6/15 Theo: “There’s a talent deficit”

Theo Epstein took time to say hello to some of his former Red Sox players and staff, but the focus is on his current team and despite the 21-42 record, he likes what he sees developing in the clubhouse and on the field.

“It’s all about wins and losses — that’s what matters in the game,” Epstein said Friday. “If you dig a little deeper, you see a manager and coaching staff who have set high expectations for the players and players who are working hard to live up to those expectations. I do think we’re very prepared day in and day out and we play the game hard day in and day out. There’s a little bit of a talent deficit right now, but hopefully, we’ll advance as we move forward. I like what’s being established in the clubhouse.”

Epstein tried to shift the attention to the two teams, but admitted there was “probably some curiousity about what we’re up to here as we try to put this thing together.” Television and still cameras were focused on him during batting practice as he shook hands with some of the Red Sox players. He spent 10 seasons in Boston, the last nine as general manager, and put together two World Series championship teams. Cubs fans have the same high expectations.

“We’re not where we want to be and there are some games we’d like back — we could’ve won a few more games,” Epstein said of the Cubs, who have lost 22 of their last 28 games. “These guys are playing hard and preparing hard and they’re not backing down. I think we’ll find a way to get a few more wins going forward the rest of the season.”

— Carrie Muskat 


Theo said it himself. It is all about winning and losing. Based on that we are the worst team in all of baseball and frankly I see no way out in the next 5 years. Even then it depends on prospects developing into good players. We are headed for the worst record in the Cubs 100 year history. We are now about to trade Garza and Dempster our two best pitchers. That is not going to make us better anytime in the next few years. Our payroll has been cut from around $130 million to $77 million. IMHO I think a better philosophy might have been to improve in steps so as to keep at least some fan interest. We have instead blown this team and management up in one giant explosion.

Why care about fan interest John? It’s all about winning and losing and you’re right, trading Garza and Dempster will not make us better IF you’re talking about the big league club’s talent or win-loss record. However, trading those two guys will make the organization better which needs to happen first. Then the ML club will get better via call ups, trade pieces and free agent signings with the available payroll you point out. I am more optimistic with this HORRENDOUS TEAM and new GM than I was with recent seasons past O.K. teams and the HORRENDOUS GM. I wouldn’t count on you being right and it being 5 years before we’re contending again, I think sooner than that. Next year alone will have such a drastic roster turnover, hopefully reducing your 5 year prediction.

I agree with you Mr. Fish. I think with the people we’ll be losing and bringing up that we will be major contenders in 3 years time. I even think next year we should actually be looking at a winning record. I am however, an optimist.

Looking back at the last 30 years, the Cubs have managed to get into the playoffs at least once every 5 years (with the exception of not making it from 1990 and 1997). Even with the horrendous GM, the Cubs mustered a few appearances on a more frequent basis. I’ll acknowledge the expansion of divisions to include a wild card team certainly provides more opportunities (1998), and I’m sure this year’s new format will do the same. The point is: we’ve had some really bad teams, but we always bounce back and hit the playoffs again in 5 years at the most (we’re due next year!). The positive thing is the organization is being overhauled to produce a contender each year, not every 5 years. This year sucks, but it’s entirely plausible we’ll have a winning record next year that translates into a playoff appearance then and beyond.

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