Its gargantuan ferocity a threat to the NL…to MLB itself!
“Yeah,” Epstein says, “we’re trying to build a behemoth of position players.”
“Are you there?” I ask him. He smiles.
“Getting there,” he says. “Obviously we’re a long way off. But that’s the plan. … Ideally, we are trying to build the type of lineup that can change the way opposing teams think when entering series. We had that in Boston, where teams always had an extra pitcher in the pen. If we got 60 pitches deep in the first two innings of a series, I knew we had a pretty good chance to win the series.”
So that’s the idea. Epstein sees the way the game is going, the way pitchers are dominating the game. As of this moment, the Philadelphia Phillies have a 3.86 ERA. In 2006, that would have been good enough to lead the National League. In 2014, it’s only good for No. 13 in the league. We are in a cycle where pitching reigns, which makes hitting so much more valuable. Anyway, that’s Epstein’s bet.
“I would say true offense is a great commodity right now,” he says. “I’d love to be swimming in bats.” He smiles again; he seems to believe the Cubs are just about swimming in bats.
...Epstein says the same thing. No shortcuts. But he also adds that he does see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s reasonable to expect Baez and Bryant and perhaps Alcantara to be a big part of the 2015 team. It’s reasonable to expect the Cubs to pick up some talent in trades and free agency as well.
“When those young players are up here and everyone sees how good they are, that is when it gets fun,” Epstein says. And he smiles again.
“And that is also when we will ask our fans to be patient with these young players. But I think that patience will be easier to find. … People have waited a long time for this. I can’t wait until we give them a really exciting product. I can’t wait until they’re rewarded for all their suffering.”
But, for now, he will wait. It’s what the Cubs do. Wait and hope that this time it’s for real.
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