Nothing Nuts About Dale Sveum

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer introduced Dale Sveum as the new skipper of the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Sveum was even keeled and very matter of fact throughout his press conference only showing his personality after being asked about his nickname. Sveum talked about accountability, playing the game the right way and no longer making excuses for losing. To put it simply, Sveum came across as just a baseball man … something the Cubs organization has needed for a long time.

From the Tribune: “That’s my biggest job, and my biggest pet peeve is to see guys not play the game hard on a consistent daily basis. It’s just not acceptable. You have control over that. You don’t have control over striking out and giving up a home run or whatever. You’re doing your best. You don’t want to be embarrassed, but you’re embarrassing the rest of the organization, the people who pay your salary and the city that comes out 35,000 strong every game to watch you walk down to first base and not give everything you have.”

No one knows how Sveum and the roster Epstein and Hoyer provide him with will perform next season but for one day it was good to hear a Cubs manager say what those that have watched this team play has been thinking for years.

Here’s the update that includes roster moves, info on Sveum’s coaching staff, Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood, Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Solar … plus news, notes and rumors.

Dale Sveum Day
Dale Sveum discussed several players with the media on Friday … here are the highlights:

Starlin Castro
From “He can hit. When he came up to bat, I wasn’t comfortable. I’d rather have [Aramis Ramirez] up there than [Castro]. There’s no way to pitch Castro. He doesn’t have a whole lot of holes. You’d talk in advance meetings, ‘I don’t know what to do, just throw over his head and maybe he’ll swing at it.’ He’s that good.”

On Castro’s defense: “He needs a lot of polish there. Whoever I bring in as the infield coach will get started right away on that. There’s a lot of things we see just watching him. I’m an infield guy. I watch and see a lot of things that are broke down and why those mistakes are happening. There are things with his feet and positioning that will help him out a lot.”

Carlos Marmol
From “One, [hitters] finally just decided all they have to do is sit there and look for a slider. They don’t have to worry about the fastball, because even if he throws it, it’s probably a ball. He has to get back to some kind of fastball command. When you have that kind of breaking ball, you have to use your fastball as a weapon as well. You’ve already established the breaking ball in so many hitters’ minds that now it’s a surprise attack to throw fastball strikes.”

Carlos Zambrano
From “We all know his nine [lives] are up. Talking to Theo, [Zambrano] realizes that and he knows it, and he knows he has to win back the respect of his players as well as management. At some point we’ll sit down and talk. You try to get a grip on the guy and try to understand where he’s coming from because he’s out of strikes.”

The Coaching Staff
Dale Sveum said Friday that he would soon start the process to fill out his coaching staff. Sveum shot down the rumors of Robin Yount joining his staff.

Sveum is supposed to speak with Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode and Pat Listach before conducting interviews for his other coaches. Jaramillo, Strode and Listach are under contract for one more season.

As for Mark Riggins, it appears his days as Cubs’ pitching coach are over. While Sveum spoke about having a bench coach that he is close to and trusts, Sveum indicated hiring a pitching coach would probably take the longest of all the positions on his staff.

Sveum said he has a list of guys he will interview.

Mike Maddux’s Statement
Mike Maddux released a statement through the Rangers thanking the Cubs for the opportunity and congratulating Dale Sveum.

“I’d like to congratulate Dale Sveum and the Chicago Cubs on Dale’s appointment as manager. Dale is one of the best baseball people I know and will make a fine manager. His tireless work ethic, commitment, and communication skills give him the recipe to succeed.”

“I would like to thank the Cubs for the flattery and opportunity to be considered a managerial candidate. Possibly in the future a managerial position may come to fruition for me.”

“I am blessed to be with a quality organization, the Texas Rangers, and am looking forward to the 2012 season with high expectations. The DFW area is a great place to live and my family loves it here. Also, I would like to thank the fans whose support of the Rangers has made our jobs even more gratifying.”

“P.S. To the fans I’ve met at the airport, grocery and home improvement stores, thanks for your support. It means a lot.”

40-Man Roster Moves
Jed Hoyer made seven roster moves on Friday on the final day to file their reserve list. The Cubs purchased the contracts of Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Jeff Beliveau and Matt Szczur and added them to the big league roster. The Cubs outrighted Esmailin Caridad, Luis Montanez and Kyle Smit off the 40-man roster, which now stands at 34 players.

News, Notes and Rumors
Carlos Zambrano was hit in the face by a line drive in his third start in the Venezuela Winter League on Friday night. Zambrano was taken to the hospital and received stitches in his lip.

Theo Epstein wants Kerry Wood back … so it is just a matter of time before Wood is officially a Cub again.

Dale Sveum becomes the third manager Starlin Castro has played for his short big league career.

Scratch Grady Sizemore off the Cubs’ list. Sizemore is very close to re-signing with the Cleveland Indians.

Jason McLeod watched Jorge Soler, the 19-year Cuban outfielder, play on Friday. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will join McLeod on Monday to watch Yoenis Cespedes. The Red Sox have a workout scheduled with Cespedes this weekend. The Cubs are very high on both prospects and figure to be in a bidding war to land either of the two players. Cespedes cannot talk to teams yet. He is expected to establish temporary residence in the Dominican Republic at the end of the month (November 25-30). Once that happens, Cespedes would be able to declare free agency soon after establishing residency.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs will have around a $200 million baseball budget for 2012 … that is the entire baseball budget: minor leagues and Major League, amateur draft and international free agent signings. No word on what the payroll for the big league team will be next season.

The Cubs have had a lot of conversations with agents and a lot of conversations with other teams but according to Jed Hoyer, the Cubs are not close on any deals.

According to Bruce Levine, some of the Cubs roster changes will begin to take place between Thanksgiving and the Winter Meetings (December 5 – December 8).

Sveum on Film

Click Here for Audio of Dale Sveum on XM Radio with Mike Ferrin

Click Here for Audio of Theo Epstein on XM Radio with Mike Ferrin

Well, there is the update … and I’m sticking to it.

For the latest on the Chicago Cubs, follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Jason Penrod

    I like him, he seems like he just oozes confidence.  Just what the Cubs’ organization needs.  Good job Jed and Theo.

  • Brp921

    I’m really glad to hear Sveum say that his biggest pet peeve is players not playing hard and that it is not acceptable. That was my biggest pet peeve with a few of the players last year. Hopefully that kind of play will be curtailed next year.

    • Ripsnorter1

      That explains why Aram’s Cubs’ career is behind him:

      He didn’t want to run to first base.

      • diehardcubfan

        The interesting thing will be to see how Sveum will handle Soriano when he is dogging it.

        I wonder how long it will take Soriano to be in Sveum dog house?

      • Brp921

        I almost added that I wondered if ARam’s agent had advance imformation.

  • Joe

    STAT of the day… the last 40 years only Dusty Baker and Jim Riggleman EVER managed again after their stint as Cubs manager…..

    • SuzyS

      Joe- That stat means nothing here…STAT of the day – Cubs have not been back in the winner’s circle at the WS since 1908…
      And I believe, that’s the stat we are looking to change. If Sveum does a good job here…He’ll be able to write his own ticket.
      Both your stat and the one I just posted are direct evidence of why we needed a culture change.

    • Jim_Tinley_Park


      There was also Jim Marshall. He managed the cubs in the mid 70’s and he managed the Oakland A’s in 1979.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Leo Durocher managed the Houston Astros after being fired by the Cubs. Fired by Cubs at All-Star break, 1972, and hired by the Astros to finish out the 1972 campaign, and then for the 1973 season.

      And frankly, Tom Riggleman should not have been a manager in the first place, second place, or third place (San Diego, Cubs, Nats).

      And some of those managers were successful, competent, and even Hall of Fame candidates. Besides Durocher, there is Lou, for example, as well as Herman Franks, and possibly Don Zimmer. These all had successful careers and were competent baseball men. And all of these managed the Cubs in the last 40 years.

  • Ripsnorter1

    It seems to me that $200 million for the entire operations means that the Cubs’ payroll will again be reduced. Last year the target was $140 million. With the emphasis on drafting and signing players, and the loss of Aram’s contract, as well as Pena’s and Grabow’s, it may mean that the Cubs have a payroll around $110 million or less–even with a few FA pickups.

    • SuzyS

      Rip, Don’t Team Theo’s compensatioin fall under “baseball operations”?
      How does that work? Anyone?

      • Neil

        Suzy, first glad to see you back and posting again.

        If you are asking what I think you are, yes Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the front office’s salary is a part of baseball operations. Also, a good average to use for the minor league teams is $6 million per team.

        • SuzyS

          Neil, Thanks for both the kind words and info.
          The info was exactly what I was asking for.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs’ payroll 2012: 

    Cashner–probably $450,000Dempster–$15m ($14m plus $1 m deferred from 2010)
    Garza–was $6 m, but this is his arby year–$9 m?
    Marmol–$7 m
    Marshall–$3.1 m
    Samardzija–guessing $1 mWells–arby elgible guessing $1.5 m
    Wood–guessing $1.5 m
    ZAMBRANO–$18 million dollars of crybaby
    PLUS a FA starter for $9 m (guessing Edwin Jackson)
    PLUS a few $414,000 middle relievers

    You’ve got $67+ million dollars in THIS PITCHING STAFF. 

    Soto–arby elgible, last year $3 m (guessing $4 m)
    Castillo—$414,000K. Hill–yes, arby elgible, and probably sticks with the club at $1 m
    Baker–last year, $1.2 m
    Castro–$440,000 last year, maybe $1 m this year?
    DeWitt–arby elgible, possibly $500,000
    Soriano–$18 m
    Byrd–$6.75 m
    LaHair, LeMeihu, perhaps Colvin, and an assortment of others at or near the ML minimum of around $414,000. 
    FA 1st Baseman? 

    If no FAs, then that’s roughly $33.5 million for the position players.

    TOTAL DELIVERED PRICE–$100 million.But we also have to pay Quade $900,000.

    So I figure that Theo has just about $10 million for FA acquisitions in 2011.

    • Tony_Hall

      You have $10M, plus the $9M you penciled in the pitchers list.

      That’s $19M, if they only go to $110M.

      I believe you will see a new way of looking at the payroll number.  It’s not money burning a hole in JH’s pocket, it will be considered an asset, that you can turn into a different asset.  Just because they have the cash, doesn’t mean they will spend it every year, just to spend it, at the major league level.

      In other words, if a difference maker like AGon, comes about, they will have the cash to add that difference maker, because they won’t max out their budget, in one off-season, just because payroll was freed up.  If JH was still around, he would spend every dollar this year, use escalating contracts, to use up all of the next few years available payroll, and do it on one year wonders.

      This year, I do expect a lower major league payroll, as we shed players (so far ARam, Pena, Grabow, etc), and use less expensive players to fill their roster spots. 

      • J Daniel

        And some of this savings may have to go into the eating of Soriano’s contract.

        • Tony_Hall

          So to speak, but it is already in the budget, so cutting him or trading him (if and when any of this happens) will not change his budgeted amount much, but his roster spot will most likely be taken by a young, 0-3 player, who will be at the minimum.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Correct about the $10m plus $9 m. But it is a foregone conclusion that the Cubs will add a starter for 2011 because we simply do not have enough starters. 

    • Schwimmer

      No CUB fan could argue — that we have not given Zambrano many chances to perform and play the game like a professional should.  We have been more than patient with BIG Z.

      Having said that — I think Z is a special player with a big heart, great competitiveness and talent.  I would like to encourage my fellow CUB fans to “root for him” to return to that talented pitcher he can be.  (He pitched extremely well for 5 innings, yesterday.)  I am sure he realizes that the “new” CUBS will not tolerate one more incident of bad behavior from him.

      I don’t think he wants to live with the “shame” and humiliation that he knows will come with another outburst.

      As SVEUM said:  “He is out of strikes.”

      So, let’s stop the Z-bashing.  

      Instead, I say:  Pull for the guy.  The reality is that we owe him $18 million.  No one is going to give us any big part of of $18 million to take his contract.  And, we need pitching.  So, we are better off being “charitable” one last time.  We are better off believing that he finally “gets” that this is his last chance.  We are better off hoping that because he has pride, is competitive and has talent — that he will pitch his ass — off and help us win some games next year.  He has a lot to prove.  There is no telling what a man can do when he has the right motivation.

      Z has every reason to be as excited about the future of the CUBS as we do.  He knows who THEO is.  He knows who SVEUM is.  They are now in control.  I say he’ll respect his “handlers” who will keep him on a very “short leash.”  (As will his team mates.)

      I say that if THEO (and SVEUM) want to give him a final chance — that’s great.  The least we can do is to “pull” for Z.  Not continually deprecate Z for his past bad behavior.  It serves no purpose other than being “negative.”

      At least, hoping that he can return to the pitcher that won 8 straight games at the end of the 2010 season — serves a higher purpose.

      That’s why I am rooting for Zambrano.

      • J Daniel

        You are 100% correct and they will try to make him an asset they can move at the deadline before absorbing his salary to.  I believe they will move Soriano as well as Soto, Byrd, and possibly Marmol.

        • Schwimmer

          Great point!  That’s another reason why THEO is so much smarter than Hendry.  Even if you don’t want Z…it serves no purpose to “throw him under the bus.”  Why not be positive about the guy as a way of giving all the other teams a sense that he is an asset.

          I am not attached to keeping Z if they can get some real money or a great trade for him.  

          And, I hope and pray that SORIANO is gone before the season starts (along with SOTO and BYRD).  I’m not sure about MARMOL unless you can really get something great in trade.

      • SuzyS

        If Z was to retire today….IMO he would be remembered as a great underachiever…A talent unrealized and wasted. I do root for Z to do well
        as all Cub’s fans should…so we can unload him by the trade deadline.

        • John G

          Even if he’s 14-3 and we’re in a 3 way battle with the Cards and Brewers?

          I can dream can’t I?

        • Brp921

          With the division wide open, who knows maybe the Cubs could be in contention at the deadline. If thats the case and Zambrano is pitching well, then I would vote to keep him through his contract and let him become a free agent. A draft choice could end up netting a better return than a trade.

        • Schwimmer

          I agree.  But I don’t think his talent is totally wasted.  I just don’t think it has been fully realized.  And, don’t forget that he’s played for the 
          “stinky” CUBS.  If he played with the YANKEES or BOSTON he would 
          have won 16 to 18 games a year.

          Glad you root for him to deal well.  And, if it results in being able to unload him in a great trade…so, be it.

      • Brp921

        It being a contract year should motivate him as well.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I am rooting for Zambrano, but man alive, he’s been on the team since 2001, and he is the one who has proved himself over and over and over to be a crybaby. So I don’t think there is a legit reason to take offense at the term “crybaby.”  But you have my permission to take offense at it if you wish.

        I want him to succeed because it is going to kill us if he doesn’t. Eating $18 million isn’t good for anybody–Zambrano included. It is evident that his problem is he is making way too much money. The best case scenario is that he comes back and pitches like a champ and he’s dealt away. BUT that is very doubtful.
        Was listening to 670theScore on 19 Nov 2011 at 9:30 am, and Steve Rosenbloom said that Z shows all the signs of steroid rage. 

  • Tony_Hall

    One of my favorite lines, I have used with coaching kids, and in life in general.

    “You can only control one thing, the amount of effort you give.”

    • JimBo_C

      In my coaching days our players had practice shirts with the team name on the front and “ATTITUDE and EFFORT” on the back.

  • JimBo_C

    From the Sun-Times

    “Epstein was not only hired as president of baseball operations to end 103 years and counting of losing, but to give the culture on the North Side an enema. Sveum was hired to administer it.”

  • Neil

    Update on Zambrano from Raul Lopez

    i just talked to a close friend of him and told me that he was ok, at home, with some pain around the mouth….and 6 stitches

    he told his manager last night not to take him out of the rotation..that´ll be fine by wednsday or thursday

    he look at easy…complete domination of his rival…..93-94-95 his fastball and the sinker was sinking.

    he looked absolutely SHARP…..overmatching the batters

    • Tno13

      Hey Neil,
      First, thank you for this great site and all the work you do.
      Your post leads me to believe you have access to the video of  the Venezuelan league. Can you tell me where and how I can get those games (or any winter leagues for that matter)?

      • Neil

        Thank you.

        Here is a good search to put into google for the live streams

        live stream for venezuela winter league baseball

        Some of those feeds are not the safest and depending on how you have your firewalls, virus protection and spyware protection setup they may or may not work. I hesitate to recommend any of those feeds for that reason.

        My advice is to be careful because you might download more than just a baseball game.

        • Tno13


  • Neil

    From Buster Olney: Source:Rule that team cannot play another club from same division in Division Series will most likely be eliminated in new playoff format.

    • John_CC

      Good, I hate the that advantage given to the Wild Card. The WC team should get no special advantage.

    • cc002600

      good move. I never understood the point of that rule.

      Now I wish they would expand divsion series to 7 games.

  • SuzyS

    I’m just so excited by the new direction of the Cubs…Young, vibrant faces with desire to win and the knowledge of how to do it.
    Compare today with 2 years ago with JH and Lou….not much hope then…and no reason to get excited.

    That being said…look at how long it took Texas to get there with a loaded minor league system.

    After having Quade…all the Cubs had to do was hire a competent manager…Not necessarily a great one. Although I personally I still would have preferred Sandberg or Maddux….Sveum seems like a solid choice…time will tell.

    It is going to be really great fun to watch all the moves and changes. I look forward to the June Draft…as our World Series this year….and the finally possible evolution of the Cubs out of  Jokeland. Milton Bradley RIP.

    • jw

      Glad to see your posts again…Figured duimping Hendry and company would please you

      I think the biggest remaining decision that will have a huge say in if this franchise moves to a serious contender is the pitching coach…obviously Riggins was plan B after Rothchild bailed but a great pitching coach like the one they have to the south of us will be like adding 2-3 quality pitchers and do more to help the prospect of perennial playoff appearances as much or more than any other factor.

      After than please get a great defensive field manager behind the plate Theo

      • John G

        Is Leo Mazzone available?
        If you can stand his rocking on the bench.

      • SuzyS

        Thanks jw…and yes, I’m extremely happy JH is no longer at the helm….JH is a classy, hardworking guy…but was just overmatched in the gm position.
        I agree that the pitching coach decision is important.
        Also, I still believe that you build championship teams by being strong up the middle defensively….C/2nd/ss/cf. (I’m not ignoring offense here but defense is imperative)…(See “The Adventures of A. Soriano in the Outfield”).

        The Forecast for tonight is still: “Dark, followed by Dawn.”

  • Neil

    After 10 yrs as minor league field coordinator, Dave Bialas reassigned to minor league manager.

  • Demitri

    We probably wont get both Soler and Cespedes so.. If you had the choice who would you pick?

    • Neil

      I really like what I have read about Solar. 19-years old, power bat, outfielder  with a Hanley Ramirez-type frame. Would cost a lot less than Cespedes … plus the Cubs would have time to develop without any expectations from the fan base due to the money.

      • Zach

        Im with you Neil, i would rather get Solar, since he would cost less and is younger.

      • Aaron

        Agreed, but what I think might happen is they make an aggressive offer for Cespedes too, and see where it goes. The reason I believe that strongly is there are NO above average players in their prime for free agent OF. The only one I could think of that is close to his prime, and would be an above average player is Kubel. Problem is, Epstein doesn’t want to lose. He wants to win….but with an eye on the future as well.

      • Demitri

        Thats what i thought. Soler if signed could join the wave of talent expected to come up in the next five years

  • Neil

    Junior Lake (SS) and Josh Vitters (DH) named to the 2011 AFL Top Prospects Team

  • Aaron

    Given the way Epstein, Hoyer, and even Sveum have talked about Zambrano, Marmol, Soriano, and even Soto, I strongly suspect at least 2 of them will be gone by Opening Day.

    I’m curious to see how things shake out, and what additions (if any…well, that’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll make some). 

    Right now, here’s how it’ll likely shake out, (assuming none are included in trades for Hoyer and Epstein):


    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    2B-Barney, Baker (unfortunately, I think Epstein might’ve been the one that liked him and wanted to trade for him when he was with the Red Sox)
    3B-FA/trade, LeMahieu
    CF-B Jackson, Campana
    RF-FA/trade, Colvin

    Obviously, anything can happen with trades, Rule 5, free agency, etc., but I strongly suspect at least 2 FA will be signed for the rotation, and since they have a ton of relief depth in AA and AAA, I suspect they won’t allocate money there for FA, though in my opinion, if Marmol is traded, they should sign someone like Broxton or Lidge. 

    Given what Epstein, Hoyer, and Sveum have preached about running balls out, hustling, etc., I would be absolutely shocked if Soriano remained with the team, and I thought Epstein and Ricketts’ comments about being able to eat money for veterans that didn’t fit, most likely was directed at Zambrano, Soriano, and Byrd.

    • daverj

      I just don’t see it.  It’s not what I ideally want, but I expect that Zambrano, Soriano, Soto and Marmol will all be on the Cubs opening day roster.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You are most likely correct, imo. And so will Marlon Byrd be there, too. 

    • Ripsnorter1

      If you watched LaHair for five or ten minutes last year in the OF, you’d know that he isn’t an OF. If Theo/Sveum put him in the OF, then all the talk about defense is just talk. But I think Theo/Sveum are sincere, and you’ll see LaHair at 1B.

      Colvin? Doesn’t make the team, imo. 
      Byrd ain’t going anywhere, imo.
      But of course, we shall see. It will all be very, very interesting to see how things shake out.

      • Anthony

        The game is funny. We have a few outfielders in the minors who are tooled, and fundamentaly ready defensively, their bat needs to catch up.

        What will be interesting to see is if the ORG remains patient.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Yes, it is all going to be intensely interesting. 
          Look that our OF:Colvin: can’t field much, can’t hit at all
          Campana: can’t field much, can’t hit the ball out of the INF
          Brett Jackson: can field, strikes out too much

          And don’t forget that K.Hill is still on the roster, and I think, will make the team. 

          • Jay from sandwich

            Colvin play average to above average defense and has a good arm. I believe with the right coaching he is an everyday player. Sanberg got him playing pretty good in the minors and I think he lacks confinced after qu touched him this year. I also wonder if you are better at basket ball than baseball. Everyone knows lahair is either a first ball or a DH!

          • Ripsnorter1

            I can’t wait until Spring Training so we can find out if you are right. 

  • paulcatanese

    I would think Sveum would be very strict on defense, especially the communication between middle infielders and outfielders. Saw the end of his career on MLB, he was a promising player, who was cut short for that very reason.

  • paulcatanese

    Interesting comment Sveum on Castro being feared more than Aram as a hitter, I would agree with him all the way on that.

  • John_CC

    “I don’t have a problem with confrontation” – Sveum on how he deals with players that don’t play hard.

    I am really really getting to like the manager really fast.