Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein wants to add a starting pitcher this off-season, while keeping the team’s core position players.
After the New York Mets completed their NLCS sweep of the Cubs on Wednesday, Epstein was already looking toward the future in a press conference Thursday.
“Once you reach a point where you have a pretty good team, you approach the off-season in two ways,” Epstein said. “One is looking for ways to get better. And the second is trying to anticipate everything that could go wrong that will get in the way of you being really good again the next year or even better the next. I’m not sure what direction we're going to go in yet.
“We need quality pitching. I’m not going to rule anything out or anything in, except to say whether it's through trade or free agency, we’d like to add one quality pitcher this winter.”
In the regular season, Cubs pitchers posted a 3.21 ERA, third best in the majors. But the team was short on pitching options in the playoffs and slumped to a 4.38 postseason ERA, compared with the Mets’ 2.81.
If the Cubs look to trade for a pitcher, Epstein hopes to do so without sending away any of his core position players.
“I would love to have our entire position group back,” Epstein said. “It might not be possible. We have some other areas we need to address. We may be forced ... to take away from that position player group to add pitching. I don’t know.”
“We can’t get to Opening Day fast enough,” Epstein said.
- Erin Flynn