There was Cubs president Theo Epstein out in front again, on day one of Cubs camp.
Unfortunately, when a Cubs official is out there lately, so are the kids. For me, that is kind of an issue. Let's face it, here in year three of a five-year plan, that's really all there is to talk about.
On one hand, Epstein and Jed Hoyer should be very proud of the transformation they have overseen regarding the system. Epstein spoke mostly about those kids Thurday. They are receiving accolades everywhere you turn.
On the other hand, isn't this front office supposedly desperate to protect their young players from unneeded pressures or expectations?
No one should doubt this rebuilding process was the right move. Some just wish it could have been supplemented for many reasons. One good reason would be some protection on and off the field for their younger players.
There has to be some concern regarding the amount of attention focused on a bunch of kids yet to see a major league at-bat. Some more established yet younger talent would be able to run some major interference for these future Cubs.
Let's imagine camp opening with the Cubs brass able to introduce someone like Masahiro Tanaka to the media instead of James McDonald.
In that scenario the kids get the day off, maybe even the year. Am I the only one who it pains to watch Epstein uncomfortably defend his program repeatedly?
This is a guy who has won two World Series titles; he really shouldn't have to explain himself. Yet, Epstein alluded to it. The last two ugly seasons make it necessary to point to something that is working.
“The people in this organization really believe that we’re on the verge of something special,” Epstein said. “We understand that we’re perceived otherwise, and that’s our fault, because we’ve been a last-place club. We’re not protesting, but we need to earn our way into a position where we’re championship contenders on an annual basis. We feel like that is certainly moving in the right direction.”
Epstein is convinced the system has its share of impact players. That is reassuring. It had better be. The other teams within the division have already executed this sort of thing.
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and the ever-meticulous Cardinals are loaded with young talent, and their systems still promise more. At some point, the front office will need some help from the business side or ownership to help protect their investment, and give the Cubs their edge back within the division.
How will this origination protect these kids once they are here? One source has asked who among this roster will teach these young players how to be winning players.
Some tell me the system Crown Jewels like Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora are mentally tough and won't let a little pressure crush them.
Let's hope that is true, because at this rate , we are going to find out for sure.
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