The Cubs front office has been making the rounds over the last couple of days.
Jed Hoyer joined “Chicago Tribune Live” the other day and team President Theo Epstein jumped in on WSCR’s “Hit and Run” today with hosts Matt Spiegel and Barry Rozner.
One of the things that struck me is the front office duo’s directness and their ability to be candid in their own way. I have always listened very closely when front office people talk in the game. I’d like to even think I’ve developed an ear for hearing between the lines sometimes.
So for those who did or didn’t get a chance to hear the Cubs President speak, indulge me in letting you in on his assertion of the organization thus far. Epstein did more than answer questions, he gave a “State of the Organization” it seemed.
What mostly was music to my sensitive ears was that he considers Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora “elite talent”, and sees them as a big part of “the core”. This is something we all thought and hoped for around here, but he gave us that personal confirmation today.
He says Stalin Castro has made big strides as a shortstop and doesn’t see a position change at all in his future. More telling was his openness when Baez and his future position came up. Epstein seemed to be much more flexible naming both third and second base among the possibilities.
It was also very candid for Epstein to admit what I wondered aloud last night. The Cubs did indeed strategically take advantage of Castro’s recent struggles at the plate to strike a club-friendly deal.
Epstein actually used the term “buying low” when it came to the timing on the Castro deal.
He also didn’t hide his disappointment they didn’t turn enough of their short-term assets into long term ones, especially those of the pitching variety.
He talked about reexamining the “process” they went through when it came to dealing, assumedly Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. Was Epstein questioning their strategy? Do they now feel they held out too long and got burned, at least with Garza?
The Cubs Pres. was critical of a certain team that tried to expedite the rebuilding process and got burned. That screamed out Miami to me, and he is right. They usually do things the right way and this time they got too cute.
Don’t count on any short cuts anytime soon.
Epstein praised owner Tom Ricketts for not only his patience but said he is a full-fledged partner in this plan. That sort of confirmed to me a suspicion of mine that Ricketts always had a plan of doing it this way and maybe even always schemed for an Epstein or Andrew Friedman type running his club.
Finally, at the end of the interview came a very telling and personally pleasing revelation from Theo. He made it known how uncomfortable he is with the “comfortable culture” some of the players have become accustomed to around here being pampered by the city.
He mentioned wanting to “turn that (culture) on its head” and making winning the reason for players to want to be here.
That is change we all can believe in.