Theo Epstein sat in front of the Chicago media on Monday and discussed everything from the season to expectations for the offseason and the managerial search during his end-of-season press conference. If you didn’t catch the 80-minute press conference, you can listen here:
Theo Epstein was very open during the presser about David Ross as a managerial candidate, taking responsibility and being accountable for this team’s blunders, and noting that a roster shakeup is coming.
Epstein admitted during the press conference as being “stubborn” with the roster core that is currently in place, and how that could have affected the team’s success. This seems to be an offseason where that philosophy will change with this front office.
After hearing the press conference, I have some immediate thoughts on the issue. There will be another piece going into a little more depth.
Epstein said that this roster will be different going forward. What does that mean? It means that someone from the core, likely a player that Cubs fans love, will be gone. Trading one of these young stars could bring back some valuable roster pieces as well as a few prospects to rebuild the depleted pipeline on Chicago’s North Side.
There are a number of players who may be dealt. A lot of media personalities want to stir the pot by saying Kris Bryant or Javier Baez will be traded. However, I think that either Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward, and/or Ian Happ are all names that could be gone. Happ is much more likely than Contreras and Heyward, but you have to think there is a chance those two could be moved.
The Cubs may decide to move on from the left-hander and not pick up his option for next season. Quintana has been good, but admittedly underwhelming for what it cost the Cubs (for those under a rock, it cost Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease). Perhaps the Cubs feel they can use that money for a different pitcher that could give the team a better chance or they could put Tyler Chatwood in the rotation and use that money to take a run at Gerrit Cole. Who knows what will happen.
Another thing to watch is the Nicholas Castellanos saga. It seems that he wants to return to the Cubs and the Cubs want him back as well. However, with Castellanos being a free agent, there is a chance that not only is every day opening day, but every day may be payday for the right fielder.
Castellanos was one of the best hitters in baseball after coming to the Cubs. He dominated at Wrigley Field and really found a home with the Cubs. However, he may command as much as $20 million a year and, unless the Cubs can move some money, who knows what will happen with the right fielder?
Theo Epstein hinted that David Ross is a candidate for the manager position. He also hinted that a desired name on their list is currently in the playoffs and would require some patience to interview. So there is plenty to consider.
Mark Loretta‘s name has been thrown around as a possible favorite for the position. By hiring from within, the Cubs know what they are getting and what type of respect Loretta has in the Cubs’ clubhouse. However, it isn’t certain if he will be the choice.
Outside of the future managerial questions, I was impressed by Epstein’s reaction to Joe Maddon. He was thankful for Maddon’s tenure in Chicago and noted that none of this was Joe’s fault. However, they both believed the team is at a different point in their growth than they were five years ago when Joe Maddon was the perfect candidate for the team they had. Now, Epstein’s struggle will be finding the right manager for this team now.
Since this wasn’t Maddon’s fault, that brings me to the third point of the conference…
The Front Office:
Theo Epstein took full responsibility for this team not being where they needed to be. He noted that he and the rest of the front office have a lot of work to do and need to take accountability for this team’s performance.
Epstein did just that, but now he has a big task ahead of him: get the Cubs back to the postseason. There will be no rebuild, per Epstein, but there will be re-tooling of the roster and the organization as a whole in hopes that this team can return to the promised land sooner than later.
Keep up with On Tap Sports Net for more thoughts on Theo Epstein’s comments, the offseason, and all news about your Chicago Cubs. Thanks for reading!
Featured Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune