"I completely understand," Epstein said. "From a fan's standpoint, all we can do in the winter -- we can't go out and play hard and win 10 in a row -- all we can do is add players or spend money.
"If we're not doing that at the level we have in previous offseasons, I completely expect there to be questions.
"The fans have expectations that have changed. They're upset after a 95-win season. They should be. I totally get it.
"They waited more than a century to get on top and they want to stay there. I welcome their scrutiny."
So you want answers.
You want to know why there has been no check written for a few hundred million this winter when the Cubs guaranteed Jon Lester $155 million after 2014, Jason Heyward $184 million and Ben Zobrist $56 million after 2015, and Yu Darvish $126 million and Tyler Chatwood $38 million after 2017.
While you take a moment to digest a few of those names, Epstein gives you his side of the story.
"We've been in the top six payrolls every year since we became competitive and we will continue to be," Epstein said. "But I think every team has to go into every offseason as nimble as they can be, with as much payroll flexibility as possible, with as many trade assets as possible, with as many guys coming off career years as possible, because it puts you in a better position.
"There are more possibilities out there to add players, make trades, sign free agents.
"We've had a lot of years where all those things have gone well and lined up. Those have been the offseasons where we've been more active and gotten a lot of credit for all our moves."
But, ya know, best laid plans and such.
"This year," Epstein continued, "because decisions we've made the last couple years haven't worked out, because a number of guys had down years, because we had a number of players not live up to expectations, because some of the contracts we have are not as movable as we expected them to be at this point, we are not in that position.
"We have nowhere near the flexibility we normally have, we're not as nimble as we normally are and the world of possibilities is much smaller than we're used to. That's just the reality.
"It's not going to be that way every year. That's the way it is right now.
"So if you cheered us when we had really aggressive offseasons and everyone thought we were doing everything right, then you should criticize us for being in this position now. That's the way baseball is.
"But it doesn't mean that we're a cheap organization. We have spent an awful lot of money on players."