Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spoke to media members including Russell Dorsey from the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday, tackling a wide array of topics including the trade deadline, the Cubs’ intentions, and the trade landscape in the league as a whole.
“There are a lot of years when we know we have an impactful move or two in us. It’s just a matter of finding it and executing on it,” said Epstein in a quote provided by Dorsey. “This year, the moves might be more complimentary and there might be more internal solutions.”
Epstein has a history of getting out in front of the Cubs’ deadline plans with the media and setting expectations for a fanbase that annually eyes a blockbuster deal. Epstein is setting expectations below that level. Specifically, Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are hunting for a lefty for the bullpen, per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). Of course, Levine clarifies, the real intent is acquiring any bullpen arm that can retire left-handed batters.
The Cubs have but one southpaw in the pen as of now: Kyle Ryan has appeared in 9 of the Cubs’ 25 games thus far, but a .364 BABIP and 50% FB/HR ratio have contributed to a substandard 7.04 ERA/7.61 FIP. His 4.06 expected FIP may give rise to the notion that Ryan’s seen some bad luck on batted balls in the early going. Brad Wieck, the other lefty on their Opening Day roster, was placed on the 45-day IL with a strained hamstring. The towering southpaw made just one appearance before heading to the injured list.
The lefty specialist may not be the marquee addition for which Northsiders hunger, but Epstein offered a sunny outlook on the potential impact of the non-blockbuster acquisition: “We’ve done some pretty big trades at the deadline most years, but the smaller moves where you get incrementally better in a couple of different areas, especially to address certain needs can make a big difference as well.”
One of those big acquisitions from previous years will return to the roster shortly. Jose Quintana simulated a 2-inning outing yesterday in what could be a final tune-up before returning to the rotation, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). Overall, Quintana has provided the Cubs with reliably back-end-quality innings, though it’s been delivered in an up-and-down fashion that teases greater potential.
Quintana’s return, along with the return of Tyler Chatwood, will give manager David Ross some decisions to make regarding his rotation. Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and Jon Lester figure to have themselves a seat when the music stops, but Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay may be relegated to pen duty or sent back to the alternate site until the Cubs are in need of additional starters. Alzolay gave the Cubs a solid outing last week before being sent back to the alternate site, while Mills remains in the rotation at least until Chatwood returns.
Those seven starters may be partially responsible for the Cubs’ sobering deadline plans, but the pandemic also plays a role. Epstein pontificated, as he is wont to do, on not only his team’s deadline hopes, but what the market holds for the league as a whole: “In the game overall, you might still see those big moves, if there’s a perfect match and one team’s long-term needs complement another team’s short-term needs, you may see a big trade. But there’s certainly obstacles to that industry-wide and in our situation.”
Epstein and other decision-makers have to weigh considerations beyond their teams’ on-field needs this year. The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney provides this quote from Epstein on the logistical and social scrutiny required of teams in the time of COVID:
“Every team is going to be cognizant of who they’re bringing in and how responsible they would be and how much you can count on them. Also, if acquiring the player puts them in an untenable situation, it might be hard to acquire somebody who’s got a great setup with their family in a certain spot geographically. Then you’re going to pull them out of there and put them into a situation where they’re not set up to have stability or set up to have success. You have to weigh it from that end, too. Impact on our group and on the execution of the protocols, but then also impact on the individual and making sure you’re asking something realistic of somebody.”
Get the most for your talent this offseason, Theo. There will be a garage sale in Wrigleyville.
Might as well. Theo’s contracts almost up and I’ve heard more about him leaving than staying. Go nuts this season and try and get yourself another title then you can peace out with a barren farm system Drombowski style
I see it the other way.
If he is on the way out, his guys remain in charge if the farm system is in good shape when he leaves.
If everything’s broken, his people get replaced
That’s true. Good point. Unless he secretly wants them fired so they can join him in his new Lair muahaha
Assuming he’s not leaving baseball completely, that might be ideal for him…
Or settle for comp picks and make 1 more run? They have a heck of a team. I love getting rid of rentals but if the prospect return isn’t great Then what the heck.
Those poor poor cubs , cubs fans might need to start taking up collections for their beloved cubs to be able to make ends meet ! Really double down if they wanna spend as much as the white Sox ( non Sox fan) going forward a,
wonder if the Cubs and Yankees could organize a swap with Chatwood going to NYY for a reliever.
DarkSide830- the Cubs are my National League team, I love them. But Yankees would have absolutely zero in Chatwood. Yanks have a ton of relievers for the Cubbies though.
Chatwood would be the second best starter on the Yankees, they should definitely be interested
@pinstripes17- I disagree with you here. Chatwood is not better then Tanaka and is not better then Jordan Montgomery. At best he is a #4 or a #5 starter in this league. I hope the Cubs trade him but definitely not to the Yankees. I would rather have Marco Gonzales, Robbie Ray, Matthew Boyd or even a struggling Mike Minor then Chatwood bro. Sorry
matthew boyd and robbie ray are two of the worst pitchers in baseball, they would be disastrous for the yankees. plus gonzalez is on a long contract that hopefully the yankees dont take on, i don’t want any of those bums on the yankees tbh.
@pinstripes17- keep in mind Robbie Ray and Mike Minor are just rentals. Marco Gonzales is locked up for 4 more years really cheap. His era has has been 4 runs a game for the past 2 years. He wins and would keep us in games. He is a #4 or #5 in our rotation. We’re not asking these guys to be an ace for the Yankees, or a #2 or anything. We just need someone to be solid in our rotation. Tyler Chatwood would be a long man on the Yankees nothing more. The Cubs would get rid of him in a heartbeat. Maybe the Yankees trade for Lance Lynn and then trade him to the Braves for prospects. Trading Andujar to Texas is definitely an option for the Yankees.
Steven Brault. Best available pitcher. Solid lefty starter with years of control. Don’t give him away for nothing Ben. Makes these teams pay. You clueless hacks are welcome to steal my ideas as always to post on your websites.
Tony Watson could be a guy the Cubs could pick up. ERA just above 1.00 in 10 games this year for a rebuilding Giants team
in exchange for what?
If the Giants want a CF to play good defense then maybe a straight 1 for 1 with Almora Jr. I understand he isn’t hitting but he is controllable through 2023 while Watson is a rental I believe
Theo wants someone effective against lefties allegedly. That isn’t Watson even though he is a left. A good pick up otherwise though.
Watson hasn’t allowed a run against a lefty this year…..
I thought they signed Dermody as a LHP and he was doing quite well at the alternate site. I’d give him a shot before the trade deadline just to see if he can handle it. A low cost solution that may fix the leaking BP.
I agree entirely.see if he’s worth having into the future.
As the 40 is full, DFA Rex Brothers to take a look at Dermody.
Nah. DFA Justin Steele.
why does Steele have less of a future than Brothers? Who is a FA in November.
Go do another podcast, Mickey Mouse.
Cubs have a lot of money coming off the books after this season ends. Wrickettsville won’t be the same.
If the Cubs get locked into Lesters $25M contract option next year – there will not really much coming off the books, considering yearly renewals.
Lester needs 50 more innings for his option to vest, with seven starts (at most) remaining. Slim chance.
agreed, he won’t get the necessary innings to vest, especially if he keeps pitching batting practice like he did last night. He didn’t even get through 4.
Marvel's MAGA Man
The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!
While being as cheap as possible.
About 24 teams in the league are significantly “cheaper”.
Spending less money =/= cheaper. Gotta factor in how much they make/are capable of spending.
You can still compare team owners to their peers and conclude that the Cubs are at least LESS cheap than 24 other club owners. There are a LOT of fans who wish their team owners would invest as much as the Wicketts have in the Cubs.
Why make fun of the Owners. The Cubs had some seriously cheap owners in the past. They should have won much more with better ownership.
Starting pitching-no problem except last night.
Bullpen- better then start of season provided Kimbrel back, Jeffress and Tepera slide to setup rolls with Wick. Granted no LHer in pen.
Problem- the lineup sucks. Time for Theo to cut bait and add some pop and deal from Bryant (good luck), Schwarber, even Baez (double good luck) while not giving away MILB. In today’s game, with juiced ball, everyone who scores and has marginal pitching, wins. Cubs can’t score!!!
It’s amazing they can’t score (ranked 18th in runs right now) when they’ve got three or four guys who are all-star caliber every season (Bryant, Rizzio, Baez, and Contreras) along with other decent hitters in Schwarber and Happ, who looks like he figured it out.
Please, you don’t need to give up prospects to trade Baez or Bryant. That’s silly.
My question: if Theo decides to leave Chicago once his contract is up, where does he go next for his next reclamation project? My guess would be somewhere able to support a good payroll since that’s what he had in BOS & CHC and it helped
Angels, Mets, Phillies come to mind
Who would support the drought breaker storyline? The Indians? Rangers? I’m not saying he would or should go somewhere based on something like that but was just wondering what a place like that would be
I would see TEX over CLE. He’s going to have a lot of interest so why wouldn’t you go to a team with a bigger payroll & market? Landing the Rangers their first would be huge. Obviously the owners attitude matters a lot too. It’ll be an interesting thing to watch.
New ownership in Queens after this year. Lol Mets is a thing. That would be a pretty good spot to turn around, possibly have the leeway he desires, and attract FA guys if things go right.
Very true. He’d add a lot to his name turning around them. It’s still the Mets so the sale could blow up. I don’t wish that on any Mets fans though.
Better yet, who replaces Theo? Would Jed follow Theo. Good possibility. Could the rich with cash Cubs hire someone like Hill away from Marlins, Hahn from crosstown Sox, maybe even Jeff Daniels from Rangers??
I’d be in favor of someone who has a history of developing talent well.
Invade the Dodgers, Rays, or Indians.
Didn’t Ricketts invest heavily in the property surrounding Wrigley?
That can’t be generating much cash with the pandemic.
Kyle Ryan’s 50% FB/HR ratio (per the article) is even more stunning than it seems. Does this mean he’s given up one fly ball, which left the park, plus an inside-the-park homer?
Or maybe FB and HR are transposed…
Good trade would be redsox Matt Barnes swap for Craig Kimbrel.
About the same stats for 2020 but Kimbrel has a bug contract. Redsox probably
Don’t want the contract cost…
I don’t see the upside for the Red Sox…
The Yankees could trade Miguel Andujar, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Holder, or Ben Heller to the Cubs for minor league starting lefty Burl Carraway, minor league righty Adbert Alozolay or minor league righty Cory Abbott. I would love to see Andy on the Cubs since they are my favorite National League team. I think this is Bryant’s last season in Chicago. I feel he will be traded to the Nationals or the Phillies in the off-season. No reason why Andujar can’t play 3rd base for the Cubs when Bryant is gone.
Carraway isn’t trade-eligible until after the World Series.
No way Alzolay!! Cubs must trim salary. Saw Abbott pitch twice at AA Tennessee last year. Excellent slider- best pitch, two seem and four seem fastball up to 94 mph. Has nice change too. He’s a horse!! No trading him. Miguel Andujar in package for Quintana.
andujar is too much to give up for quintana
@pinstripes17- I definitely agree with you. At this point I would rather have a Marco Gonzales over Jose Quintana. Same type of pitcher. But Gonzales has a lot more left in the tank. Marco has the same type of contract that Jose did with all those option years that wouldn’t have to be picked up.
Tanner Scott from Baltimore might be a good target for them. He has been really solid and comes with plenty of team control. Wouldn’t be free but wouldn’t cost a haul.