12/5 What if Pujols & Fielder leave NL Central?
With both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder free agents, there’s a chance that at least one, if not both, could be out of the National League Central next season. Does that possibility of not having to face the two sluggers affect how Theo Epstein goes about his business with the Cubs?
“I try not to focus on that too much,” Epstein said Monday. “There’s a lot of work to do here. There’s a pretty big gap between where we are now and where we want to go, both at the Major League level and as an organization more broadly so. I think if we start tracking whether an opposing team might be a 91-win team or a 96-win team, it’s probably not the best use of our time.
“We need to try to build our own operation up to a point where we feel pretty good about consistently delivering a team that’s going to be a strong playoff contender,” he said. “There will always be good teams in this division — I think it’s an underrated division — and whether or not these impact bats stay or go, if they go, those teams are going to have more Draft picks and more resources available to them to improve the rest of their club. If they stay, those guys are tough to get out. Either way, I don’t think it will impact what we’re trying to do.”
— Carrie Muskat