Epstein: 'Change In Order' If Cubs Keep Struggling

"It obviously can't continue," Theo Epstein says. "It's not acceptable."

McNeil & Parkins Show
July 03, 2019 - 3:19 pm
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(670 The Score) With his Cubs in a prolonged rut, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein laid out the stakes Wednesday afternoon of what the next couple of weeks hold.

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"I don't think sitting on our hands is really a viable option," Epstein on the McNeil & Parkins Show. "We want to to be in a position to have enough belief that we're looking to aggressively add and sort of polish up what we think can be a championship team. If we're not, that means this stretch of bad play has continued. And if this stretch of bad play continues, then certainly ... a ton of change is in order."

The Cubs have lost three straight and are 16-23 since they were sitting at a season-high 11 games over .500 after a win on May 22. In a tightly bunched NL Central, they sit one game behind the first-place Brewers.

Chicago's offense has showcased power and the ability to get on base but struggled mightily with runners in scoring position. The rotation has been inconsistent and is now missing its most reliable starter in left-hander Cole Hamels, who's out with an oblique strain. The baserunning and defense have been "sloppy," to steal a word that Epstein used.

"We're all really frustrated, obviously," Epstein said. "It's a stretch of play nobody is proud of, nor should anybody be. It's hard. But you find out a lot about what people are made of during stretches like these. It obviously can't continue. It's not acceptable. There have been too many words about it and not enough action. There's nothing I can say, especially on a radio interview, to make it better. It's incumbent on all of us to find ways out of it. And obviously on our (front office) end, a big part of that is transactional. It's the time of year to do that. Change is obviously called for if we keep playing like this. But there's opportunities for everyone to do better -- every player, every coach, everyone associated with what we're doing right now. It's not satisfactory."

In an effort to find a spark, the Cubs will promote infielder Robel Garcia from Triple-A later Wednesday, Epstein said. Garcia had 15 homers and a .947 OPS in 50 games at Triple-A. Garcia could fill the void at an unproductive second base, and he's also been getting reps in the outfield at Triple-A recently.

Of course, Epstein knows the troubles extend far beyond the addition of one talented youngster to the bench. That's why Epstein struck a tone of of disgust Wednesday while also holding out hope for a turnaround.

"Certainly between now and July 31, if we haven't started to play better and even if we have in some areas ... change to just change the environment might be called for, change as a catalyst," Epstein said. "There are lots of different areas.

"I actually am really optimistic about our ability to fix it."