Theo Epstein revealed that he is looking to improve the Cubs' roster ahead of the trade deadline. (Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Theo Epstein revealed that he is looking to improve the Cubs' roster ahead of the trade deadline. (Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon discuss Cubs' approach to trade deadline


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO — With the All-Star break looming and the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon fielded questions in his pregame media session on Saturday that concerned deadline deals that the Cubs could potentially make. Understandably, Maddon dodged the questions a bit, deferring to the judgment of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

"My job is to do my job," Maddon said rather bluntly, "and trusting Theo and Jed is a very easy thing to do. They'll make the right moves at the appropriate time. It's up to us to hold up our end."

Referring to the team holding up its end of the bargain, Maddon implied that the Cubs are going to have to get on the winning track after enduring a slump since late May. Maddon did admit to reporters that he had been in communication with Epstein and Hoyer regarding possible transactions, but he mostly took the high road by speaking on the importance of the Cubs experiencing second-half success right out of the gate following the All-Star break.

Epstein also spoke with the media at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday and was a little more direct than Maddon when discussing trade opportunities. Although the Cubs, who could certainly benefit from having their bench and bullpen upgraded before the end of the month, are not close to making any trades at the present time, Epstein revealed that he and Hoyer are "in a proactive stance."

"We're looking for things we can make happen just because we haven't been playing that well for a while now," Epstein said.

Earlier in the week, Epstein was somewhat abrupt in a radio appearance, as he threatened that significant changes were looming if the Cubs did not right the ship on the field, with his comments perhaps implying that Maddon's job could be on the line. However, on Saturday, Epstein shouldered some of the blame for the Cubs' recent woes and defended Maddon.

"I'm not going to sit here and say it's on him," Epstein said of Maddon. "It's my job to put him in a position to succeed. His job is to put the players in a position to succeed."

Sharing with the press that he feels like the Cubs are "collectively not getting the job done right now," Epstein certainly did not have many positive things to say about a team that has put together a losing record since the end of May. Overall, the remarks made by Epstein foreshadowed the Cubs being heavily involved on the trade market for the remainder of July, with Epstein possibly recognizing that the Cubs' roster is not built for postseason success.

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