I’m trying to imagine the universe where Theo Epstein *would* make any kind of comment whatsoever on trade rumors about one of his team’s own players or even other specific players out there. It’s difficult, but I can imagine that universe: gravity goes in reverse, everyone’s kitchen is full of snozzberries, and Epstein, like all humanoids in that universe, is speaking out of his mouth-eyes.
That is to say … this is not an unexpected development:
Theo Epstein said he and his front office “will not contribute to the hysteria “of rumored player movement and trades .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 11, 2019
Theo on trade rumors: “We’re not going to contribute to this environment where there’s this hysteria about a certain player on a given day, and it turns out not to happen, and the next day its on the to the next player who’s definitely going to get moved.”
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) November 11, 2019
Pfft, like we’re going to move on in a single day rather than obsessing about certain players for weeks and weeks on end …
I am mostly kidding there (though, I mean, we will do that). What Epstein is saying is wholly reasonable and wholly expected for a thoughtful executive.
In an environment like this year’s, where the Cubs are legitimately considering trading away from their core – by Epstein’s own admission, you’ll note – it just isn’t going to be reasonable to expect the front office to say anything in any direction about specific players. Instead, they’ll stick to the proper script, either what Epstein just said, or some variation on “we’re open-minded about anything.” But even that one is dangerous if it’s in response to a question about a specific player. We saw that last year with the (at that time) completely overblown Kris Bryant rumors.
That is all to say, when it comes to rumors this offseason, as opposed to finalized deals, you’re just not going to hear much straight from the horse’s mouth.