Getting to .500 record would be small win

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs haven’t been .500 or better this late in the season since 2009 and even with players coming and going via trades it’s something they’re starting to set their sights on.

“It’s a number,” manager Dale Sveum said before his team played the Milwaukee Brewers Monday evening. “We’re trying to get the whole organization very healthy. It’s a number. Coming from where we were... It's something to shoot for. It’s a goal you want to have.”

The Cubs are 48-55 heading into play on Monday, moving four games closer to .500 than they were a month ago at this time. Sveum was quick to point out .500 is nice but not the ultimate goal of the team.

“It’s not a goal you want to have in this organization,” he said. “Those things can hold (you) back too. ‘As long as we get to .500, whoopee.’ You’re still going home like everyone else that’s not in the playoffs.”

One stumbling block that could get in the way of a .500 or better season is the continuing revolving door within the roster. When Eduardo Sanchez and Jake Arrieta make their Cubs debuts this week they will be players 45 and 46 to appear in a game this season. The franchise record is 53, set a year ago.

From the beginning the Cubs have said they’re more prepared for a sell-off than they were a year ago. Sveum pointed out in-season pick-ups and minor league call-ups that have them treading water instead of drowning in the standings as they did in 2012. At least so far.

Sveum recalled the plan heading into 2013.

“If this was to happen again, what happened last year, we’re going to be a lot more prepared for it, have a lot more depth in the system” he said.

So far, so good. But will the loss of Matt Garza and Scott Feldman along with whoever else goes before Wednesday’s trade deadline catch up with the Cubs? A second-half collapse still isn’t out of the realm of possibility -- but neither is a march to .500.

“Our goal right now is to get to .500,” outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. “I think it’s within our reach.”