The media got to hear plenty from Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein this weekend, with a season ticket holder event after which he also took questions from the media. Now that the team has hired a manager, the Cubs will look to free agency and trades to improve the team for 2014. With the general manager meetings around the corner, what should we expect from Theo and Jed Hoyer?
“Our business plan and our facilities plan and our baseball plan are all a couple years away from reaching fruition, and we’re going to be as aggressive as we can given our situation,” Epstein said.
“We clearly need to get better, but we’re not going to do anything at the expense of an increasingly exciting future. So we’re going to look for moves that make sense for now and for the future.”
We all know that there won’t be any huge free agent signings yet. It’s going to be another stay-the-course offseason. He also reminded us of the type of players he’s looking to sign.
“First and foremost, we’re looking for players that can help us now who also make sense for the future,” Epstein said. “If you can acquire a player who’s entering his prime, all the better. Those are the players you sort of harbor all your resources for and then really try to acquire.
“But they’re few and far between. Beyond that, you’re sort of balancing interests and making sacrifices … and trying to attain as much quality pitching as you can given your resources and the amount of flexibility you have.”
There is one particular roster spot for which the Cubs will be on the hunt this winter.
“We have guys that could close, but I think that’s an opportunity for us where if you go to market with the closer’s role ready to bestow on somebody, that can help you sign a pretty good pitcher,” Epstein said. “We are going to hit the market with a full closing opportunity to offer the right pitcher we acquire, either through free agency or trade and with the knowledge we have some options that are interesting in-house.”
Once again, pitching, pitching, pitching. I expect we’ll see several bullpen and rotation candidates brought into spring training, much as we have the last two years. Throw them all against a wall and see who sticks.