In a press conference held a Wrigley Field, new Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein gave some insight into how he plans on bringing a World Series title to Chicago’s north side.
First and foremost, Epstein emphasized the need to "build a solid foundation for sustained success" by putting money into research and development to find "the next competitive advantage" that can give the franchise an edge. Despite being known around the MLB as a sabermetric guru quantitative analysis, Theo was careful to talk about the importance of traditional scouting as well. "When we do achieve that sustained success and ultimately win the World Series, it will not happen because of one person, it will happen because of all of us," Epstein explained.
Getting the Cubs to the World Series is no small task, and that is something he seems to understand well, saying: "I was ready for the next big challenge. This is the ultimate challenge." He was further willing to acknowledge that "there’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be." With the Cubs coming off a disappointing 71-91 season and saddled with expensive players, at least Esptein seems to understand what he’s getting into.
However, three important issues went largely unanswered in the introductory press conference. First, Epstein said very little about what will happen to incumbent Manager Mike Quade, saying only that they have plans to meet in person some time next week.
Second, nobody defined how the power structure would operate in the Cubs’ front office. Will Theo Epstein be involved in day-to-day operations, or will the rumored new GM Jed Hoyer be the man making most decisions with Theo retaining final approval power? How will former Cubs President Crane Kenney be involved, if at all?
Finally, what compensation will be given to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Theo Epstein? On this issue, Theo responded to a direct question on the issue by citing a great working relationship between the two franchises, and suggesting it would be worked out over the next few weeks. Interestingly, he also suggested that a "third party" could become involved. Is this a reference to MLB Commissioner Bug Selig, or perhaps another team?