Twelve games into the season and a 4-8 record was enough for the Cubs to make a minor roster shake-up.
The Cubs now are 4-9 after Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field. The game ended with Darwin Barney lining to center field with the bases loaded, only to see Craig Gentry make a sliding catch to end the game. The Cubs scored both of their runs in the ninth with two outs.
Both team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer met the media before the game. Even though few expected much from the Cubs this season, Hoyer's choice of words was interesting.
"I think we've underperformed the way we've played on the field," Hoyer said, noting they outhomered the Giants 8-1 over the weekend and lost three of four. "To use a football analogy, we ran up and down the field, and they won three out of four games. You do that and you should win a lot more games than we did."
The Cubs added veterans Kevin Gregg and Kameron Loe to the bullpen, designating Hisanori Takahashi for assignment. They also designated infielder Brent Lillibridge while picking up infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from San Diego.
Epstein talked about the Cubs' talent level from a couple of different standpoints.
"We're off to a slower start than we would've liked," he said. "Some sloppy play that we need to eradicate sooner rather than later. The bullpen is off to a slow start, which can make for some tough losses. We're not that talented that we can get away with playing sloppy ball, so we need to fix that."
These are all mid- to lower-echelon moves for the Cubs, who have seen their player payrolls at the major-league level shrink over the past several years.
Epstein, like everybody watching the product on the field, is waiting for the added revenue to come in when and if the Cubs get final approval on their stadium-renovation plan.
"A lot of it depends on what happens going forward, with the TV deal and some other factors," he said. "We need revenues to increase in order for us to execute our baseball plan. We expect them to. We have a lot of people on the business side working hard for that. We are not where we want to be right now in terms of payroll. It has gone down. As we move forward with our baseball plan, it will eventually go back up.
"That (revenue) won't in of itself be the determining factor in our success. We need to generate a stream of young talent through our farm system. We want to complement that with some aggression in free agency."
Epstein noted that the Cubs' player payroll is third in the National League Central.
"That's fine," he said. "It should be first in the division. This (increased revenues and improved young talent is) one of the ways we're going to get there."
For now, the Cubs need to find a way to win games. Lefty Travis Wood turned in his third quality start, going 71⁄3 innings and giving up 2 runs. Beleaguered reliever Shawn Camp committed a throwing error on a pickoff and gave up a 2-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the eighth.
"We are right there in every game," Wood said. "As a team, we got to figure out how to get over that hump and starting closing these games out."