The Winter Meetings wrap tomorrow after the Rule 5 Draft, and so far, while there have been a variety of moves around baseball, and plenty of rumors centering on the Cubs, nothing definitive has actually happened.
- And based on President Theo Epstein’s comments tonight, it’s probable that nothing is going to happen later tonight or tomorrow, either (outside of perhaps a selection in the Rule 5 Draft):
Theo: "Really nothing is getting close. It’s getting to the point we’re likely to head back to Chicago without anything significant done. But we’ve laid some foundation for some discussions that can spill into next week."
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) December 12, 2019
Theo said probably not much happening for the Cubs before the end of the meetings except perhaps being active in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow. However, some execs, including Theo, say next week will/could be busy.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) December 12, 2019
- As for the overall expectations about the offseason, let me just say up front that, actually, status quo is a very bad option:
How would Theo Epstein feel if the Cubs did very little this winter and showed up to spring training with essentially the same roster?
"Status quo is not a bad option, but we're obviously out there looking to make changes and change the dynamic and improve and grow."
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) December 12, 2019
- Is that just a one-off comment better understood with context, or is that a seed being planted for an offseason that extremely mirrors last year’s trajectory of “change is needed!”-“change is probably not happening!”-“we’re still pretty good!”-“we changed some of the environmental and cultural stuff!”
That's the thing. It's possible. Of course it's possible. The talent is here.
… just like it was possible last year when they went extreme status quo and won 84 games and finished in 3rd.
Want to "hope" on status quo clicking? Fine. But can't avoid the criticism if it fails. https://t.co/jQe2HQUwhy
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 12, 2019
- Epstein also added a bit more to Jed Hoyer’s earlier comments about Anthony Rizzo and an extension:
Theo addressed the @ESPNChiCubs report that the Cubs will not be talking extension with Rizzo for now. Said door isn't closed, but the sides are just too far apart at the moment.
"It's not always going to be high fives and celebrations. We have a lot of work to do."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 12, 2019
Meanwhile, Hoyer was on MLB Network earlier in the day, and Luis caught the show, passing along these paraphrased bits:
- On Kris Bryant: I think he’s been a hot topic with the media. We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of our guys. They all have two years of control left. It’s natural conversation. We love this core group. We have to make some tough decisions. Trying to win now, trying to win later. We’re certainly proud of those accomplishments, there’s a sense of frustration because of 2018 and 2019. The arrow of the last couple of years hasn’t been what we hoped. We want to keep this group together in so many different ways, but at the same time there is a reality in this business. Service time considerations, salary considerations. Mentions Ricketts goal is to have sustained winner.
- Craig Kimbrel was a calculated risk. The bad one-run record in 2019 wasn’t luck, it was an indicator of our struggles in high leverage situations.
- On Nick Castellanos: There’s payroll implications. We’d have to figure out where he fits. Nick couldn’t have been any better. If he isn’t back with us, we wish him the best.
- David Ross has the ability to hold people accountable, but guys still wanna be around him. Leadership quality. People trust him. The last 5 years under Joe Maddon couldn’t have gone better. David for where we are is a good fit. Joe is a good fit for Angels.
- We’ve been really sloppy, and that’s probably been our biggest frustration. It felt like, every night, you had to beat us. Last two years, I think we led baseball in outs on the bases, made a lot of errors. It wasn’t clean and crisp. We left a lot of games on the field where we gave them outs and gave them base-runners. We can’t play that sloppy brand of baseball.