Epstein Happy With Resolve Of Maddon, Cubs

"The switch is back on," Theo Epstein says of his Cubs.

Bruce Levine
March 14, 2019 - 3:44 pm

MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- In his lengthy end-of-season press conference early last October, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein discussed the need for his team to learn from its mistakes of 2018 and have a new urgency to start 2019.

Early this spring, Epstein has been pleased with the tone set by manager Joe Maddon and how his players have approached their work.

"There was no mandate," Epstein said. "I have been really impressed with the players' attitudes. I think our players had a really productive offseason. There was nobody that was happy with the way it ended last season. They have shown up with a real seriousness about their work."

Related: Anthony Rizzo wants to remain with Cubs for remainder of his career

Epstein gave Maddon and each players a clear list of what to improve upon after the Cubs disappointed down the stretch last season, coughing up the National League Central crown to a scorching-hot Brewers team before losing in the NL wild-card game to the Rockies.

Epstein has often referenced that a good start is crucial, as it set the tone for the 2016 Cubs team that broke the organization's long championship drought.

"They know that if they want to get to where they want to go this year, we need to show up every single day," Epstein said. "That is not coming from us per se. It's coming from the player group. It's really important for them to be a full team that is a tough out every at-bat. They need to know every game matters. That seems to be the feeling around this camp. The switch is back on. The intensity is there, and I really feel it from our guys. That is a really good thing. I am impressed."

Epstein likes what he has seen from Maddon's renewed hands-on teaching approach.

"Him taking over the situational hitting has been great for everybody," Epstein said. "Players have really enjoyed having him engaged that intensely in something and being that hands on. Teaching situational hitting is something that at times can get overlooked. It is hard for the hitting coach to get all of this in, because it is a selfless activity. This is about sacrificing your numbers for the greater good of the team. When you have the manager that involved making it a priority, it sets the right tone for the group. Joe has done a really nice job of that."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.