Hoyer hoping to see more complete effort

WASHINGTON -- Last year, the Cubs were sellers at the Trade Deadline, as general manager Jed Hoyer dealt veterans such as Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm to acquire players for the future. The deals weren't enough to turn things around in 2013; it will take some time.

"The things we need to solve offensively are pretty clear," Hoyer said. "Our starting pitching has been good enough to be a contender. The bullpen has not been, defense has not been ... and the offense hasn't been."

Obviously, Hoyer would like to see the Cubs up in the standings to avoid another makeover.

"We don't want to be a seller -- that's not a position you want to be in," Hoyer said. "But if you are in that position, you want to take advantage of it. You hope you're looking to buy. It's a lot more fun."

Hoyer said he feels there's still time for the Cubs to get on track. Manager Dale Sveum agrees.

"We've lost so many games we've had control over," Sveum said Sunday. "We know this record could be flip-flopped with a little better play, because the pitching has kept us in so many games."

The Cubs have 21 quality starts, yet have won only eight of those games. Thirty-three of their 36 games have been decided by four runs or less, and 28 have been decided by three runs or less.

However, the Cubs are in rebuilding mode, and Sveum knows what that means.

"You know things like that are possible and you weigh all the options and what's best for the organization," Sveum said. "Those are things you have to do sometimes. It's not that easy to see Dempster and Maholm go somewhere else, but it is part of the game. We're trying to get this thing completely healthy."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.