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

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Theo vehemently defends Darvish in interview

Meanwhile, Theo Epstein spoke to the media on his own struggling offseason prize, Yu Darvish. The right-hander made some comments last week in Los Angeles that left a bad taste in the mouths of more than a few folks – myself included.

"“He’s human, and I think he’s a little more open than most,” Epstein said. “I think part of the way people get over adversity or critical moments in their life is by talking about them and sharing them with people and connecting with them. If that’s going to continue to help him face challenges and, in the case of the World Series, overcome them next time, then good for him. I think people should be encouraged to open up. There’s more than one way to compete, and there’s more than one way to handle emotions."

Darvish elaborated on his postseason meltdown to the media at Dodger Stadium – and, by now, we’re all well aware of what went down in the World Series. The Astros pounded Darvish in both of his starts, including Game 7. Still, the Cubs were not dissuaded from signing him this winter, hoping to fill a big need in the rotation.

The Japanese-born hurler has pitched to a 4.95 ERA in Chicago. More pressing, perhaps, are two separate DL stints – including his current one that’s spanned more than a month. But given it’s been mere months, we’re probably jumping the gun in calling him a ‘bust’.

Next: Forget the All-Star Game: Baez is an MVP candidate

Theo all-class on the North Side

But that’s not what we’re talking about. Epstein perfectly demonstrated why Chicago is a primetime free agency destination these days. As the Cardinals backslide, the Cubs are hitting the right note at every turn – including showing their guys they have their backs, no matter what.

Is this the beginning of the end in St. Louis? Who knows. But one thing is abundantly clear: the Chicago Cubs are the class of baseball. The same cannot be said for a frustrated St. Louis front office.