What took you so long Theo?
I’ve been wondering how much more of the putrid Cubs offense this front office could withstand watching. The Cubs President couldn’t hold back any longer. In Paul Sullivan’s latest, Theo Epstein publicly blasts his team for their lack of ability to get on base.
"There is certainly a snakebit quality to it with respect to our timing," team President Theo Epstein said. "But to me the biggest factor is our inability to draw walks and to get on base overall. On-base skills translate to run-scoring much more than slugging skills".
Turns out his roster isn't so down with OBP.
Yes the Cubs can slug with the best of them at this point, (1st in National League in home runs and second in doubles while being only 11th in runs) but so far it hasn’t translated to production where it counts. The frustrating part for this team is the starting pitching has been so good and consistent. It should mean more wins for this club.
We have talked about how improved pitching and defense are the fastest way a team can become competitive. Starting pitching alone can carry you there in a lot of cases. It just hasn’t worked out that way for this bunch. This current staff is likely to get a boost from an impact arm very soon (upcoming draft). If you couple that with talk Matt Garza could stick around (as I told you recently maybe the case) you see something coming together quickly on one end.
A staff of Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Appel/Jonathan Gray, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson could make the Cubs formidable in a hurry.
That is if they had an offense that could support it. This Cubs team has only 11 victories in their 28 quality starts. Unfortunately, all of the impact bats this front office is counting on are years away. What can Theo and Jed Hoyer do to help bridge that gap? That’s what I will be watching for.
Theo and Jed have told us they will always be looking for pitching, waves of it. They also need to address this offensive approach soon too, even if it’s just for the sake of philosophy.
In many cases in other sports you see a front office try to plug in players that fit the scheme. So far, outside of David DeJesus, that really hasn’t been the case here. The Cubs are trying to establish an offensive identity throughout the entire organization. It just kind of odd they haven’t really addressed the parent club yet.
Ironically, DeJesus is talked about as one of the players that will be moved soon. Maybe the Cubs can’t afford to move one of their only positive patient influences until they get more of it around this club? We also have to keep in mind there are some positions where they have players who provide other value like SS, C, 2B where some OBP may have to be sacrificed.
"To be blunt, we haven't made much progress improving the on-base skills of some of the players here. If we can't make improvements with the existing group, we will have to be even more aggressive acquiring players with on-base skills." Says Epstein.
Theo’s comments about training players to have patience is likely half-hearted. He knows all too well that usually isn’t how it works. It’s on him and Jed to give this offense a face lift and soon.
"There's been legitimate improvement in the overall talent level at the major league level despite the record," Epstein said. "The underlying component performance points to a team that should be at least .500 thus far".
Agreed, time to get to work on that Theo.
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