I’ve already fulfilled my Manny Machado quota for the day, but just like that bag of chips that keeps calling your name even after you’ve eaten your fill, I just cant quit this content. That first piece looked at how some non-Cubs execs viewed the proposed trades that have been floated (they laughed). This time we’re bottling straight from the source.
Theo Epstein joined 670 The Score’s Mully and Hanley to talk about his team’s struggles, but the inexorable gravitational force of trade rumors pulled the conversation toward the hypothetical.
“I can say with regards to this particular spasm of media frenzy, it is outrageously outsized when you compare it to the reality of the situation,” Epstein quipped.
While it’s true that some folks are probably hyping this whole deal up way more than is necessary, I’m really not sure the whole “spasm” thing is justified. Oh hold on, my leg is twitching uncontrollably and I’m going to need to set my laptop down until it subsides.
Hey, you still there? Wow, sorry about that, not sure what happened. Anyway, let’s get back to Epstein’s comments on the rumor business, which at no point actually include the names Manny or Machado, either individually or together. That’s understandable, since he can’t just come out and openly discuss such things.
“We’re still figuring out our place in the division,” Epstein explained. “Our play will determine that. And we’re still figuring out the important task of trying to play up to our ability and to overachieve rather than underachieve. That’s where this thing really begins and ends.
“There’s an atypical amount of trade discussion in May this year, which is essentially nil. I understand it’s natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it’s honestly something we’re looking at and just rolling our eyes at.
“It’s not like July, where every now and then there’s lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen. This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point.”
In regards to the “fantasy land” bit, I think he’s talking more about the fervor with which the whole possibility is being covered, not the potential reality of it. I liken it to the same way my wife thought about our upcoming trip to Italy when I talked to her about it back in January: No sense getting in a tizzy about something that won’t be real for a while.
Ed. note: At least three CI folks have decided to flee the country — legally, in most cases — for various lengths of time in early June, so here’s your early warning that we might be slower than usual for a few days in there. Also, please don’t break into my home while I’m gone.
What is real right now, though, is that the talk is naturally going to reach the players whose names are being mentioned. Addison Russell says he remains largely ignorant of the situation, but that’s impossible when he’s being asked about it frequently. As such, team execs need to be cognizant of whether and how the rumors are impacting the clubhouse.
“[I]f it’s hyper-focused on one player and if there’s essentially nothing to it, then I will take the opportunity to pull the player aside and talk to him,” Epstein explained. “And I won’t say in this case whether I have or not, but you can probably tell from those characteristics that I just talked about whether I have or not.”
Regardless of what eventually happens (or doesn’t), you can be sure that the Cubs’ motivations are quite simple. If a move makes sense and improves their chances now without hurting them later, they’ll make it.
“I only see value in deals that I think make us better for the short term in terms of helping us win a World Series and leave us in a good position in the long term as well,” Epstein said. “Or balancing those two, where the organization ultimately benefits.”
Sounds simple enough, right? I was going to write a little more, but this muscle tic my leg is really starting to act up again and I’m afraid I’ve got to go. See you in fantasy land, friends.