Results tagged ‘ Theo Epstein ’

9/25 The South Bend Cubs

The Class A South Bend team announced Thursday it is changing its name to the South Bend Cubs. Team owner Andrew Berlin made the announcement during a news conference in South Bend.

“We are now The South Bend Cubs,” Berlin said. “Affection for and loyalty to the Chicago Cubs goes back generations in this community. We’ve listened to fans throughout the region, and this is a name that we know they are thrilled about.”

Berlin also unveiled a new logo for the team that he described as the model that the team expects to use in the design of new uniforms, apparel and other South Bend Cubs branded items.

“We’re moving fast,” Berlin said. “Officials gave South Bend a special waiver so that we could show you this today, but something as important as a logo needs to be approved by the league and by the Chicago Cubs. So, I can’t call it official yet, but it is what you’re likely to see on all our uniforms, apparel, advertising and merchandise from now on.”

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein attended the news conference.

“We’re thrilled to begin this partnership with South Bend and we’re looking forward to working with everyone here,” Epstein said. “It is important to have first-class facilities not only at the big league level, but also throughout our farm system. South Bend provides exactly what we were looking for both as a community and as a farm club.”

Players will have a new 15,000-square foot facility in South Bend next year that will include batting cages. There also will be a new fitness center and clubhouse for the players.

The Cubs’ Class A team had been at Kane County the last two years, and won the Midwest League championship this season under manager Mark Johnson.

9/18 Cubs move to South Bend

The Cubs announced a partnership with South Bend to host their Class A Midwest League affiliate, leaving Kane County after two seasons. The deal with South Bend runs through the 2018 season.

“It’s tough to disappoint those people [in Kane County] and leave but I wouldn’t be doing my job if we weren’t doing the right thing for our players,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Thursday. “One area we don’t mess around with is player development. Our success will be impacted in large part by how we develop our young players and get them ready for the big league level.”

South Bend had been the Diamondbacks affiliate from 2007 through this season.

The Cubs had moved to Kane County because of its proximity to Chicago, and even though the Cougars ownership had promised to make changes that met the Chicago team’s specifications, it wasn’t enough to stay. Epstein knows the news wasn’t well received in Kane County.

“I don’t think in this industry you can avoid looking like ‘bad guys’ and just have to roll with it and make sure you’re making decisions for the right reasons and in this case, we have to do what’s best for our prospects and the organization moving forward,” he said.

South Bend will announce new names, logos and uniforms on Sept. 25, as well as some renovations planned for the facility. The South Bend Silver Hawks won five Midwest League titles and 12 division titles in 26 seasons as an affiliate of the D-backs and the White Sox. The Cubs Kane County team won a franchise record 91 games this year, and went unbeaten in the playoffs to win the Midwest League championship.

Epstein complimented the ownership and staff at Kane County, saying they did a “first class job.”

“The South Bend renovation offers a facility that we feel will make a profound difference for our prospects and that was the key factor in the end,” Epstein said.

– Carrie Muskat

9/14 Renteria: “I don’t worry about my job”

Rick Renteria is wrapping up his first season as manager, and was eager to build on what the Cubs did this season. Last week, Theo Epstein complimented Renteria, saying the challenge for the rookie manager was to “provide an environment for the young players to develop and thrive at the big league level.” Renteria did just that.

Is Renteria comfortable in his job?

“Fortunately for me, the players, [the media], the front office, everybody has made it an easier transition than I would have imagined,” Renteria said. “I think everybody’s been very supportive. Everybody has a sense of what the organization is trying to do, so maybe that’s made it easier for me in my transition to manager as opposed to being a coach.”

He admitted that sometimes he’s done things that may seem a little odd, such as batting Javier Baez second — he’s more of a middle of the order hitter — and carrying an extra reliever in the ‘pen.

“There are things you do to make sure guys are gaining experience and knowledge in key situations that they need to develop those roles that they’ve fallen into,” he said.

But the Cubs development phase may be ending soon. Does Renteria expect more pressure next year?

“I don’t think it’s pressure,” he said Saturday. “It’s what you expect to do. Any club at any Major League sport is expected to win. I’ve been the first one to say it and I won’t be the last, I place expectations on myself to lead men and hopefully not get in the way and allow them to perform and win ballgames. The results are truly their process of how they play the game and giving yourself a chance. In the end if I don’t do what I was brought here to do, change is inevitable. My hope is I’m able to do a good enough job and our staff is able to do a good enough job to continue to move us forward and ultimately win.”

He isn’t losing sleep over the season.

“I’ve always said I’ll do my job and in the end, I’m always hopeful that what I do is good enough to take care of me and where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t worry about my job, never have. I’ve never done it as a Minor League coach, big league coach. I focus on my job. I think there are a lot of good things in place here. I think the organization is moving in the right direction here. I sincerely believe that. I sincerely believed that when I first interviewed for this job. It’s legitimate.”

Look at Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Both have bounced back from disappointing 2013 seasons.

“We’re all individuals and we all do what we think is best and we all have to feel comfortable in our own skins, and I think at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, good day or bad day, I want to make sure I did everything I could,” Renteria said. “If it didn’t work out, I have to put it to rest. If it did, I put it to rest, and then I go to bed. That’s the way it is, that’s the way I live my life. It’s not going to change.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/25 Trade rumors

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Friday the Cubs may hang onto Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena at the Trade Deadline even though both have drawn interest and could help a contending club. On Wednesday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told Chicago media that they are evaluating the current roster and trying to decide who to keep. What they want to determine is which players now will help the next generation make the transition.

“There’s value to keeping players who have roles here for the sake of continuity and leadership and performance on the field,” Epstein said at Wrigley Field. “We’re not in any rush to make trades for the sake of making trades.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/23 Trade deadline

The Trade Deadline is approaching, but Theo Epstein says the Cubs aren’t frantically trying to make changes to the roster.

“We’re not in a rush to make moves,” Epstein said Wednesday.

The Cubs made their splash on July 4 when they dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s. Epstein said they are evaluating the current roster to determine who they’d like to keep, who can help the team going forward, and what they can do on the field with the next generation coming up.

“There’s value to keeping players who have roles here for the sake of continuity and leadership and performance on the field,” Epstein said. “We’re not in any rush to make trades for the sake of making trades.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/23 Looking ahead

The future is bright for the Cubs. Theo Epstein was asked what the team needs to do to build for 2015.

“We were ranked the top farm system in baseball and that’s nice to the extent that it reflects a lot of hard work by our scouts and the player development people and the players themselves, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” Epstein said Wednesday. “We’re in last place. Almost by definition, our work lies ahead of us, it’s not behind us. What do we have to do? We have everything to do.

“We have to continue to build the organization, we have to continue to improve the Major League team. That generation, they’re going to break in at some point and the process of adjusting to the big leagues starts.”

Epstein said Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are key pieces of the Cubs foundation.

“True baseball fans really like young players and they like following players along the whole journey, and players who are homegrown, they get to know,” Epstein said. “If all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to provide [fans] with that experience and maybe a whole group of players they can get to know for a decade and appreciate and win together.

“You have to balance it out,” he said. “We don’t deserve to be on the covers of magazines, we don’t deserve to be lauded right now because we haven’t done anything yet. At best, what we’ve done is put ourselves in a position to make a lot of interesting decisions going forward and hopefully, have two of the most important currencies in the game in young players and available payroll dollars and go make some hay. We’re not there yet. We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re in last place, so all of work remains ahead.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/21 Hot Stove Cool Music

The third annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago Benefit Concert on Friday night at Metro in Chicago raised an estimated $200,000 for Cubs Charities and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later. The event featured Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper, who joined an all-star lineup of musicians and personalities.

Tom Morello of “Rage Against The Machine” was the headliner for the event. Other performances were by Future Monarchs, and Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars Jimmy Chamberlin of “Smashing Pumpkins,” John Stirratt of “Wilco,” Scott Lucas of “Local H,” and Eddie “King” Roeser of “Urge Overkill.” The event ended with a surprise performance by Cheap Trick.

Hot Stove Cool Music, which was founded in 2000, has raised more than $6 million for the Foundation To Be Named Later and the Jimmy Fund. Epstein and his brother, Paul, started their foundation in 2005 to create positive opportunities for disadvantaged children and families.

6/17 Extra bases

* During a radio blitz on Tuesday to promote his Foundation To Be Named Later fundraiser in Chicago, Theo Epstein was asked about Jeff Samardzija’s status. The right-hander will be a free agent after the 2015 season.

“The bottom line is nothing has changed,” Epstein said on ESPN-AM 1000. “We think the world of Jeff. He has a year and a half left on his contract. We’d love to find a way to keep him in Chicago for a long time. He’d love to be a Cub for a long time, but it’s a business and things aren’t quite that easy. We’re just not going to get into detail or give a public play by play.”

There were several scouts at Tuesday’s game in Miami, including two from the Blue Jays who have seen nearly every one of Samardzija’s starts.

* Epstein also was asked about Kris Bryant, who is leading the Southern League in home runs, batting average and RBIs. When will Bryant get to Wrigley Field?

“I can say he’s doing everything we could ask of him at Double-A,” Epstein said. “If he continues this and if he continues to work on his development plan and work on his weaknesses, there will be a time in the not too distant future that he’ll see Triple-A this year.

“Is he dominating Double-A right now? Of course he is,” Epstein said. “Does that mean his development is complete? No.”

* Welington Castillo is still rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex. He has right rib cage inflammation, and is eligible to come off the disabled list now. Castillo was scheduled to play in extended Spring Training game Tuesday in Mesa. He may not need a Minor League rehab assignment.

“If he can get some at-bats and be able to swing the bat with intensity and catch, it’s still the same [rehab],” manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “From a games perspective, it’s a matter of making sure he’s healthy.”

* Renteria does not plan on batting Travis Wood sixth in the lefty’s next outing but may call on his starting pitcher sooner to pinch-hit. On Monday, Wood delivered a game-winning RBI double in the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 win over the Marlins.

“I think when you have a short bench, it’s not unheard of to use a pitcher if you want to save the bench,” Renteria said. “You have situations where they may not be as key as that one [Monday]. I think that’s always been open for most clubs.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 Good cause

Music and baseball will collide at Wrigleyville’s Metro for the third straight year when Theo Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper join an all-star lineup of musicians and personalities on June 20 for the third annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert. The event is presented by Victory Park Capital & Giordano’s.

Benefiting Cubs Charities and Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later, the fundraiser will feature ensemble performances by headliner Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), and Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins), John Stirratt (Wilco), Scott Lucas (Local H), Eddie “King” Roeser (Urge Overkill), Jered Gummere (Ponys), Gary Klebe (Shoes), singer Jennifer Hall and Tributosaurus members Matt Spiegel, Curt Morrison and Jon Paul, alongside Epstein and Kasper. Boston Hot Stove All-Stars will include members of The Upper Crust and The Gravel Pit, alongside Gammons. WXRT’s morning DJ Lin Brehmer will serve as the evening’s emcee.

This year, the event plans to pay homage to Chicago’s great history of music, including rock, blues, soul, and power pop ballads that reach back to the 1950s. Sets will focus on songs by bands and artists with a Chicago connection.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon CT at http://www.metrochicago.com and the Metro Box Office located at 3730 North Clark Street, Chicago. General admission tickets are $50, with no service fees for cash purchases. VIP tickets will also be available at http://www.ftbnl.org.

The evening also will feature a number of special guests, and a live and silent auction featuring signed sports memorabilia and priceless entertainment experiences.

Hot Stove Cool Music was founded in 2000 by Gammons and former Boston Herald sports writer Jeff Horrigan. The biannual event has raised more than $5.5 million for Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL).

3/31 Theo: Future is bright

Theo Epstein had to face some tough questions at the Cubs Convention. He knows fans are impatient, and losing 197 games over the last two seasons hasn’t helped the mood.

“I think most [fans] are [on board] and some aren’t, and the ones who aren’t, I don’t hold it against them,” Epstein said Monday. “Baseball is best enjoyed that day and watching the team in front of you play, and we haven’t been good enough, judging by that standard.

“The only standard that matters is wins and losses and we just haen’t been good enough,” he said. “I’m right there with them. I understand it. It’s my job to take a little broader view and make sure we grow this into a very healthy organization that can go out and have success year in and year out.”

Which is why the Cubs have worked so hard to develop the Minor League system.

“I think our fans as a whole have been incredibly supportive,” Epstein said. “I really look forward to doing some things this season to make them proud and hopefully we can go out and surprise some people. In the long haul we want to award them with October baseball.”

– Carrie Muskat

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