbling fool, then he’s a babbling fool. but it has nothing to do with any double standard, which was my only point.

                    1. Blublud

                      My point is Theo has obviously not approached Sveum for making stupid comments in the media, so why approach Greg. I agree Greg was wrong, but Sveum is not exactly setting a good example.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      How can you honestly say you know anything that happens in Theo’s office absolutely? Or are you the all seeing eye of cubdom?

                    3. Blublud

                      Because if he is, then Sveum should be fired without pay instantly for constant subordination, because he sure is not listening to him.

                    4. Blublud

                      Insubordination I mean.

                    5. MichiganGoat

                      Alright Blu I’ll let you keep believing your narrative regardless of the fantasy you have woven.

                    6. Blublud

                      Dude. What fantasy. Why can’t someone have a different opinion from yours without it being some fantasy. If someone thinks Greg had been decent, Sveum is a bad manager, Lake will be a good player, Lake should start more, or Rizzo has had a down year, you think there not as knowledgeable as you. Its not a fantasy.

                      I feel Sveum runs his mouth to much, and I don’t like that Theo doesn’t shut him the fuck up. But you call out a guy who has one bad moment like he the Devils. Damn, I have heard the FO call out Sveum in public at all.

          2. hansman1982

            Never miss an opportunity to throw Sveum under the bus.

            1. DarthHater

              Hey, Joe, I just threw a hamburger under that bus!

              1. hansman

                Ohhhh the humanity!!!!!!

            2. Blublud

              How did I. I have actually said I would bring him back next year. No need to dump him now, unless the Cubs are really hoing for it next year. He deserves to have his contract honored. No different then I feel for the player. I just hope he learns to stop talkinh down his players so much.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        Again: the FO could not convince anybody that Gregg’s good numbers were real and not just a lucky run. Gregg has been a bad pitcher for several years now: and it was going to take a lot more than a couple of good months to convince FO’s of contending teams that Gregg actually was good again.

        1. DarthHater

          We need this guy to run our FO:


        2. TOOT

          Yes. But what is your point. Has to be more to this.

        3. TOOT

          What was your point Doc?

  23. AdamAE24

    This might be unpopular, but I don’t think Kevin Gregg is totally at fault here. (As a side note I like the front office and new ownership, but hear me out).

    Whether or not Kevin Gregg is an idiot, he’s 35, and he is a guy who is playing for that one last contract. He clearly worked hard, reinvented himself a bit, and had a nice season. He’s not the best player in the league, has had ups and downs, but if you save 30+ games in the MLB, there is probably a spot for you somewhere. When this front office talks about guys as flipable assets, talks about trading certain players mid season, and they don’t get moved (a la Gregg), it isn’t surprising that a guy is going to get a little P.O.ed when he’s out there trying to earn a living (yes Gregg has made $20 million over his career, but if you had a talent, you’d try to get paid for that talent as long as you can) and is coming off a bad day. Couple that with what I’m sure was a quick call into the office, hey we’re going to try Strop out at closer, and not knowing what his status is for next season, I can see why the guy was upset.

    The whole we might just release you thing looks really petty to me, especially considering there is only a week or so left in the season. There are other ways to handle it from a PR perspective.

    1. TOOT

      Nah. why blab to the media? Talk Sveum and Theo. This guy is done as far as I can see,

      1. Blublud

        Because sl Sveum does is blab to the media.

  24. Bill

    Samardzija for Bauer who is with me?

    1. Blublud


    2. macpete22

      Shark for Corbin

  25. Jed

    Brett, what have you heard about Cubs possibly pursuing a trade for Carlos Gonzalez? Cubs Den has written up something about it a couple times, but I haven’t heard anything from you.

    1. AB

      terrible idea

  26. Mike F

    I like Theo a lot, but by any definition his handling of some of the trades last July, media situation leading up to this, and the major league roster deserve criticism. His handling of rebuilding the minors has been excellent, but that doesn’t excuse the mistakes he has made with the core of talent, and yes, I think he shoulders a good deal of the responsibility for Castro as does Castro. I said we he came and he talked endlessly about his offensive philosophy that Castro didn’t fit, didn’t have the capacity to be the type of hitter they want and they should trade him. That’s not to say I don’t support Theo and think he’s a great mind, I do. But I think from Ricketts to everyone involved they have made their share of mistakes.

    I also think they have talked far too much in the wrong settings to the media. Maybe more problematic they have sent mixed messages especially Theo and Ricketts even contradicting one another with Ricketts saying they don’t have exciting ML players and Theo has plenty of resources. Theo seems to contradict that.

    And when it comes to who has been thrown under the bus, seems to me it starts with Sveum who has been the scapegoat for awhile. Theo put the roster together and there is plenty of signs he’s micromanaged some. He has said more than once he knew there was no way this team would win much. Seems to me, despite protestation, Theo cut Sveum adrift and honestly with the Score interview, someplace he should never have interviewed even if I find them entertaining, put his owner in a very difficult spot with the whole resource thing. I am a Theo guy and have been from the start, but to excuse some of the young players regression and just ignore Theo’s mistake and pin the tail on the Sveum to me seems very wrong.

  27. Blublud

    This is a fair view. I disagree with Sveum being thrown under the bus, but it is fair criticism of the FO. I like Theo, and don’t really have any major complaints about him. I don’t like how our team as turn into a revolving door. I like rooting for the same players, close to the same team for multiple years. That may be my biggest complaint. But he has made decent moves IMO. Sveum’s win/loss record doesn’t bother me. His leadership style, which is horrible, does. I’m starting to think he will not be back, as it appears the players may be turning on him.

  28. Mike F

    I hope people understand, I’m not for firing everyone and I agree with a lot of that. I guess I could only find issue with the what the players want in a manager and turning on him. I could care less about their pampered concerns. Their checks are there for them constantly, so if they don’t like, bag groceries at the Co-op awhile, it might be refreshing.

    The other thing that concerns me about a change, is the question of who. The media has thrown out a lot of ridiculous names that simply aren’t in the cards for a multitude of reasons. I really want to be clear, I am a Theo guy, but the blame on this is on a lot of shoulders not just Dale Sveum and if they fire as a scapegoat that is wrong.

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