The Cubs played a game yesterday and lost. It doesn’t really matter because Theo Epstein spoke to the press yesterday. First we’ll look at his comments on the Dempster saga.
“I don’t think Ryan deserves any criticism,’’ Epstein said before Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh. “It’s not fair for anyone to criticize Ryan unless they’ve been in that spot. It’s a right he’s earned.’’
But we want to criticize him! Is there any way you can make him look bad?
“Also, the day before the deal, I told Ryan, `OK, it looks like tomorrow morning, we’re going to have to [make a final decision] with the Braves,’’ Epstein said. “So [then] it was time to make a final decision. So we consummated a deal with Atlanta quietly, and I told Ryan, `We have a deal, so now, you don’t have to decide right away, but I know you’ve been thinking about it for a couple days, keep thinking about it.’
“And that was a good conversation. And then an hour later, the story leaked and with the nature of technology and social media these things obviously spread quickly like wildfire. So Ryan never got the opportunity for more than I’d say an hour to fully contemplate Atlanta with a deal actually in place.
“I feel for him, because then all of a sudden instead of having time to contemplate it privately, he had everyone telling him what to do, everyone asking questions about it, and it became a nuisance for him.
“I think it’s really hard to criticize Ryan. I think it’s unfortunate. But he clearly wasn’t blindsided because we’d been telling him for days that Atlanta was a very likely destination. …’’
Anything else Theo wanted to chat about yesterday? Maybe Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson?
“He’s working hard at (his defense) and making strides,” Theo Epstein said of Vitters. “He’s doing a great job with the bat, I’d like to see him get on base as much as possible. I think he’ll soon turn that corner and start walking more as well because he’s become a bit of a feared hitter.”
“Everyone talks about (Jackson’s) strikeouts, contact is something we continue to address with him, try to put the ball in play more often,” Epstein said. “But it’s important not to overlook the things that he is doing well down there, playing good defense, running the bases well and when he is making contact he’s hitting the ball hard and for extra bases.”
So what exact date should we expect to see them in Chicago?
“It’s not an exact science, the primary rule we have is that every player has a development plan,” Epstein said. “Once they check all the boxes in that player development plan, then it’s time for them to be considered to be called up. There are other instances where you’re actually looking for a change of scenery or some sort of change to trigger their development as a player. So there’s no hard and fast rule for every players’ promotion.”
I wonder if they can post a chart on the website that shows which boxes have been checked and those yet to be checked.