Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein shows John Mozeliak how to handle players

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

Mozeliak lets it fly in heated interview

"“Those are things I can’t defend,” Mozeliak said of the questions surrounding Fowler’s energy level and effort. “Everybody needs to take a hard look in the mirror and decide what they want that next chapter to look like. In Dexter’s case, maybe taking a brief timeout, trying to reassess himself and then give him a chance for a strong second half is probably what’s best for everybody.”"

Since then, he’s backpedaled furiously – only to come out looking, at the best, incompetent.

"“I would not make too much of this and really what I was trying to say is: I hear what our fan base is saying,” Mozeliak said. “And I just hope our players understand it as well, but there is a time to get this right and to win.”"

Fowler, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with St. Louis this winter, is mired in the worst stretch of his career. So far this season, he’s been worth -1.2 WAR and is hitting a dreadful .171/.276/.278. His OPS sits more than 200 points below his career average and nearly 300 below his two-year average with the Cubs.

More from Cubbies Crib

There’s a right way and a wrong way to voice concerns

I’m not saying the organization shouldn’t take issue with his play. If he continues playing like this, we’re talking about an all-time bust in terms of free agency. For St. Louis to have any shot at the Central, he needs to get his game figured out.

But as the leader of an organization, how do you air your dirty laundry like that? It’s no way to treat anyone – especially someone you just signed for the next half-decade. Forget what message that sends to impending free agents and trade targets. It tells the clubhouse you better perform or you’re chopped liver.

Nothing like getting put on blast to get your head straight – right?