Chicago Cubs: Gambles didn’t pay off last season
If anyone deserves blame for the way 2018 turned out, it’s probably Theo Epstein, as his risky free agent signings, coaching staff changes on an already successful team and lack of decisive action with Addison Russell all seemed to backfire on him this season.
And, while Epstein has gone on the record saying that everyone (admittedly, himself as well) in the organization needs to take a look in the mirror, perhaps his look should be a bit longer if we’re discussing production over potential.
Epstein’s personnel decisions and financial burdens allowed the Cubs to win a World Series, but they’ve also hampered the team’s ability to win and put themselves in a position to continue doing so going forward. Chicago has $130 million tied up in seven players in 2018, project to be right around the $226 million second luxury tax threshold, and it’s anyone’s guess as to their Bryce Harper interest and viability due to financial constraints.
Suffice to say, along with all the players, coaches and managers he has called out through actions, inaction, or words in the past two months, Epstein needs a better 2018-19 offseason than he had last winter if he wants this team to return to another World Series.
In the big picture, because of the Cubs’ earning potential and status as a large market team, all of Epstein’s past mistakes can be overcome. Remember, he did go out and add Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, and even Daniel Murphy, whose collective contributions probably helped us into the playoffs and to 95 wins.
He will undoubtedly do whatever he feels is necessary to make the Cubs better in 2019, regardless of how he (or anyone else, for that matter) feels about certain players personally. After all, he wants the same thing all the fans want- a second Cubs’ parade in the Windy City. Despite the trials and tribulations of 2017 and 2018, that parade is still within reach with some minor adjustments and maybe, just maybe… a little bit of luck and some of that ’16 magic.