Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein doesn’t need your approval

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Since Theo Epstein came to the Chicago Cubs, every move has been scrutinized. He’s found the best in players that the fans thought he had no business signing. And he’s drafted an impressive array of talent with his first-round picks.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood on Thursday, I was excited about the move. I know his numbers haven’t been all that impressive, but it’s the underlying metrics that led the Cubs to take a shot at him with a three-year deal. Immediately, I came across this post which made me realize something. Theo Epstein doesn’t care what you think. Ever.

Looking at Epstein’s track record, he’s had some slip-ups along the way. None worse than Carl Crawford, in my opinion. But for every bad move–or the perception of it–most have turned out to be excellent. Remember when the Cubs signed Jon Lester and he came out flat in his first season with the Cubs? Or when the Cubs signed Kyle Schwarber–an unexpected pick–and then he helped lead them to the NLCS and eventually a World Series?

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Not everyone was a fan of “the plan”

As the Cubs were in the process of building this team, people doubted the plan. It wasn’t going to work. The Cubs just kept losing, and nothing was going to change.

And then one day, it did change. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 because, well, Epstein was able to block out the outside noise and do his job. And he continues to do that today.

More than he was worth?

The contract that Chatwood signed well above his predicted deal on MLBTR. This means one of a few things. Epstein is an idiot and overpaid for him (Unlikely that’s the case).

The Cubs are banking on a complete turnaround for him (Also not the true, but closer). Or they’re hoping for the metrics to pan out, including his high groundball rate and his 95+ heater (Bingo).

Rare misses with Epstein

Epstein has been on target with his signings and trades. The Cubs gave up several years of control of Jorge Soler for a year of Wade Davis. Davis blew only one save all season, and was Joe Maddon‘s most reliable arm in the Cubs’ pen.

I would venture to say the Jason Heyward signing has even worked out. You might not agree. But in reality, it’s been one bad season and one that was right around his career numbers. Plus, he’s captured two more Gold Gloves in his first two seasons in Chicago, so there’s that.

Winters and words form thick skin

Epstein, as well as Maddon, have developed a thick skin while being in Chicago. They need to. Some of the things the fans in Chicago have said make it hard to believe these two just lead the Cubs to a World Series a year ago. The Cubs are in one of their best stretches since the early-1900’s, yet these two have “nothing to do with it. “This team could have won with anybody.” Well, since Epstein put it together, and then brought in Maddon, I’d say that’s a hard no to that.

Next: Chatwood solid addition

For all the naysayers out there, you can talk–but Epstein can’t hear you. We haven’t even gotten to the Winter Meetings, and people are calling this one signing “a bust.” They aren’t impressed. What a waste. You could go one with the cliches, but again–he’s not listening.

Epstein’s not done, either. No matter what he does, it likely won’t be good enough for most. With the Winter Meetings upcoming–and the Shonei Ohtani decision pending–there’s plenty of time left for Epstein to make magic. Just how magical it’ll be will depend on the eye of the beholder.