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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Posnanski: Epstein’s building an offensive juggernaut

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.

Repoz Posted: July 03, 2014 at 04:48 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4742989)
I dunno, Bryant is slumping horribly -- he now has more singles than HRs!!

I see we have a reliever at AAA named Marcus Hatley. He's 26, not a major prospect at this point or probably ever. But he's always K'd a ton of guys. Now in 2012, he K'd 9.5 while walking 4.5; in 2013, he K'd 11 while walking 5.2 .... but this year he's K'd 12 while walking 2. And not giving up HR either. Cub pen is doing pretty well but I think they gotta give this kid a go.
   2. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: July 03, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4742997)
Dear Mr Kotter,

Please excuse my son for building an offensive juggernaut.

Signed,

Epstein's mother
   3. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4743014)
Bryant will be up at some point next year but I see no reason for Baez to come up next year. At this point Alcantara is more likely to be up than Baez and Soler better start playing or he'll fall right off the prospect lists.

Anyway I still don't know what Valbuena is still doing on the team. You're telling me the Angels don't have a B prospect they'd give up for him? Or Atlanta or probably a handful of other teams in contention and struggling at third/second base?
   4. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4743025)
“We see ourselves as a team with a small market payroll and large market plans,” Epstein says. “Once we sign a TV deal and renovate Wrigley, we’re going to have the payroll flexibility to, let’s be honest, do whatever we want. If we can have a collection of very talented players under cost control, we should be as well positioned as anybody.”


It seems like he wouldn't say this if it weren't mostly true. I hope.

How long is the renovation supposed to take?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:23 PM (#4743027)
Yeah, hopefully it's some secret Theo mojo knowledge that the return on deadline deals optimizes on July 24th. I will say it seems fairly common that deals don't go down until the AS break.

The list of suitors should include ... probably almost any team in baseball, who couldn't use a LH 3B/2B with decent offense and defense as a bench jockey. Adding to your list, Jays, O's, Yanks, Royals, A's, Cards, Giants could all slot him in as a platoon starter tomorrow.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4743030)
How long is the renovation supposed to take?

As long as it survives as an excuse to not spend? :-)
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4743036)
Theo was with Lucchino in Baltimore, San Diego and Boston when those stadiums were built/renovated. Camden is beautiful and the work on Fenway has been stunning to say the least. Cub fans should be hopeful at least for that aspect of it.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4743045)
Theo was with Lucchino in Baltimore, San Diego and Boston when those stadiums were built/renovated.

I think Epstein was still in college when Camden Yards opened. I don't believe he hooked up with Lucchino until San Diego.

   9. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4743049)
As long as it survives as an excuse to not spend? :-)

Yep, it is bull hockey. The reason they aren't spending has little to do with the TV deal or a renovation and a lot to do with how the deal to buy the team was structured.
   10. Rob_Wood Posted: July 04, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4743089)
Are people confusing Eddie Epstein with Theo Epstein?

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