Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Jed Hoyer backs Dale Sveum
By Jesse Rogers
CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer expressed support for manager Dale Sveum on Tuesday despite Chicago's losing 12 of its past 15 to fall six games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.
"We're not the most talented team in the league right now; we're trying to build to get there," Hoyer said before Tuesday's game against the Reds. "But as we get there, we can't continue to make the kind of mistakes we're making. That's on us. Dale has our complete support. That [his job security] shouldn't be what he's thinking about in the least."
Sveum said Monday that he'd be "lying" if he said his job security didn't cross his mind. But both Sveum and Hoyer say they're on the same page.
"We had lots of emails and conversations over the last couple days," Hoyer said. "If anything, we feel for him as he goes through this. We're in this together."
Hoyer arrived in Cincinnati on Tuesday for the final two games of the series against the Reds. The Cubs lost the opener 5-4 in 13 innings after squandering a pair of two-run leads.
"Given how we're playing, I thought it was best to be around the team for a couple days," Hoyer said. "I hadn't planned on coming on this trip, but I thought it was the right thing to do. In general, we try to do that. When things are good, we stay away; when things are bad, we try to be around a little bit."
Hoyer backed up Sveum's contention over the weekend that players need to be held accountable when mistakes happen. The Cubs are at the top of the league in errors and unearned runs allowed.
"I think the point Dale is trying to make is at some point there has to be accountability," Hoyer said. "If that means benching a guy or reducing his playing time, disciplining him in some way, he has our total support to do that."
Sveum intimated that sending a player to the minors is always an option -- even for stars such as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Later, he said he meant it for anyone on the team. Hoyer just wants to see them all play better.
"We have to figure out how to play smarter baseball, whether that means personnel changes or tightening up with some of the players we have here; it goes without saying we have to do things better," Hoyer said. "If you told me we were going to hit the number of home runs we have and have the kind of starting pitching we have, we should have a much better record."
Hoyer didn't dismiss the notion that Sveum and his coaches are always being evaluated. An important aspect of that is whether their young players are improving.
"Are guys getting better? Are they improving year after year?" Hoyer said. "We need consistent development where they are like [Joey] Votto or [Brandon] Philips or guys like that. That's part of the evaluation of a coaching staff -- taking those young players and continuing that development at the major league level."
Sveum is all for having management around the team.
"It's good for the players to see the guys [front office] support them," Sveum said. "Theo [Epstein] and Jed make special trips to lend their support. It always helps things out."
Hoyer plans on watching the games Tuesday and Wednesday in Cincinnati before heading back to Chicago. No matter where the front office is, it is behind the manager.
"As far as his own job, he has our full support," Hoyer said. "We're all in this together."