theo epstein about thatChicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein addressed the media this afternoon at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. From the outside, it’s been a very quiet set of meetings for the Cubs, but the front office isn’t down there to get a tan.

His remarks were live-tweeted by those in attendance …

Obviously, the first issue on folks’ mind was that meeting with Jeff Samardzija’s agents.

Epstein addressed Scott Boras’s comments about the Cubs not spending, acting small market, etc.:

So, when will the Cubs make some big splashes? Well, it’s pretty much as I laid out earlier:

And a little more on the same issue:

That’s all the expectation, because, well, when the money is there and the young talent is there, the Cubs would have no reason not to be more active. Of course, we all want to know is that next year or the next year or the next year – not that Epstein can answer as openly as he might want to. I’m sure it gets frustrating having to try and express the same thing over and over without being able to go into the details for competitive reasons.

But are the Cubs doing anything right now? Well, yes, le duh:

Hey, those are usually the moves that I get excited about. We know of several starting pitchers and relievers in whom the Cubs have interest, and it seems a pretty good bet that the offer out there for a positional player is an outfielder.

As for Masahiro Tanaka, Epstein gave no indication that the Cubs won’t be involved, as we expect them to be:

And in case you were worried that The Plan merely involves waiting on the prospects to come to the bigs and solve everything, that has never been the case:

Prospects, alone, aren’t the answer. Expecting all of them to come up and coalesce into a repeat contender over the course of the next decade is an absurd disaster waiting to happen. Do you need to be reminded that the front office is not populated by idiots? They surely recognize that the team needs to have productive veterans in place when the prospects come up (1) to help ease the transition for the prospects and not place so much pressure on them, and (2) to win help win games.

And a quick nod to the lefties in the pen/prospect pitchers, just for the hell of it:

I really like the idea of seeing whether Raley can succeed as a LOOGY, because I don’t see a long-term starter there.

  • Nick

    I hope that Baez and Bryant can pave the way for future Cubs prospects

  • DarthHater

    “Do you need to be reminded that the front office is not populated by idiots?”

    Tick tock … tick tock … tick tock …

    • Pat

      Good example of unnecessarily condescending (now I don’t need to go back and find similars)

  • Cubz99

    Theo sounds depressed and frustrated.

    • TWC

      Hahahahaha. And you got all of that from a handful of brief quotes and paraphrased Theospeak?


      • DarthHater

        TWC sounds sarcastic and snarky.

        In my defense, this is based on more than a handful of comments. 😛

  • Kyle

    Theo’s starting to get a little edgy.

    • CubFan Paul

      It appears he has no resources…

    • jt

      and he should

  • Andy

    He should be edgy. His hands are tied by Pricketts

    • Brett

      Name-calling like that is expressly prohibited in the commenting policy. Also, it’s lame.

      • Cubz99

        I think it was just an innocent misspelling. Freudian slip.

        • Jim L

          No it wasn’t, he had to take the time to capitalize the P then add an r; he knew what he was writing.

  • Patrick G

    Shark to Boston for Webster, Owens, Barnes and Renaudo

  • Jason Powers

    Its Not that there idiots. Well, determining that requires we know what Ricketts told them of the financial constraints were. Since we are unlikely to know the pitch heard…Cubs need to bwcome a winner.. blah blah…you know how to build a winner…blah blah…ill pay what its qhen the time comes.. 2016 sounds reasonable….we need to formulate A PLAN…total rebuild gives us the largest “window” of assumptions that could not sync up. And I have levered up the full depreciated assets…restrictive covenants.. and required repayment in only 15 years. Will not seek public funds for renovations…even though nearly every MLB team before has to their benefit.

    Tired messaging. Sounds like a girlfriend or a hamstrung middle manager…always something .

  • mister_rob

    Cubs theme song should be “Break it to Me Gently” by Brenda Lee
    We are gonna start trying to really improve the big league team in 2014….no….2015…no… maybe 2016…..
    We don’t believe a 140M payroll is needed…..or a 120…..or a 110…..maybe not even 90…
    We wont be adding multiple impact free agents…..or even one…..or even anyone you’ve heard of

  • Rebuild is Taking to Long!!!!!!!!!

    My patients is razor thin with this offseason. I don’t mind not getting top Notch players this offseason, but at least get Buylow/sellhigh types that we’ll be able to get prospects at the deadline for! Nothing so far!

  • Rebuild is Taking to Long!!!!!!!!!

    If we don’t sign sell high at the deadline type FA’s, that we could trade for prospects midseason i’ll be a little pissed. Stop with the filler players

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Yup, the natives ARE restless! Theo told Jesse Rogers that moves will happen, but no one will get excited about them. But they are moves, and Theo sees value in them. Does this quiet down the natives? I think not. The drums are getting louder as we type.

    • RKStu

      Well, this is the same guy that found value in the useless Ian Stewart.


  • jmc

    the dolphin close to the Rose and Crown pub. Theo might need a drink after the non productive meetings and if he goes he will have a good seat for the Illuminations fireworks because there aren’t any fireworks so far in the winter meeetings. Caveat: I said so far hope springs eternal. And we are told have patience

  • waffle


    what would have been your favorite move this offseason that the FO didn’t make?


    From the outset I was not that interested. Trades, yes, but how can you predict trades? Of the FA’s? Meh. Now, Tanaka I consider a different animal entirely. I would be shocked, though, if they ended up signing him. Too many other desperate teams without decent minor leagues to save them.

    I want fire not smoke also. But Just about every move we DON’T make I have been fine with.

  • jmc

    punctuation okay for you Brett? I do the best I can with voice recognition lol

    • TWC

      Man, you just can’t let it go, can you?

      • DarthHater

        let’s eat grandma

  • Cub Lifer

    Brett, for the first time I find myself extremely disappointed with your editorial on this around the facts you added. I am Theo fan, but my goodness he just talked in vague circles. Ginned up promise for better days ahead and contradicting the whole strategy of building from within by saying it probably can’t be the cure-all.

    The STORY is this. The Ricketts don’t have the cash they thought they would to inject into the baseball operation any longer. Whether it’s the debt convenants coming into fruition given the highly leveraged nature of their purchase of the club or whether it is the lack of progress unlocking new revenues given the Wrigley renovation nightmare or whether it is the lack on a new tv deal. But now this this has become a full scale self fulfilling mess.

    The Ricketts need to sell the club. This thing is way more complicated then they had the chops to handle.

    That’s the story Brett. Very disappointed to see you support Theo’s pr blitz and slobber all over the Cubs. Theo isn’t the problem, but his messaging is pr speak and conflicting at every turn. Step up Brett.

    • Brett

      Thanks for reading!

      (And for changing your name so that you could make an insulting comment!)

      • TWC

        Ha! Nice try, MichiganGoat.

        • Ron


        • MichiganGoat

          Damn you got me

      • Andy

        I agree w you cub lifer. It’s tiresome and sometimes it’s ok to disagree w/ Brett

        • Brett

          I often say that myself.

          Just be prepared for me to disagree right back.

  • Stu

    One thing that has to come from the side of “everything is great” is some acknowledgement that at “some” time they might not agree with the owner/FO. It would add a little credibility.

    • bbmoney

      Who has ever said everything is great? Or that they agree with everything the FO has done?

      I agree with the general philosophy laid out. Doesn’t mean everything is great…the MLB team stinks so how can it be great? Doesn’t mean I agree with every single move or lack of move.

  • wilbur

    a picture is worth a thousand words, a tweet about 140.

    • PcB

      Good try.

  • PcB

    The new commenters these past few days. Wow.

  • Cheryl

    Just let it go. There’s nothing else to do but wait.

  • Stu

    What gets lost in all of the discussion is the fan. Does the fan gain anything by a lower payroll? Doesn’t the fan want the Ricketts to pay as much money as possible for the ticket prices being charges?

    Some of you make it seem like we are all benefiting from a low payroll. Crazy.

    • Napercal

      Right on.

  • walterj

    I’m on board with the rebuilding plan and to this point I’m pretty satisfied with what has happened , but if the Cubs don’t land Tanaka I’m afraid we have spent this off season spinning wheels . I’m a little disappointed at the thought the Cubs might be already punting in 2015 , but what can I say . I feel sorry for you Brett . So many people here are standing too close to the edge .

    • Napercal

      What have you seen that could possibly lead you to believe that 2015 will be anything other than a re-run of 2013 or 2012. Other than the fact that the payroll will probably be even lower.

  • jmc

    TWC I did let it go. I just started something new lol

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    What’s going on here tonight? Craziness….

  • cubbiehawkeye

    I’ve been visiting this site for the last two years and I don’t think I can remember it being this dark. It’s comedy. It’s like a rash of people thought that we would make a splash at the winter meetings and now that we haven’t it’s the end of time. I guess I would like to hear from those who aren’t normally commenting as to what you wanted them to do this week? Sign Tanaka?…he’s not a free agent yet. Sign Choo?…he’s still available and something tells me the Cubs are his likely destination. Trade Shark? Please tell me why we have our pitch forks out this week and I will grab mine.

    • willis

      I think it’s simply many people are through buying the bullcrap the FO is selling and want some progression in the rebuild. The team is getting worse and the renovations, which Ricketts has tied to everything, isn’t off the ground yet. Who knows when it will be.

      This is a very good community of mostly knowledgeable baseball fans and very loyal cubs fans, run by a very good host who is very tolerant when it comes to commenting (which I think is great). Problem becomes this has become a huge place to get cubs updates/rumors/news with an open commenting forum so many are airing out their frustrations. I think this rebuild has been harder on many than they expected and this is where they come to talk about it. Bad news, crappy results, anger…all makes for a different and darker tone.

      Saying that, it’s still the best place to talk cubs and I’m thankful we have it. But, the negativity is growing because of the lack of progress and projection of another horrible year in front of us. I think it’s all good and the discussions are great. But definitely, it’s gotten more grim. Soon enough let’s hope there is positive news and we can rejoice in it.

      • cubbiehawkeye

        I get the frustration but I guess my whole point in saying all that was why is it coming out this week. A lot of offseason left and plenty of time to make some improvement. I guess people see all the action going down here lately and get mad that we aren’t in it but like I’d asked above What do you want them to do? What move this offseason do you think the Cubs missed out on? Personally I wanted the cubs to pick up Choo and Tanaka and do all the other minor stuff to field a roster. What did everyone else want because I’ve been reading comments on posts for awhile and I hadn’t seen many people clamoring for a Cano. I’ve read all the Tanaka dreams but he isn’t even a free agent yet and still very much in reach. To sum it up I’m making fun of all who are having a meltdown. It seems like most are reading a Scott Boras quote and saying, “Yeah, he’s right! Screw Ricketts”. It’s cute

        • Tommy

          Christmas season brings out the best in the complainers, cubbiehawkeye.

        • When the Music’s Over

          I think the past two weeks have brought out the nasty because the flurry of moves by other teams suggests they are trying to improve their competitive chances, while the the Cubs are not. People are antsy. Even plan backers and plan skeptics are often unified in wanting to see Shark moved, which is a very risky move, carrying a good likelihood of setting the team backwards, both in the short and in term.

          In other words, some people are getting real antsy and are at the point where action, any action, whether positive or negative, is viewed as the right thing to do.

          Cubs ownership has asked a lot of its fans. And by all accounts, appears to have the gonads to likely ask for even more, perhaps for another 2-3 years. It’s really hard to tell at this point, which is yet another reason people are getting nasty.

  • jmc

    Aw come on people just want to see a winner.I want to see it warm up its freakin cold up here in Chicago folks lol


    It just really sucks that a so called “big market” team is so hamstrung fielding a competitive ML roster because of the business side of the club.

    I like to think I follow baseball closely and I cannot remember any of the top 15 payroll teams being SO hamstrung by their business operation.

    It has to be nearing infuriation for Theo, Jed and the baseball ops folks. I’m sure they could cook up 3-5 signings/trades to speed up the rebuild clock somewhat if Tom would sign-off.

    To me that is all the fan base is seeking — “please make a few moves to let us know for sure we’re only a year or 2 from competing.”

    Those haven’t happened and I’m afraid the comments here and everywhere else are going to continue to get uglier Brett.

    I’m not going to attack Ricketts because I don’t know the jist of it all but I sure would like a better explanation from the ENTIRE Ricketts group. Please hold a press conference explaining why a “big market” club must continue to make shrewd signings for the third straight off-season. Or just admit that under Ricketts ownership the Cubs will operate more like a mid-market club due to the debt taken on and the business side of things being years behind the 8-ball.

    I thought I had an idea how big the mess was that Ricketts/Theo/Jed and company took over, but I guess not! The one time we have gotten thrown a friggin’ bone it was Edwin Jackson…..

    Needless to say, I have been VERY patient with the rebuild. I believe in it and I wouldn’t rather have any other front office crew than this one. That being said the Ricketts family will not be getting the return on their contracts to Theo/Jed/etc.. until they turn them loose for player acquisitions from the ML on down. Not just AAA and down.

  • jmc

    cubbiehawkeye I hear you. If we had working crystal balls we would all play the Mega Millions. Unlike us the cub FO gets paid to be prognosticators. We just pay to watch their work. First Amendment gives a right to comment on it.

    • hansman

      For the love of Mother Mary use the damn reply button

  • Stu

    Until the books are opened up, you can assume that they are taking the excess cash from not signing players and pocketing/paying down debt with it.

    It is a little naive to assume that the Ricketts are not interested in money first.

    Good for them. If they can play the emotion card out for another couple of years and waive their hands about rooftop owners, no more over-slotting, etc., thwarting “the plan”, I will applaud their masterful marketing plan to hoodwink the faithful out of their money.

    That actually might be more interesting than winning.

  • Mark S

    I’m looking to visit Wrigley Field for the very first time ever in 2014. I haven’t planned any dates yet or bought any tickets (obviously there will be many available.) I’d like t know if there are any specific games, events etc during this upcoming year that would be of interest. I was looking at the Cards series from July 25th-27th and thought that perhaps Baez and/or Bryant would be on the Cubs by then. Any information on local events, good games or when Baez or Bryant could perhaps be in Chicago would be greatly appreciated.

    • willis

      My best advice is for your wallet. Don’t buy tickets from the cubs or from any other place before the game. There will be plenty to sell under face close to the game or the day of, plenty of dudes on the street selling them for near nothing. Last year twice I got in for less than half of the face. Just have to be patient. Use the extra money for the expensive beers :)

    • scorecardpaul

      Mark S don’t listen to these complainers. There is no experience in the world like a warm afternoon game at Wrigley Field. Pick an afternoon game against the Cardinals when it is sure to be warm, and sit in the bleachers. You will have a great time. Don’t be so cheap that you wait on tickets and miss a great opportunity. By the tickets early. If u want to be cheap buy tickets to the game early in the series, and then go back to the ballpark the next few days and scalp some tickets for the later games. Use the possible cheapness of the tickets to catch more games, but don’t risk the entire experience on saving 50 bucks.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Been to one game in the last 2 years and do not plan on going this year. They will not get money from me to support the ” effort” they purport to pursue of every season is a ” winning opportunity”.
    Hub Arkush a decades long Cub season ticket holder advised on his WSCR show tonight that he is not renewing his box seats for this charade of an effort by ownership.

    • Andy

      That’s great for Arkush. Wish everyone would follow