Epstein: Cubs Won't Be Reactive At Deadline

The Cubs hope to benefit from the return of right-hander Yu Darvish.

Mully & Haugh Show
July 18, 2018 - 12:15 pm
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein

Jake Roth/USA Today Sports


(670 The Score) President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and the Cubs are hoping to add the missing piece to their rotation before the trade deadline, an accomplished pitcher capable of transforming their staff beyond its current level.

That would be right-hander Yu Darvish, who was signed to a six-year deal in February and is potentially nearing a return to the Cubs' rotation. Currently 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts, Darvish has been on the disabled list since late May with right triceps soreness and a right elbow impingement.

Epstein sees Darvish as the kind of addition to his team that will carry the Cubs where they want to go.

"He's got incredible talent and ability to impact the team, get on a roll where he can carry a starting staff," Epstein on the Mully & Hanley Show on Wednesday morning. "But more than anything, we just want him to get healthy and get back into a routine so he can feel normal here, feel like he's contributing. The talent part will take care of itself.

"He's been frustrated that he hasn't been able to contribute and his arm hasn't been able to feel great, but he's had a really good last couple weeks and we'll check back in on him Thursday. Hopefully it's not too much longer."

The Cubs return to work as they open a five-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on Thursday out of the All-Star break. The team will continue to work cautiously with Darvish, Epstein said, after he suffered a setback in June just days from a return.

Baseball's trade market is becoming active with less than two weeks remaining for non-waiver deals, but the Cubs likely won't make the kind of splash they did a year ago in trading for left-hander Jose Quintana or two years ago for closer Aroldis Chapman. 

Epstein and the Cubs won't trade just because rivals are more active.

"You can't get reactive in this game," Epstein said. "You end up making moves that might feel good in the moment or make you feel like you responded, but then you look up with the benefit of perspective and realize you really cost yourself in the long run.

"The goal is to be extremely competitive and successful at the highest levels year in and year out. We talk about sustained success and the basic way to define that is getting into October and hopefully deep into October an annual basis. That's what we're trying to do."

The Cubs (55-38) are a season-high 17 games over the .500 mark at the All-Star break and own first place in the NL Central by 2.5 over the Brewers. There have been highs and lows for the Cubs during the first half of baseball, but Epstein remains confident in what's to come.

"Despite a first half in which a lot of things went wrong for us, we wake up at the All-Star break and we somehow have the best record in the National League, which I think speaks to a lot to overall talent on the roster, a lot of individual contributions and the way the team overcame some adversity," Epstein said. "I think we all feel we can have a better second half than the first half.

"We're not going to make dramatic changes for change's sake, but that said, there are certainly areas of the roster we feel we can fortify that we have to create a little bit more depth, create a little bit more quality in certain areas. That can happen internally, but certainly if the right deal is there, we wouldn't hesitate to address it externally as well."