Theo Epstein Lays Out the Current Plans for Cubs Players

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Theo Epstein Lays Out the Current Plans for Cubs Players

Chicago Cubs

With MLB now announcing that Spring Training is officially suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, players will not be expected to participate in any formal team activities at this time. They are now basically permitted to do whatever they want/can while awaiting an update from the league on the expected time tables.

What are Cubs players going to do? Well, Theo Epstein offered in a conference call with the media late last night some more updates on the Cubs’ plans going forward – such as they are – and you can read about them here, here, here, and here, among other places.

Some notes:

  • Epstein indicated that although a lot of Cubs players may elect to stay in Mesa, Arizona for a while doing informal workouts, he expects there to be scattering along the way, and then particularly at the end of March, when many short-term leases are up. But players are otherwise encouraged to head back to their offseason homes if that’s what they want to do.
  • The Cubs are kind of treating this time like January (i.e., pre “reporting” dates). So it’s the offseason again, but, you know, without the transactions. (But also without the Kris Bryant Service Time Grievance annoyance or the constant frustration that the Cubs aren’t making moves when they could be, so it’s not all bad, right?)
  • David Ross and most of the coaching staff will head back to their homes, and only a “skeleton crew” of local medical/training/hitting/pitching coaches will remain in Mesa. The front office group is staying in Mesa for the transition period over the next few days before heading back to Chicago.
  • There’s no certain timeline on the return to baseball, but Epstein suggested a three or four-week training period would probably be necessary before regular season games could begin. Epstein did not directly talk about any schedule plans, but it did not seem like he felt an early April regular season start was realistic.
  • That squares with our own back-of-the-napkin calculations on the absolute earliest the regular season could begin, which is sadly not going to be until some time in May or maybe even June. My guess is MLB will try to announce a very tentative schedule somewhat soon so that players know approximately how long they’ll be at home before re-reporting to Spring Training, the Sequel.
  • Epstein summed up the enormity of the situation, and how difficult it is to fully process (yet) just how impactful all of this is going to be (

“It’s all so new and changing so rapidly. And it’s such a heavy subject and there are so many serious ramifications, not just for our organization, not just for our industry, but for society as a whole.

“It’s really impossible to reach your arms around. Most of the day, we just spent trying to get as much information as possible and then make the best decisions as possible, using the guiding principles of following the science, using empathy and being as transparent as possible.

“And, I think at the end of the day, all of us have a moment before you put your head on a pillow where you realize just how much has changed, and just what we’re all dealing with, and the potential consequences for society as a whole if we don’t pull together and handle this in the best possible way. We’re all in this together.”

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.