Sveum Talks Accountability and Other Cubs News and Notes

Prior to Monday’s game with the Reds, Dale Sveum was asked about the comments he reportedly made on Sunday about Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. As it appeared on Sunday, Sveum’s comments about Rizzo and Castro possibility being sent down to Iowa were misunderstood.

Dale Sveum explained that everyone on the team is accountable, including himself and his coaching staff. Sveum knows that he has full support from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer but that doesn’t mean that he is exempt from being accountable for the way the Cubs have played.

Ian Stewart

While multiple reports have indicated that Ian Stewart could be activated from the DL at some point during the homestand that begins on Monday (April 29), Dale Sveum said prior to Sunday’s game that the team is in no hurry to bring him up from Iowa.

Stewart has been rehabbing in Iowa and was 1-for-17 with three walks, one run scored, eight strikeouts and one RBI prior to Monday’s game. Stewart went 1-for-3 with a double, a sac fly, two RBI and a run scored without a strikeout on Monday.

Dale Sveum indicated that Stewart had to “get hot swinging the bat” before he would be activated. Sveum pointed out that Luis Valbuena has been solid at third base and doing a good job.

News Bits

Matt Garza reported to the Smokies on Monday to prepare for his rehab start on Wednesday. Garza completed a bullpen session on Sunday and reportedly everything went well. Garza is expected to make at least four rehab starts before being activated from the DL. Garza will be making his first appearance in a game since last July 21 in St. Louis.

Jonathan Gray continues to impress with the draft just around the corner. According to a report from ESPN, the right hander “continues to look like the most dominant pitcher in college baseball.” Gray pitched six shutout innings with two hits while striking out 10 and not issuing a walk in his last outing. ESPN pointed out that Gray was facing one of the worst teams in college baseball. Gray sat in the upper 90s with his fastball. Gray figures to be a top five pick, if he doesn’t go in the first two picks in the draft.

Sean Manaea, the Indiana southpaw, continued his struggles in his last outing according to ESPN.

Brandon Phillips explained the comments he made following Darwin Barney winning the Gold Glove last season.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
Share on Fancred
  • Tony_Hall

    Lots of talk about Castro and his defense. Definitely a bad last week with the glove. So lets take a look at MLB SS.

    Leading the league in errors is Starlin Castro with 4 errors……no wait, Ruben Tejada is leading the league with 6 errors…..no wait, Ian Desmond of the World Series aspiring Washing Nationals is leading the league with 7 errors. Well these 3 are all terrible with the glove, obviously, as errors is the tell all of defense….maybe not so much anymore.

    Also there are 4 more players with 3 errors at SS already. Cedeno, Escobar, Florimon, and Lowrie and13 SS’s already have 2 errors – Aybar, Cabrera and the other Cabrera, Crawford, the other Escobar, hardy, Nix, Nunex, Pennington, Peralta, Ramirez, Ryan, Sellers.

    In all there are 20 SS’s with 2 or more errors. Now just last night Castro made a play that not all SS’s would have made in his diving catch of a low line drive, and then made a play to the right and deep that he just missed getting the out. Of course on that play he grabbed his arm and seemed to not feel comfortable the rest of the night throwing. But those plays, that the average SS wouldn’t make create outs where his errors don’t. But if he didn’t make the spectacular play, then that wouldn’t have gotten an out, but not looked abad on him. But as we can see so far the difference between the 20th ranked SS on error is just 2 plays. Do you think he has made outs on 2 plays this year more than the average SS? I do

    Now do I wish these routine play errors would stop…of course. but even the best defensive players have balls go through their legs and balls fumbled in transition trying to throw. Castro will continue to make errors and spectacular plays. I am believe the spectacular out weights the errors.

    • Ray Ray

      You mentioned how you can’t believe how fans don’t like DeJesus? DeJesus is an average mlb player but I can’t believe how fans do not see what the Cubs have with Castro. Sure, he has some flaws like every player….but the kid is still only 23. He has outstanding tools both offensively and defensively. He is a special talent and he is by far the best player on this team and the one true building block.

      • John_CC

        23 years old with 500 games at the MLB. His age is less and less of an excuse. I would agree a lame excuse.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        DeJesus is above average. He’s an OBP machine and plays good defense. He could be a starting outfielder on a world series winner.

        • BosephHeyden

          If that were the case, he wouldn’t have signed with the Cubs last off-season.

      • Tony_Hall

        We can argue whether Dejesus is average or better (slightly better, but better none the less), but his style of play is why I can’t figure out why more fans don’t like him. He goes all out, and is fun to watch play.

    • paulcatanese

      I made the same argument two years ago comparing Castro with Banks, Aparicio and Rizzito, they all make errors.
      What I would point out that several of the throwing errors that Castro has made falls into the 360 degree turn on balls hit to his left, he has not mastered that one.
      Most of Castro’s errors borders on poor judgment when he makes throws he shouldn’t have.
      He does have the ability to make the spectacular play and then miss on the easy ones.
      I was impressed with one play he made on a grasscutter hit directly to him, true to fundemental’s
      he kept his glove on the ground and came up with the ball, very tough play, no way to know if the ball is going to come up on you, takes guts to make it.
      He is still at the 50-50 stage that I don’t know if the play will happen of not, but he is improving.

      • 07GreyDigger

        I know that using fielding percentage isn’t a good number to use when it comes to defense, but in his three years in the league, Castro has improved each season. They haven’t been huge leaps, but they are improvement nonetheless.

        2010: .950 27 errors
        2011: .961 29 errors
        2012: .964 27 errors

        If you look at his UZR/150 rating which has become more of an industry standard, he’s been more inconsistent, but still improved. To put these numbers in context, Jimmy Rollins won the gold glove last season and got a 7.6 rating and a 5.1 for his career.

        2010: -2.0
        2011: -7.5
        2012: 2.0

        So he’s definitely, not elite defensively, but he is getting better.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I agree Paul. If Starlin will just play within himself it will limit his errors.

    • paulcatanese

      One other thing Tony, you as well as Aaron mentioned Castro’s arm after one particular play, it looked as though he may have hurt it. I didn’t watch the game only highlights, so I couldn’t tell. I hope it does not turn out to be a rotator problem, cold weather does not help. Did he make an off-balance
      throw?

      • Tony_Hall

        Went to the hole towards third and fired a bullet that was just a split second late, then started moving his arm around. I doubt it is any more than having over thrown a ball, take a few days of not throwing his normal rockets.

    • John_CC

      Why only 2 plays more that the average SS? I have watched a single game yet so I don’t know. Do you think he has made 4 plays that the avg. SS couldn’t make? That would better to make up for the errors on routine balls.

      Last year Castro committed 27 errors, 8 more than the next worst, Asdrubal Cabrera and Alcides Escobar.

      • Tony_Hall

        I believe he is far more than 2 plays more than the average SS. I believe he more than outpaces his errors with great plays.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

          Castro is only .04 above the league average for range factor this season. Last season he was .43 above… Let’s hope he improves defensively, so far it’s not looking good

          • Tony_Hall

            The eyeball test comes into play on this whereas stats really can’t. It is more of a play by play basis.

    • cc002600

      I know it won’t happen, but I’m starting to think if they could package Castro with a couple other lesser prospects to get G. Stanton, they should consider it..,

      If you could have middle of the order of Stanton, Rizzo, & Soler, you won’t need that much offense at SS.

      I like Castro but I’m not sure his defense will ever be that much better then it is now. Plus, he will never be a high OBP guy. When it comes to plate discipline, I think most players are what they are….hard to change it.

      • Ray Ray

        So far he is a career .335 OBP guy. He hit 14 HR’s last year and drove in 78 runs. He is 23. Do you not see how rare this is at the shortstop position?

        • cc002600

          Sure do. I like Castro, never said I didn’t.

          But while you’re at it, take a look at Stanton’s numbers too and let me know what you think. and oh, by the way, he’s the same age as Castro. AND he’s played in pitcher friendly parks.

          Just sayin’

          • Ray Ray

            I hear you. Stanton would be great but would you be willing to trade Castro and 2 other top prospects for him? The thing about Castro is that he was extended to a very team friendly contract. Look at what his salary will be over the next 5 years. He is a bargain.

          • cc002600

            No, I don’t think I would trade say Baez or Soler in addition to Castro, but maybe a Vogelbach or Junior Lake…along those lines…and another lower level guy.

            Again, don’t get me wrong, I really like Castro too. But his defense worries me. This is his 4th year,he should be improving.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I hate to agree with Ray here, (haha) but Stanton doesn’t play SS. It’s very rare to have a SS that has any kind of offensive ability and especially one who’s going to get better with time.

            Stanton is definitely a phenomenal talent, but good hitting OF’s tend to grow on trees. I’m not sure how I feel about trading a controllable young player for another young player who has averaged 144 K’s in his three full seasons.

            So if I were to be trading Castro, it would be for pitching. Something that they need more than another thumper in the lineup.

          • John_CC

            Good hitting OF grow on trees…Elite hitting OF are rare. Stanton is ELITE. My only concern is his health.

            Stanton is more of a rarity – at any position – than Castro is at SS. Plus he a decent defensive OF with a cannon arm.

          • Ray Ray

            Stanton has O HR’s this year and 1 RBI. He’s on pace for………..Hahahaha. Couldn’t resist! I do disagree that Stanton is more of a rarity at an OF position than Castro is at SS. You have Justin Upton, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout,Jason Heyard with similar skill sets. You cannot name 4 SS under 25 with similar skill set as Castro IMO

          • 07GreyDigger

            Man! I agree with you again! Knock it off Ray!

          • Tony_Hall

            Ray – I agree with you on this, but a deal that was based on Castro for Stanton would have to be looked at with all the pieces. I wouldn’t trade Castro unless Price or similar ACE was brought back in trade, especially since Stanton is on pace for such a bad year…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

            Stanton’s bad year…? Its been like 20 games. He’s also hitting in a ridiculously pitcher friendly ballpark. If the Marlins want Castro for Stanton do it in a heartbeat.

          • Tony_Hall

            Oh Jason, that’s what happens when you jump into a conversation that has been going on for a few days at the end. Ray doesn’t like anyone to talk about on pace, and I said “since Stanton is on pace for such a bad year”….do you get it now,

            With that said, I would still want to get back an ACE pitcher to trade Castro, but any trade for Stanton would have to be looked at very seriously, as he is very young and is likely to go down as one of the best power hitters in the game.

          • John_CC

            I’m not saying there aren’t more great OF than SS. Obviously, there are 3 times as many first of all, and no doubt Castro’s skill set is rare at SS.

            But Stanton’s skill set is as a monster power clean-up hitter. I don’t think any of the players you listed are in the same league with Stanton in the power department.

            6 players in all of baseball hit more than 40 HR last year, the most 44. Stanton hit 37 HR in less AB than all the guys that hit over 40 HR. Yankee Stadium helped Granderson a lot, his slash line was rather weak: .230/.320/.490. Dunn’s slash line: .200/.330./.468 leaves a lot to be desired as well. That leaves Miggy, Hamilton, Braun and Encarnacion.

            With a slash line of .290/.360/.608 I put Stanton in the elite tier of power hitters with Braun (.319/.391/.595) and Hamilton (.285/.355/.577). There aren

          • cc002600

            Well, ok. But that’s not fair, buddy.
            There are 3 times as many OF’s as there are SS. That’s not apples to apples.

            and Jason Heyward ? I like the guy, but what has he done so far ? To me, he could be big bust. Stanton is a 1000 times better

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

            Considering all of those outfielders you named play different positions it’s not a good comparison. But you’re right, there aren’t alot of SS’s under the age of 25 that will make 40 errors per year. But there are alot of SS’s under the age of 25 that are pretty good. And all of these guys are starters for their teams.
            I’ll humor you:
            Josh Rutledge COL (24)
            Andrelton Simmons ATL (23)
            Jean Segura MIL (23)
            Manny Machado BAL (20)
            Didi Gregorious ARI (23)
            there’s 5. I could have listed more if I went down to the minor league level… But who knows if Carlos Correa or Xander Bogaerts will pan out…

          • cc002600

            Well, who asked you ??? LOL !
            Just kidding

            I would agree with you on your comment about good hitting OF’ers being easy to find, if we were talking about 10 or 15 years ago. But the game has changed now. Pitching is dominating, really good middle of the order hitters are much rarer now……check it out.

      • Tony_Hall

        Nobody is untouchable….nobody.

  • Ray Ray

    Wow! I watched the Bulls game last night and watched all the postgame. Now that was a great game! I saw the Cubs took a 4-2 lead and thought it was over and went to sleep, I should have learned by now. Sveum should be held accountable. He could go down as one of the worst managers(win/loss percentage) in mlb history.

    • 07GreyDigger

      The team does look really bad and I’ve heard the manager argument before, but would Tony LaRussa have won more games with the team’s awful RISP batting average and terrible bullpen?

      That’s the thing. Yes, some things are the manager’s fault, but he’s not the one giving up runs and striking out with runners on base. There’s only so much he can do.

      • Ray Ray

        The main thing I look at is….Is there improvement with the young guys? Have the fundamentals improved from last year to this year? Do you notice any better situational hitting? Has the team cut down on errors? I am not saying the Cubs should be in first place or even contending….but do you think that Sveum has been a positive influence on the team? Fear motivation never works. I think a veteran,calming influence type would have been a better choice for a rebuilding team. Even Rizzo has taken a step backward this year defensively.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I think it hasn’t even been 20 games, so we can’t be making a judgement on the manager yet. If they roll of a great May, what will you think of the manager then?

          • paulcatanese

            Let’s wait for the roll, could be waiting a few years down the road for it.
            If the Cubs go on a 20 game winning streak as the A’s did, then they are up to something. (not made as criticism to you)
            just couldn’t pass it up.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Haha. As for a roll I meant like a .500 month or the one they had prior to the trade deadline last year.

            I don’t have blinders on. I know they’re going to be awful this year, but I hold out hope they won’t lose 100 games, maybe 95. But it’s progress!

          • paulcatanese

            I would definitely settle for a .500 month, or at least as you said prior to the trade deadline of last year.
            Just thinking how long the trail they are on will take.

        • John_CC

          Fear is an excellent motivator, just not for everyone. Do you think players did not fear Lou Pinella, Earl Weaver, Tony LaRussa? Maybe on the Pro level it isn’t the best tool, but any athlete that has made it to the Pros has been screamed at and threatened more times that we can imagine. Some of the “best” college coaches use fear as their greatest tool – Bobby Knight, Lou Holtz, that douchebag from Rutgers.

          • Ray Ray

            is isn’t a coincidence on how you are using college coaches as examples.

          • John_CC

            I understand. But there are also quite a few great MLB managers that were not well-liked, or liked at all, by their players.

            But my point remains, we shouldn’t react that a manager calling a Professional player out for poor fundamental play is somehow such a “wrong” thing to do.

            Last week when a couple players said they don’t think fans should “boo” the responses were, like always, “these guys are pros and get paid millions of dollars…too bad!” Which is fine. So how is not OK for a manager to say that his millionaire players aren’t performing and that they are not immune to action?

            In my view, that is an ironic double standard on fans’ reactions.

          • Brp921

            I won’t speak of Sveums motivational tactics. He can use fear, encouragement or anything else he thinks will work. I just think he should keep it between himself and the players, especially with the present day media twittering everything worldwide instantaniously.

  • Ray Ray

    Looking at the box score.

    Rizzo 0-6 with 3 K’s and 2 LOB
    Soriano 0-6 with 1 K and 3 LOB

    Not going to win too many games with your 3 and 4 hitters performing like that.

    • paulcatanese

      Nope! Remember Aramis and Lee?

      • Ray Ray

        lol

  • Sonate

    Based on the 61 runs the Cubs have scored versus the 79 they have given up, they should be 7-11 now instead of 5-13. This differential is caused by their horrible bullpen. If this continues for the full season, they will win 18 fewer games than expected based on the ratio of the runs scored to runs allowed. Let’s hope this can’t continue!

  • John_CC

    Poor defense and lack of clutch hitting aside (which makes it hard to win), the bullpen has directly lost too many games already. The problem for a re-building team is how to improve the bullpen. They just do not have the arms in the AAA to shore up the pen. And it would foolish to make a trade for a solid, non-closer reliever.

    One option would be to put Villanueva in the pen when Garza is activated, but Carlos has been excellent in the starting role. But you always want to improve your rotation first, which will hopefully take the bullpen out of more games, so Feldman is the likely demotion to the pen with Garza stepping into the rotation. If Villanueva and Wood continue to throw the way they have and Garza comes back strong, the rotation looks like a bright spot all of a sudden. –Shark, Garza, Villanueva, Wood, Jackson– But the bullpen doesn’t get much better with the addition of Feldman. Maybe slightly as he seems to lose it after a few innings.

    What they need is Viscaino and Baker to get healthy. I hope the rotation can stay intact until then, we might see some pretty big improvement when that happens.

    • Ray Ray

      Villanueva is one of your top trade chips at the deadline if he continues to pitch well in the first half. They need to keep him as starter to increase his trade value.

      • John_CC

        Agreed. Just thinking about how to actually improve the current Cubs!

        • Ray Ray

          Yep. It is a tough task that is for sure.Too bad they couldn’t have convinced Jason Grilli to sign here.

          • John_CC

            I like Grilli. Where and what did he sign for? I hate contracts for RPs any longer than 2 years. They are just so volatile.

            Nevermind, just looked it up. 2/$6.75, that is a great contract. Though he is 36 years old. He could lose it at any time. Where as Camp has 1 year under $2M after a pretty good season last year.

            It’s a crapshoot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

    Let’s try to predict how the Cubs will lose tonight. I’ll say they’ll get another well pitched game from Villanueva but the bats will remain cold.

    • Ray Ray

      Sounds about right. I would also add they will commit an error that will lead to at least 1 unearned run.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

        Well though out add!

  • Ray Ray

    I think a fair comparison for Starlin Castro is to look at Ian Desmond. Both are “bigger” shortstops. Desmond is 27 this year. Desmond had a break out year last year at 26. He made a lot of errors early in his career and he got better although he does have 7 errors already this year. One thing to consider is the brutal weather here in April tends to lead to more errors.

    Desmond Errors- 2010 34
    2011 23
    2012 15
    2013 7 already but like I said the weather is a factor in that.

    2010 Desmond hit .269 with a .308 OBP 10 HR’s and 65 RBI

    2012 .292 Avg .335 25 HR’s with 73 RBI

    I think Castro will have a similar increase in power as Desmond and he will cut down on errors as well.