Epstein to Cubs fans: Hold us accountable
Cubs baseball president Theo Epstein didn't mind holding his own feet to the fire Saturday at the team's fan convention.
"Please hold us accountable," Epstein said. "We're trying to win at the big-league level. We're also continuing to try to build an organization. That means we're going to be throwing a lot of young players out there and asking patience with them because it's a process.
"But hold us accountable. We've made a lot of promises the last three years, asked for a ton of patience from you guys We have worked extremely hard to earn your trust and ultimately put a product on the field that will have you guys celebrating in October. Nothing would make us happier than seeing you guys happy in October."
Say it ain't Sosa:
For the last several years, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has been asked about inviting Sammy Sosa to the Cubs convention.
So far, nothing has happened, and Ricketts said Saturday to fans at the convention that "nothing has changed" and that a "few things have to happen" for Sosa to be welcomed back.
Sosa hit 545 of his 609 career home runs with the Cubs between 1992 and 2004. However, he has been tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He also was accused of walking out of the team on the final day of the 2004 season, precipitating a trade to Baltimore late the ensuing off-season.
Ricketts did not want to elaborate on his original Sosa comments.
"I don't want to get into Sammy," he said after the fan session. "The fact is there will be a time and a place for it, and we'll wait for that time and place."
The rooftop business:
Tom Ricketts confirmed his family's purchase of several so-called rooftop buildings outside of Wrigley Field. Ricketts said the Cubs would operate the buildings as rooftop businesses, enabling fans to watch games from the rooftops, for the foreseeable future.
The Bryant factors:
Theo Epstein was asked by fans about the timetable for bringing third-base phenom Kris Bryant to the major leagues. Bryant, the Cubs' top draft pick in 2013, was the consensus minor-league player of the year in 2014.
The Cubs essentially can get a free year against Bryant's free agency if they wait until in-season to bring Bryant up from Class AAA Iowa.
"You have to balance a number of factors, but they're all baseball-related factors," Epstein said. "It's Kris' development. It's what we need for the team. It's who else we have to play at certain positions. It's roster implications. We made that decision last year with Javy Baez (to bring him up during the season). If we were just looking to protect the player's service time, we wouldn't have called up Javy, or Jorge Soler.
"It was the right time for their development and the right thing for the team. So when it's the right time for Kris' development and the right time for the team, he'll be on the roster."