In front of a room full of season ticket holders, Theo Epstein gave the fans what they needed to hear. A man that was confident his team is ready to compete, but none of the unnecessary promises that come with talk of next year. It’s a fine line with such a young team–continue developing talent, while competing for a division title–but Epstein doesn’t think it’s impossible.
"“I think we have enough talent to compete,” he said to reporters after the presentation. “Now, do we have enough talent to win? That’s the beauty of baseball. You don’t find out until you try. This is the first time we’ve had enough talent to compete.” h/t Jess Rogers, ESPNChicago"
Epstein spent most of the time discussing the Major League team, and what they have in the farm system. But he did spend some time discussing what thee Cubs would need this off-season: impact players from outside the organization. He pointed out that while free agency is right around the corner, and the Cubs have available payroll, it’s an unsafe venture where nothing is guaranteed
"“We’re going to have pursuits of players that will become public and we’re not going to sign them and we’ll have columns how we failed and we have egg on our face and once again the Cubs can’t land their guy,” Epstein said with a half-smile. “Write it now. I look forward to reading them. More from Chicago Cubs NewsCubs need to walk the walk this winter after talking the talkAlec Mills shocked Cubs fans, baseball world with 2020 no-hitterCubs: After season of adjustments, Seiya Suzuki primed for monster 2023Projecting the 2023 Cubs Opening Day lineupCubs: 2022 season a ‘success,’ according to Tom Ricketts"
The Cubs have the ability to go after anyone this winter. But it’s highly unlikely you’ll see them sign the big name free-agency this winter. With other big-ticket teams with closing-windows, they will be willing to overspend to get the high-profile free-agent. The Cubs on the other hand are just having that window open. So the time will come, but it just might not be to everyone’s liking. Which is perfectly fine with Epstein.
"“I know we’ll get a bunch of columns saying we missed our guy,” Epstein said. “I’m not ashamed of that. To be a world-class organization you can’t be afraid of perception. You have to put yourself out there and look stupid at times.”"
After a very spirited speech at the end of the season in which he claimed the Cubs would win the division next year, he’s taken a step back. He’s confident in their ability to compete, but not making any promises. Some may even say he’s setting it up for the possibility of disappointment in the free agent market. But I disagree. Cubs fans have high hopes, more so than we should at times. Everyone thinks Jon Lester is a sure thing. He’s not. And if he doesn’t end up a Cub, it won’t be the end of the world.
Epstein is addressing the future in the right way. A steady confidence. That’s what we need. No promises, then panic to try to fulfill those promises. We’ve been there before.