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 discussed several players with the media on Friday … here are the highlights:
From Cubs.com: “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.”
From Cubs.com: “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.”
From Cubs.com: “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
Well, there is the update … and I’m sticking to it.
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