The Cubs are 27-10 as the quarter-mark of the season quickly approaches. Obviously the Cubs have played good ball and have had a lot of things go their way early in the season. Maintaining a .730 winning percentage is not baseball reality as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have recently stated. For instance, the Cubs will have a losing streak at some point this season, and one that lasts longer than two games.
The Cubs have their sights set on the division title, avoiding the Wild Card Game and getting into the tournament. Once in the post-season anything is possible, and that includes reaching the ultimate goal. Remember when it comes to the post-season, it’s not always the best team that is the last one standing.
The front office is expected to be somewhat active leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on Aug. 1 exploring ways to improve the Cubs roster. Many in the game think the Cubs will try to acquire a starting pitcher, a reliever or two and possibly an outfielder.
Jim Duquette asked Jed Hoyer during an interview Monday on Power Alley (MLB Network Radio) about the challenge of improving a team that in the middle of May is considered the best in baseball. Hoyer would not tip his hand as to which area or areas the front office would like to strengthen before the deadline. But he did say the Cubs are doing their homework and staying prepared just in case something unforeseen happens they must react to.
“The way I always look at it is we don’t know what’s going to happen. Right now, our bullpen is throwing great. Our starting pitching has been really good. Our lineup has been good. But that’s not going to continue there’s going to be, something is going to come up in the next two and a half months that is going to force us to attack. We know that.”
“We’ve got meetings all week to discuss that. So, I think you can always be prepared for something going wrong,” Hoyer said. “I think that’s just the nature of this job, is sort of preparing for that.”
“We never expected to lose Kyle Schwarber for the year. Luckily we were prepared depth wise to handle that. But the next thing that goes wrong we might not be prepared internally to handle and we’ll have to go outside and find that fix.”
“I think that’s the biggest thing is just being ready,” Hoyer said. “You don’t know where that injury is going to come, but you know it’s going to be there. These seasons don’t go perfectly. Things are going to go wrong and it’s our job to try to fix them when they do.”
The front office indicated before the season that there was room in the budget to add payroll to the big league team. Plus, the Cubs have a deep farm system with prospect currency that could be used to acquire players.
The Cubs have maintained any deals involving prospects would have to benefit the organization beyond this season. In other words, the Cubs are not going to overpay for a rental if that’s the direction they go to add to the roster. Deals would likely be for players that would be under club control at least through the 2017 season.
Theo Epstein recently talked to Mark Grote about the front office’s stance on trading prospects. Grote asked Epstein if he is willing to trade some of the prospects at the Double- and Triple-A levels or even lower level players that are considered top prospects to improve the big league roster.
“I think there is a time when those deals make sense as long as the deals are somewhat fair. We’re never just going to completely sell out and mortgage the future in a lopsided deal for a short-term, short-sided acquisition.”
“But if we can matchup and find something that makes a real deep impact with the talent that we are giving up, absolutely. Again that’s the lens through which you view your club,” Epstein said. “If we’re good enough where we can win the World Series, you leave no stone unturned on that path.”
Over the next two-plus months the Cubs are going to be linked to numerous players, some will fit within ‘The Plan’ and some will not. The front office is going to do everything it can to keep the team on track and the comments from Hoyer alone speak volumes about how the front office goes about putting the team in the best position to win games.