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Sveum: Cubs won’t need no stinkin’ steroids to contend
PHILADELPHIA – With union leaders such as the Cubs’ Carlos Villanueva talking strongly about trying to initiate stepped-up efforts to eradicate PEDs from baseball – including stiffer penalties for offenders – Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he thinks the Cubs could be in especially good position to capitalize.
The Cubs escaped the Biogenesis investigation and fallout unscathed, at least so far. And Cubs players this week called for even stronger efforts to rid the game of the performance enhancers.
If those efforts succeed anytime soon, some of the fast-rising young hitters at the lower levels of the Cubs’ farm system could start coming through about the time a new reality takes shape in the majors.
“Position-player wise, obviously, we have pretty good bat speed coming without PEDs,” Sveum said, “with [Javy] Baez and [Jorge] Soler and obviously [Junior] Lake and [Albert] Almora and [Arismendy] Alcantara – these guys that are coming have pretty good bat speed without any help.
“So that’s always nice to be where you know that at a time [of change] all these guys could be here at the same time.”
That’s the idea. Assuming Sveum’s accurate about all those guys being clean – and assuming a decent percentage of those high-end hitters get to the majors with some level of impact – the Cubs could have one of the younger, brighter position cores in the National League.
That’s a lot of assuming.
But the front office looked at the changing landscape of PED testing and more aggressive pursuit of cheats when making some of their more high-profile international signings and their last two first-round draft picks – in particular college power hitter Kris Bryant at No. 2 overall in June.
“It’s a young player’s game again,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told the Sun-Times on the subject earlier this week.
“As hard as it is to find really good pitching,” he said, “to find power in the game [today] is particularly difficult.
“I think for a bunch of years the biggest differences were power was easier to find, and the aging curve got skewed.”