Chicago Cubs: Epstein confident in what team accomplished at GM meetings
As the GM meetings came to a close in Florida, the Chicago Cubs front office left with all smiles. Are they confident in a big name signing? Or have the just come to terms with a “quiet” offseason?
Each season, the GM meetings help to spawn the excitement of the Winter Meetings in December. The speculation and rumors will only ramp up another level until then. So if you don’t think much of all that noise, you might want to tune out until Spring Training begins. For the rest? Welcome to the Hot Stove season.
The Cubs will have a healthy list of “wants” as they enter the offseason. A starting pitcher or two, as well as a handful of relievers. There is also a desire–maybe more so from the fans–for a pure leadoff hitter. Joe Maddon entered the 2017 season with the idea of turning Kyle Schwarber into one. That fell flat, but the Cubs still managed to score the second most runs in the National League–without a dedicated leadoff man.
Where deals start to happen
It’s at the GM meetings that the trade with the Kansas City Royals began to take shape. Later, the trade of Jorge Soler for Wade Davis took place, and the Cubs were in business. What will it be this season? Well, for starters it doesn’t sound like they’re looking for a leadoff hitter according to Theo Epstein.
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"“I recognize the importance of having one and what it does to your lineup,” he said. “But it’s certainly below pitching as a priority goes, and there are only so many resources to go around in trade and free agency."
This is where casual fans of baseball and more “diehard” fans come to exchange harsh words in an online world. While many think the Cubs need to “spend the money and get what they need,” that’s not realistic.
The money isn’t unlimited
The Cubs will have more money to spend in the coming years, but there’s no need to spend all of it at once. Just remember what you’re parents used to tell you about money. Don’t blow it all in one place. It’s good advice.
When it comes to Epstein and the plan, it didn’t end at year five. When the Cubs won the World Series, we didn’t throw caution to the wind and go crazy. Epstein tried that in Boston, and we saw how that ended.
"“We’re going to prioritize pitching, knowing we have a really good offense, even though it’s not sort of traditional in every lineup spot."
This is one of the dramatic differences between the Jim Hendry era and Epstein. Hendry never knew if the Cubs would be “that good” again, and did whatever it took to get his opportunity. The Cubs came close, but eventually ended up a broken team with bad contracts. Theo sees it differently.
"“That’s fine. That’s something we’ll have to learn to live with. We’re not trying to build a perfect team. We’re trying to build a winning team.”"
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Maybe he’s learned from his Beantown mistakes. Whatever the case, Epstein is working on the future as well as the present. He’s not willing to sacrifice several years of control of the young Cubs for one or two years. Let’s call it the “The Plan: Act II.