Theo Epstein spent time earlier this week on ESPN 1000 with Carmen & Jurko talking about the Jackie Robinson West team and of course the Chicago Cubs. Epstein discussed Javier Baez and the recent call-up of Jorge Soler while pointing out Baez and Soler are two totally different players with the way they approach hitting.
Epstein explained Baez will likely always have extremes in his game, “extreme bat speed, extreme raw power, extreme home run output and probably some extreme swing and misses and some extreme strikeout totals to go along with it.” Soler has a more polished approach and always has been a much more patient hitter than Baez.
Theo Epstein also talked about the upcoming off-season and if the Cubs have a chance to add impact starting pitching from outside the organization the front office is well-positioned to be aggressive with adding talent.
On having the money to spend in free agency and will the Cubs use that money this off-season on free agent pitchers, like Jon Lester
“We are going to grow this organization a certain way. We are going to build it around young players. We are going to build it around scouting and player development, but it’s probably not possible to win a World Series with 25 homegrown players. If we have a chance to add impact from outside of the organization we should be aggressive and try to do that. I never look at any one off-season as a time that we have to do something. I look at off-seasons and trade deadlines and future off-seasons together. Look at how the next 24 months or 18 months, I think that you will see us add impact starting pitching from outside the organization. We are well-positioned. We have so many young players coming who are cost controlled that we have a lot of payroll flexibility to go out and do some of the things that might add impact from outside the organization, even without raising payroll. But certainly when we get closer to our TV deal and our revenues increase I think that you will see a lot of that money poured back into the Major League team.”
“There are a couple of decent pitchers coming from Asia. The Major League starting pitching free agent market is pretty good. The free agent class is more pitching risk than position player risk this off-season. And frankly the class after that is even more impressive, the 2015-16 off-season. So, there are so good arms. You never want to build through free-agent starting pitching because historically it is a bad investment. There may be a point where we are so well stocked with our position player front and we have position depth and we really need that impact top of the rotation arm where we jump into those waters, but we are not going to look at it as something that has to be accomplished in one off-season. We have to grow our Major League team the way we’ve grown this organization which is methodically, patiently, not putting pressure on ourselves to do it but taking advantage of the right opportunities.”
On the way the team has played of late and if it is important for young players’ development to win games
“Yes, I think it is meaningful for a couple of reasons. Not the record itself per say but to the extent it helps create a bit of a winning culture where I think it is really important that players show up to the park each day knowing that the priority of the organization is to win that night’s game. And that is something that is hard to accomplish when you’re constantly trading your best two starting pitchers at the trade deadline every year and there is so much talk about the prospects. As we win more games we start to shift the focus back to winning that night’s game and where we are in the standings and that is a good thing because of the impact it has on our players and the culture it creates in the clubhouse and that is really important. I think it is also important to the extent that it reflects a better level of talent overall on the Major League team. Our roster looks a lot different now than it did on Opening Day. It looks a lot different now than it did in 2012. There are some real talented players and more to come. I think our recent record reflects that and hopefully we can keep it going. We know its baseball and there is going to be a lot of ups and downs. Creating a winning culture and having talent are two really important parts of building a championship team and we think we are making some progress in those areas.