Chris Bosio goes to bat for Dale Sveum
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter September 21, 2013 8:38PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:53AM
A day after the dust settled on another odd Cubs controversy, the unsettled future of manager Dale Sveum and his staff was still the elephant in the room.
As if a week with two player incidents and word of his ‘‘evaluation’’ wasn’t enough, Sveum was caught off-guard by closer Kevin Gregg’s angry outburst after the game Friday. Gregg had thought Sveum said he no longer would close games so Pedro Strop could have a chance. In fact, the two will share the role.
“I can’t lie about that. It caught me completely off-guard,” Sveum said Saturday. “I’ll take some credit for that. I guess the communication somewhere down the line just got miscommunicated.’’
Though team president Theo Epstein told Gregg on Friday night that he wouldn’t be disciplined, the timing of the incident didn’t help ease the focus on Sveum. And that scrutiny is hard on those who have worked with him.
“Dale has put his heart and soul into this, like the rest of us,’’ pitching coach Chris Bosio said. “Personally, I look at the job we’ve done, the number of stars and good players we’ve traded, and it’s a process. But when you don’t win games, it doesn’t matter what your payroll is or the youth of your team. It’s a business.
“I come to the park every day and try to prepare our guys as best I can, whether it’s Jeff Samardzija or Travis Wood with three years experience or guys with less experience. My job isn’t going to change.’’
Bosio said it’s also that way for Sveum, who has kept an even-keel through two bad seasons while the roster has churned and the losses have mounted.
Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer won’t be judging Sveum on wins and losses but on player development and effort and perhaps communication.
But Bosio said there are success stories in those areas.
“Travis Wood was a guy sent to the minors at the start of last year who worked his way back and was an All-Star this year,’’ Bosio said. “Jeff Samardzija has a 200-inning season and 200 strikeouts. There are only, what, five guys who have done that [this season]. He’s a success story.’’
They are success stories for the starting pitching, which has been the best element of 2013 — and perhaps more a feather in Bosio’s cap.
But he credits his manager, too.
“Everyone wants to win so bad it hurts,’’ he said. “We’ve had opportunities to win games, but we’re overmatched sometimes. But we give [opponents] a run for their money.
“People ask me, ‘What if you hadn’t traded [Ryan] Dempster or [Matt] Garza or [Paul] Maholm or [Scott] Feldman? But we wouldn’t have gotten the high-ceiling prospects we have now. We need to get good depth in the organization, and they’ve done an outstanding job of acquiring that.
“The big thing we’re all guilty of is we want to win. We want to win bad. We all have the will to win, whatever it takes, but sometimes we tend to beat ourselves.’’
He points to games such as the 3-1 comeback victory Saturday over the Atlanta Braves as proof of the right attitude Sveum has fostered.
And he is emphatic about the future, saying ‘‘we will be better next year and the following year. The plan is in place.’’
The question is whether this staff will be part of it. But Bosio believes the coaches already are.
“We are a part of it,’’ he said. “Everybody here, from players to coaches, are part of it, and they should feel that way.’’