Theo Epstein Discusses the Samardzija/Hammel/Russell/McKinney/Straily Trade

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Theo Epstein Discusses the Samardzija/Hammel/Russell/McKinney/Straily Trade

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein just spoke with the media via conference call about last night’s big Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade, and, although I was not on the call, I can share with you the tweets of the media folks who were on the call, and then offer some of my thoughts.

Let’s start with the big one:

By my count, that marks the first time Epstein has explicitly mentioned a specific year like that in which the Cubs will hopefully have turned a corner. That it just so happens to coincide with what I’ve been mentioning for six months – particularly when you consider the financial situation and the evolution of Cubs prospects – is simply gravy. I already was excited for the next six/seven months, but now I’m really, really excited to see what the Cubs do.

On to the trade, itself:

It sure would be fun to know what those conversations were like between Beane, Epstein, Hoyer, etc. The PTBNL must be named within 6 months, by the way, so it could be any time between now and late November (likely before rosters have to set for Rule 5 purposes at the latest).

On Russell and positional glut:

Again, the idea here is obvious: the Cubs wanted the best possible talent, regardless of position or role. Russell is an elite, elite prospect. You take the talent in the deal, and then sort out the good problems later.

On Straily:

There will be movement in the rotation over the next few weeks, even if there aren’t any more trades. There will be a chance for Straily to get a look later this year once he gets a chance to work with the Cubs’ staff.

On Starlin Castro:

I like to hear that there was immediate communication so that no one gets the wrong idea. Obviously it remains possible that the Cubs could accommodate all of Castro, Baez, and Russell in the lineup, if it comes to that. I don’t think that’s what’s actually likely to happen, but there’s no sense in rocking the boat prematurely. The deal really didn’t have anything to do with Castro – it was simply about getting the best possible talent, and it just so happens that Russell plays shortstop.

On Hammel grousing about being pulled at 92 pitches yesterday:

As I said before, I tend to think both sides were right, and I’m glad to hear it’s not an issue. Hopefully Hammel took it to heart, and is still not perturbed that he was traded (as he implied for weeks that he knew was coming). It remains unlikely that he could come back after the season, but, hey, you never burn bridges.

There will be more to come, but that should give you a sense from the organization’s perspective on the deal. No real surprises here, but all good stuff.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.