Theo Epstein talked about his team and its recent struggles before Thursday’s game at Wrigley. Epstein is not concerned about the way the Cubs have played and said he thinks “it’s sort of baseball reality.”
Epstein explained, “It’s impossible to win at the pace we were winning at early in the season the whole year. Every team, even championship-caliber clubs, go through a month or so where they play .500 or so baseball, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s not surprising.”
Epstein does not think “it’s fair to put this recent downturn in performance exclusively at the foot of the bullpen.” Epstein pointed to the fact the Cubs have not “had the same relentless, grinding approach at the plate for the last month or so” that was part of the team’s success early in the season.
The Cubs are believed to be looking for help in the bullpen, a starting pitcher and a left-handed hitting outfielder. The Cubs see the need in all three areas as players the team has missed on the field get healthy and return from the disabled list.
Theo Epstein provided an update on where the front office stands with the non-waiver trade deadline just a little over three weeks away.
The Cubs are early in the process of determining what the front office will be able to do. Epstein explained they know what they would like to do. The Cubs will have to be patient as the market develops. Epstein said the Cubs are looking for a starting pitcher.
“We are still looking for a starter for a couple of reasons. For the long-term, because we’re just not that deep organizationally in starting pitching, and because you can’t assume health. It’s a tough market for starting pitching. There are teams that are in probably more desperate straits for a starter that might pay a higher price than we would. But we’ll see. We’re going to pursue all avenues.”
Epstein believes that at least one of the relievers currently on the roster will step up and start pitching better. Plus, he thinks there is a reliever currently in the organization that will help the team win games after the break. Epstein said he thinks the Cubs will add at least one bullpen arm from outside of the organization.
“That’s certainly an area that we would look to upgrade externally and also internally. If I had to make a prediction, I’ll say that we’re going to get some help from somebody who’s currently in the ‘pen, but not locked in yet. At least one of those guys will lock in and pitch really well. And then someone who’s not with us now … but he’s still in the organization … will come up and pitch really well. And then I think we’ll add. There’s a good chance that we’ll make a deal that will help us in the ‘pen as well. When things don’t go well, there’s always a rush to look outside, especially this time of year.”
Veteran right-hander Joe Nathan has pitched well for Double-A Tennessee. Nathan appears to be on track to join the Cubs in the first series after the break. Reports on lefty Brian Matusz have been positive.
Theo Epstein liked what he saw from Adam Warren during his first start of the season against the Reds. Epstein said that was the “real Adam Warren” and that he “pitched the way he was supposed to pitch.” Epstein added he was “really encouraged by his performance.” According to the Sun-Times, Epstein thinks the sharpness Warren had “will help whether he continues in the rotation at some point or ends up back in the pen.”
The Cubs are doing their homework from self-scouting to sending scouts to reportedly see the Yankees’ relievers of ‘No Runs DMC’ and Rich Hill.
Theo Epstein knows what will help this team after the break throughout the season. Time will tell if the front office will be able to acquire its top targets before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.