1/16 Sveum: “.500 is not acceptable”
Dale Sveum says he feels more comfortable heading into his second season as the Cubs manager. Coming off a 101 loss season, he’s got high expectations.
“The one thing you hate doing is saying, ‘[finishin] .500 will be good,’ because it’s not good,” Sveum said Wednesday. “It’s not 101 losses, but .500 isn’t getting you to the playoffs. Just getting in the playoffs is satisfactory. … In a perfect world, if [Matt] Garza and [Scott] Baker are ready to go Opening Day, its not a bad staff to have [Jeff] Samardzija, Garza and [Edwin] Jackson at the top and the other guys in the four, five spots. Fujikawa would come in the eight inning, Marmol in the ninth, there’s so many things that are so much better going into this season than last year. [Finishing] .500 is, like I said, still not acceptable.”
Garza and Baker will both be ready to go in Spring Training but Sveum said the team may take a cautious approach with them to ease them into the regular season. Garza is coming off an elbow injury and Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
The Cubs in the playoffs in 2013? That might be hard for some fans to consider but Sveum thinks they have enough firepower if Ian Stewart is healthy, and Nate Schierholtz produces.
“You can’t fall victim to, ‘Yeah, we are obviously in a transition in the organization, and we’re trying to get healthy and do all this,’ but don’t fall into the category that we can’t win right now,” Sveum said. “Baseball is a funny thing. Just last year, we close out some games in April and the start of the season is a lot different and you never know what happens after that. You might not have the exact same bullets as the guy actross the street, but all you need are guys to play up to their capabilities and have a starting staff and close out games, and you win a lot of games.”
— Carrie Muskat