Red Sox & Cubs Series Preview Q&A
The Sox continue their road trip through the NL part of the inter league schedule and the next stop is the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, the home of the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs are one of the worst teams in baseball and of course have Theo Epstein at the helm trying to turn things around for the franchise that hasn’t won a World Series in what will be 105 years after the 2012 season. The Cubs aren’t going to the postseason this year and as Jordan from Cubbies Crib points out, the fans are okay with that. We also talked about which players he thinks the Cubs will move before the deadline along with Starlin Castro and his issues that sometimes give him a bad rap. Enjoy.
1. How are Cubs fans dealing with their beloved team being one of the worst teams in baseball? Was it expected knowing it would take Epstein a few years to have an impact or did they want better results instantly?
For the most part, Cubs fans are welcoming the Cubs poor season. Reason being Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer did not hide from the truth this off-season. They both admitted that this season would be tough and that the results would not be directly evident. I liken what Epstein is doing to when there are new condos being put up. You first have to demolish the old condo before you can build the new one. That is what the Cubs front office is doing this off-season. They are tearing down the old regime, and will continue to build their new condo.
2. Speaking of Theo, in your opinion, how has he done so far? Is there the fear he will overspend on players and bad contracts like he did in Boston during his last few years?
Epstein has been great. I am not too concerned with the overspending that has marred Epstein’s reputation in Boston. I personally feel their were outside influences that tied Epstein to signing Carl Crawford. But he has made his mistakes just like any general manager. However, Epstein’s moves with the Cubs have been excellent. In the span of 6 months, Epstein has added the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler to the team’s farm system. That is a dramatic improvement from where the Cubs’ farm system was. Not mention that all three of those prospects have to potential to be impact players for the Major League team.
3. What’s been the biggest reason for the Cubs struggling to win ballgames?
The biggest reason is because they are a team that is mixed with two different philosophies. Players from the previous regime still have the flaws that they did in their previous seasons, and the players that the new regime brought in–Ian Stewart, David DeJesus–are far from impact players. But the Cubs offense has been really bad, and when the offense has been there, the bullpen would go missing.
4. There is a lot of trade talk involving the Cubs. Names like Garza, Dempster and LaHair all come up on a daily basis. Which of the three do you think will get moved?
Dempster will likely be traded within the next three weeks. Boston? Los Angeles? New York? there are a lot of teams that are interested in the veteran starting pitcher, who could be the top pitcher on the trade market. The Cubs have already identified themselves as sellers, for that reason, teams may look to acquire Dempster sooner in order to get the most impact from the 35 year old pitcher. Don’t let Dempster’s win-loss record twist your thinking, Dempster has been one of the top National League starting pitchers this season.
5. Starlin Castro has the raw talent to be a superstar in the this league, yet we hear of some behavioral issues that have raised some eyebrows. Is this typical media stuff blowing it out of proportion or does the kid have some growing up to do? Is it detrimental to the team?
Starlin Castro is loved in the Cubs clubhouse. The shortstop has no behavior problems, rather mental lapses from time to time. What people have to realize is Castro is only 22 years old, so he still 5 seasons away from when he will be at his prime. Until that time, Castro is going to continue to grow and develop. Castro’s defense has improved greatly this season, and that is more reason to be optimistic about Castro’s ascension into elite status.
6. Finally, briefly breakdown the pitching matchups and give us your predictions? Which one are you looking forward to watching the most?
I’m liking Saturday’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija for the Cubs against Jon Lester for the Red Sox. Samardzija has struggled of late, but he still has given the Cubs plenty reasons why he could be viewed as potential top three pitcher in a starting rotation. I have always been a fan of success stories, and Lester certainly has one. On Sunday, Paul Maholm–who has been fairly respectable for the Cubs this season–will take on Josh Beckett.