Report: Sveum offered Cubs' job

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Report: Sveum offered Cubs' job

SI's Jon Heyman is reporting the Cubs have offered Dale Sveum the team's manager job, and that the current Brewers' hitting coach is likely to accept.

CSNChicago's Patrick Mooney and David Kaplan are both reporting Sveum is the likely man for the job, although sources would not confirm to Mooney an offer had been extended to Sveum.

Earlier this evening, Kaplan reported that Mike Maddux will not pursue the Cubs' managerial opening.

GM Jed Hoyer on how Cubs were built and where they go from here

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GM Jed Hoyer on how Cubs were built and where they go from here

The St. Louis Cardinals talked about how hard they played until the end against the Cubs, claiming a moral victory, yet another sign of how much this rivalry has changed.

“Do something!” is always the natural reaction when a team struggles, even one with the best record in baseball, even when a three-time Manager of the Year fills out the lineup card, and even coming off a 97-win season and an all-out winter.  

But scoring 21 runs within 23 hours against the Cardinals on Tuesday and Wednesday again showed how the Cubs were built (and how much St. Louis might miss John Lackey). The next time the Cubs fail to hit with runners in scoring position, or get shut out by a Madison Bumgarner, or experience a three-game losing streak, those offensive answers will have to come from within.

“No question,” general manager Jed Hoyer.

Between the final out of the National League Championship Series and getting swept by the New York Mets last October – and their first Cactus League game this spring – the Cubs committed $253 million combined to Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler.

The Cubs have gone 4-for-4 with hitters in their top draft picks – Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ – every year since president Theo Epstein took over baseball operations at Wrigley Field. Plus taking Javier Baez with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft during the final weeks of the Jim Hendry regime.

The Cubs invested $30 million in the Cuban market to sign Jorge Soler and used pitching trade chips (Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija) to acquire half of their infield (Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell) potentially through the 2021 season.   

Rizzo is coming off a 3-for-35 road trip where the Cubs lost series to the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants before closing strong in St. Louis. But Rizzo is also so much more mature and competitive than the overmatched hitter Hoyer rushed to the big leagues in 2011 with the San Diego Padres.

“As he goes, sometimes offensively we go,” Hoyer said. “With Anthony, when he’s good, he can carry you for a week to 10 days. He’ll get it going again. He knows he’s good now. He knows he can do it. When he goes to bed at night, he knows he’s an All-Star first baseman.

“That’s important when a guy’s going through a slump, that they have that confidence in themselves. (Now) it’s just a matter of that one swing that’ll click.”

Imagine what manager Joe Maddon described as “the butterfly effect” on the lineup once Heyward (.596 OPS) starts hitting the ball with authority to augment all the other subtle aspects of his game.

“He’s just a winning player,” Hoyer said. “Our players know that. He has that presence. Offensively, he’s been a slow starter like three of the last four years. There’s no question he’ll get it going.

“Once he (does), I think everyone will see the kind of player he’s been for most of his career. Everyone appreciates the defense and the baserunning. But the offense is a big part of that, too, and it will come here very shortly.”

If Heyward can’t be measured by batting average and RBIs, then the Cubs also dug into Zobrist’s peripheral numbers and underlying performance and found the super-utility guy had actually gotten better with age.

Zobrist turned 35 on Thursday and is hitting .346 and leading the majors with a .453 on-base percentage in the first season of a four-year contract.

“We love youth, (but) having some veterans is important,” Hoyer said. “With Ben, we felt like his skill set matched us perfectly. But we did really dig into the numbers to make sure that was the case.

“One of the things we look at is his ability to hit fastballs – it’s kind of gotten better and better throughout his career. Guys that can still hit a really good fastball don’t show a lot of signs of aging.”

It will be impossible to match the infusion of youth and energy Schwarber brought to the Cubs last summer, when he hit 16 homers in 69 games plus five more during the playoffs. 

The Cubs are 31-14 with Schwarber getting only five plate appearances during the first week of the season and now recovering from major knee surgery. 

Schwarber comparisons are unrealistic/unfair, but the next wave at Triple-A Iowa includes Almora, a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s hitting .326 and top catching prospect Willson Contreras (.933 OPS).

“We knew we were going to miss Kyle,” Hoyer said. “There’s no question about that. You take a guy like Kyle (away) – that’s like taking Michael Conforto out of the Mets’ lineup.

“He’s that good a left-handed hitter. He kills right-handed pitching. We knew we were going to miss it. I think our guys have done a great job of filling that hole.

“As for Contreras and Almora, I look at those two guys and I think there’s a little development left. We know that they’re doing a great job at Triple-A. If the need arises, those are guys that might get forced into action.

“But right now, we want those guys developing. Obviously, if the major-league team needs that player at that moment, (Kyle) will be the precedent. But right now, I think they’re still developing, still learning.”

A 10-game homestand begins Friday afternoon against the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. As the Cardinals know by now, the Cubs are no longer a franchise that keeps score with minor-league updates or prospect rankings or moral victories.

Jennie Finch will become first female to manage professional men's baseball team

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Jennie Finch will become first female to manage professional men's baseball team

Retired softball legend — and former Chicago Bandits star player — Jennie Finch is set to make history by becoming the first female to manage a professional men's baseball team, albeit for one game. 

Finch will take the helm of the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League as a guest manager this Sunday, May 29, as they face off agaisnt the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

Finch led a standout career as a pitcher, winning a College World Series in 2001 with the Arizona Wildcats before helping team USA to gold and silver medals (in 2004 and 2008). She played for the Chicago Bandits from 2005-2010, and due to her success the team named the street leading to its stadium in Rosemont, Ill., 'Jennie Finch Way.' 

Minor League Roundup: Heartwarming Cubs story; Tim Anderson stays hot

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Minor League Roundup: Heartwarming Cubs story; Tim Anderson stays hot

Each week, CSNChicago.com goes down on the farm for a minor-league report from both the Cubs and White Sox system, presented by Service King.

CUBS

Cubs minor leaguers have been making headlines since Theo Epstein took over the front office nearly five years ago. Everybody has been enamored with what guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell have been doing at ridiculously young ages.

But this week, it was actually a 66-year-old Cubs minor-league consultant who took the baseball world by storm.

Mike Roberts, the father of former big-leaguer Brian Roberts, is a roving minor-league consultant for the Cubs and just finished up the trip of a lifetime with the big-league club.

Roberts lost his wife of almost 46 years in February, yet still reported to spring training just days later and the Cubs have responded by rallying around him in a time of need. Epstein invited Roberts up to hang out with the big league club on its recent road trip to San Francisco and St. Louis.

FOXSports' Ken Rosenthal has a fantastic account of Roberts' grief and how the Cubs - and players' wives and girlfriends - have helped one of their own. Worth a read for all baseball fans and serves as a perfect reminder of the human aspect of the game.

WHITE SOX

Tim Anderson is really starting to find his groove this season.

In the last 10 games, the 22-year-old shortstop is batting .375 with a homer and three RBIs. His season average has increased to .313, which is the highest it’s been all year.

The Charlotte Knights also added a new outfielder to the mix last week. The White Sox acquired 34-year-old outfielder Jason Bourgeois from the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 16 and he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

Bourgeois has been absolutely on fire right from the get-go in 2016, even before he got to the Sox. In 40 games this season, the outfielder is batting .397/.437/.534 with one homer, 14 RBI, three triples and seven stolen bases.

A change of scenery hasn't thrown him off. 

In seven games with the Knights, Bourgeois is batting .556/.600/.889 with one homer and five RBIs. 

If those numbers continue, the White Sox will certainly attempt to make room for him on the main roster – especially with the offensive struggles the team has been having as of late.

Kevan Smith returned to Triple-A after missing a month of action due to a back injury. 

The 27-year-old catcher went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run on Wednesday in his first game back.