It seemed that last winter, whenever we wanted legitimate rumors about the Cubs, we had to turn to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who had better information than any of the Chicago beat writers. It hasn’t been quite as bad this year (other national writers are getting in on the act), but today’s only Cubs news come from Cafardo. He spoke with Theo Epstein, who talked a bit about the strides that have been made since he showed up on the North Side.
“We’re certainly farther along than we were last year at this time,” said Epstein. “When we got here, we identified one core player [Starlin Castro] and now we can look around and see Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija , and others. We do have more positional prospects than pitchers, so we felt Jackson will be with us for many years to come.”
Epstein is hoping his top prospects — namely outfielders Jorge Soler (a Cuban defector), Brett Jackson, and Albert Almora , shortstop Javier Baez , and pitcher Arodys Vizcaino — will all be in the majors together by 2015. First baseman Rizzo is already there.
It sounds like Theo knew what he was getting into when he took the Cubs job, but found out that we Cubs fans were a different breed than he has previously encountered.
The Cubs have been waiting 108 years for a championship, a feeling Epstein is familiar with from his Boston days. While he doesn’t feel the Cub fans’ pain the same way, he understands it. He has always wanted to build a team from the ground up, and he’s getting that opportunity.
“I think, initially, what I’d been through in Boston was of interest to our fan base,” he said. “But I think they have bought into our plan and our vision. People are excited about good young players and we hope to keep adding to it and get to the point where we’re an exciting contending team year in and year out.”
He thought we’d remember that Boston had its own World Series drought, but we can hardly remember commiserating with the Red Sox fans, what with their championships and all. We’re all alone and even more rabid than we were 10 years ago.