Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, from whom we haven’t heard in quite a while (he’s been all over the country doing some scouting, and checking out Cubs’ minor league teams), recently spoke to reporters on a range of topics.
- On the Cubs’ success over the last couple weeks: “There have been some really good things happening. But it’s baseball. You don’t get too high when things or going well or too low if they’re not. The effort has been there all year. We’ve been playing hard and trying to play the game the right way. It’s hard to see sometimes when you’re losing close games and breaks are going against you like they were early. But everyone can appreciate it when the results come with it, as they have been lately. It’s been really nice to see.”
- On Carlos Marmol’s “good” outing earlier this week: “[Marmol] put it well. The way to work through it in this environment is to take the ‘feedback’ that he gets sometimes and turn it into a positive. Last night he said that the booing kind of motivated him, because he knew he had to get it right and that’s a mature approach. Ballplayers are mainly [driven internally], but you can’t help but notice when things like that are going on. So you might as well turn it into a positive …. Everyone has to recognize he wants to succeed as much as anyone else. No one wants to go out there and fail, especially in a role where you let your teammates down. But he’s paid a lot of money to do a job and he’s got a lot of support around him. So it’s up to him to put the work in to go out and fix himself. But I haven’t seen any signs of him backing down. So as long as he gives the effort and faces his challenges head-on, we’re going to support him and help him get where he needs to be.” Epstein knows he’s gotta keep talking Marmol up. No reason not to.
- On the early season struggles of Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto: “I think Stewart and Soto both have been hitting into tough luck all year, and it’s starting to turn for both of them. They’ve really been having quality at-bats for weeks, and now balls are starting to fall for them or being driven out of the ballpark, which is a way to take care of your own luck sometimes.” As with Marmol, Epstein gains nothing by criticizing players, so it’s hard to take him at face value on these guys. That said, I actually do believe what Epstein’s saying here.
- On Bryan LaHair’s LaDiculous start to the year: “The results are probably not going to always be this ‘Ruthian,’ so to speak. But I think the quality of at-bats will remain consistent, and it’s not a fluke. He’s doing things the right way. He’s recognizing pitches out of the pitcher’s hand really early. He’s letting the ball travel and get deep, and he’s really short and compact to the ball. … He’s going to go through slumps, but it’s really encouraging, not just what he’s doing, but how he’s accomplishing it. It’s nice to see. I’m really happy for him and for us.”
- On how Dale Sveum has handled his duties so far: “That was a really rough first couple of weeks, and Dale handled everything with a real calmness and confidence that is genuine, and I think players pick up on that.”
- On the Cubs’ Draft preparations: “It’s probably the most important thing that we’re doing now, to be honest, and it takes up a vast majority of our time. Draft day is the most important day of the year for every organization. It’s a yearlong process, and right now, we’re in the sweet spot, finishing up evaluations and going back and getting final looks, and we’ll get together and process all the information.”
- More on the Draft, in light of the CBA changes: “Every team is setting aside some time to think through how the draft may play differently now. It affects how we approach signability and how we allocate our resources into who we will scout and how often. But it is the same for all 30 clubs. It is a level playing field. We will go and do our best.”
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