By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune –
MINNEAPOLIS — The bids for free-agent outfielder Jorge Soler were due Sunday night, and Cubs baseball President Theo Epstein will soon find out if their long courtship of the Cuban defector will lead to a lasting relationship in Chicago.
But even if Soler signs, the Cubs have plenty of needs, and manager Dale Sveum believes they can’t depend on the farm system to fill them.
When is a good time to start going after prime-time free agents?
“You can say right now,” Sveum said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three months. You don’t know what’s going to happen with personnel next year, what we need. Obviously we need a lot of things. We’re losing a lot of games. But to spend that kind of money … when the right time is and how many tears you give a guy, a whole lot goes into that process.
“There’s obviously going to be some guys available this winter, and you’ve got to sit down and decide what the plan is. It’s not like we’ve got a lot of guys coming except the (Anthony) Rizzos, (Brett) Jacksons and Junior Lakes, guys with tons of upside. So we do have to obviously fix some things.”
Sveum said a quick turnaround is possible “because it’s happened before” with other teams. But to do so, he said the Cubs need some game-changers in key roles, including the bullpen.
“When you have dominating bullpens, average starting pitching, and really nice 3-4-5 (hitters) and a leadoff guy, you’re going to be ahead of the scale to win all these kind of games instead of coming up a little bit short,” he said.
Samardzija watch: Sveum said he has seen a “breakdown” of Jeff Samardzija’s mechanics lately, and not just in Saturday’s loss, when he gave up eight runs in 32/3 innings.
Sveum said Samardzija was “trying to bully his way through a lineup sometimes and not concentrate” on his mechanics.
“Everybody’s trying to do too much, whether it’s Samardzija on the mound or whoever on the mound,” he said.
Extra innings: The Cubs earned their first interleague victory Sunday since July 3, 2011, against the White Sox, and their first interleague road win since June 24, 2011, against the Royals. … Starlin Castro had his 82nd multihit game since 2011, leading all major leaguers.