Theo Epstein: Cubs Are Disinclined To Pay Premium For A Rental Player

"It's hard to build an organization that way," Epstein says.

Bernstein & McKnight Show
May 10, 2018 - 9:46 am
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein

Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports


(670 The Score) The Cubs are disinclined to pay a "significant" price for a rental player ahead of the trade deadline, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said on the Bernstein & McKnight Show on Thursday morning.

"Look, we've only paid a real premium for a rental one time, and that was when we traded Gleyber Torres for Aroldis Chapman (in 2016)," Epstein said. "And that was a sort of special circumstance in our mind. We felt we had a team that was an extraordinarily strong contender for the World Series, but there were some things going on in our bullpen that led us to conclude there was going to be a real need down the stretch and especially in October, and if we didn't do something, we weren't going to win the World Series."

Epstein's comments Thursday were made with the context of external rumors swirling about the future of Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado, who figures to hit the trading block soon as Baltimore struggles mightily. Machado is in the final season of his contract, and the Cubs had a preliminary check-in with the Orioles about him in the offseason, the Chicago Sun-Times recently reported.

Judging by Epstein's words, it appears the Cubs are unlikely to add Machado.

"As a rule, we will not be paying premiums for rentals," Epstein said. "We just won't. It's hard to build an organization that way. Let's be honest: We've poured a lot of resources into this team and this group, a lot of crazy dollars and a lot of trade resources. We've made a number of trades over the last few years. If we play ourselves into a position where we can benefit from some improvement and we're a legitimate championship contender, absolutely we will be pushing the envelope to try to get better. But that will probably not include paying a significant premium of future assets for a rental, because we have to build this organization and keep our focus on this group and this year's team and the immediate future in the next couple years but also keep an eye on what's going to happen after 2021. We can't be sacrificing all of our future assets in drafting guys exclusively to trade them. We can't do that. We have to build farm system. It's been used quite a bit to support this group, and we need to start growing the farm back as well."