“It’s probably the first time agents can come into our suites without having to look both ways to make sure no one sees them coming in,” joked Cubs president Theo Epstein in talking to reporters last night at the GM Meetings in Phoenix. He added, “We’re no longer the runt of the litter, I guess.” More on the Cubs as they embark on what seems likely to be their most active offseason since 2006-07…
- Epstein further explained, “We have a couple of the most important currencies in the game: some payroll flexibility and some good young players. So it opens up a world of possibilities and makes it more fun.” The Cubs are known for the game’s best stash of position player prospects, and their commitments for 2015 will likely come in not much over $50MM.
- Epstein commented on his previous relationship in Boston with free agent lefty Jon Lester, saying, “Free agents in general, they’re going to make good decisions for themselves and for their family and try to find a place where they can win and be comfortable and find a contract that works for them. To the extent that relationships help reassure players about those different factors, then (our relationship is) relevant. It establishes a comfort and trust. But beyond that…he’s going to have his pick.”
- Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune also has Epstein’s thoughts on adding a reliever to put together a shutdown bullpen, as was on display in this year’s World Series. As Sullivan writes, the bullpen doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Cubs, and Epstein is careful to draw conclusions based on the Fall Classic.
- In his talk with reporters yesterday, Epstein made multiple mentions of “the next 15 months,” suggesting he’s got an eye on the 2015-16 free agent class as well.