Epstein still searching for ways and means to improve Cubs' roster

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cubs team president Theo Epstein talked Friday about how he's trying to improve the roster during a very unusual trade market.

    Cubs team president Theo Epstein talked Friday about how he's trying to improve the roster during a very unusual trade market. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/21/2020 9:05 PM

The major league trade deadline is 10 days away and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein admitted Friday he has no idea what might happen. He did admit to having at least one item on his shopping list, though.

"One thing we'd like to do, with Brad Wieck being hurt almost the entire year and Kyle Ryan being the only lefty (in the bullpen)," Epstein said. "If we can get some help, it doesn't necessarily have to be a left-handed reliever, but somebody who can get lefties out, that would help us and help stabilize the pen some more. But I'm certainly encouraged by the way (the Cubs bullpen) is trending."

 

Meanwhile, with revenues in a nose-dive thanks to the pandemic and no fans in the seats, Epstein suggested every team is dealing with uncertainty.

"Probably fewer sellers than typical for 10 days away," he said. "We'll see how that evolves. I still think a number of teams are weighing more factors than usual with some of the uncertainty, the new playoff format. A lot of conversations now are, 'We're weighing finances, we're weighing this.' That's what you hear from a lot of teams."

Epstein was asked directly if the Cubs have enough in their budget to take on additional salary in a trade.

"It will involve conversations, I think, right up to the point of when we have to decide on a transaction and probably right up to the deadline itself. I don't have a solid answer to the direct question.

"Just about every team in the industry, maybe every team in the sports world, is over budget in the big picture, when you look at what's happened to revenue. You have to weigh taking on any additional expense and decide if it's something worth moving forward with."

Quintana close to ready?

Jose Quintana's bullpen session in South Bend was a short one on Friday, just 43 pitches including warmups, said Cubs manager David Ross.

The short session leads one to think it was just a tune-up for a big-league return next week, but Ross wouldn't commit to anything. The left-handed starter sliced the thumb on his pitching hand in a kitchen accident just before the start of summer training and needed microsurgery to repair the wound.

"We'll wait and get feedback before I put anything out there on when he's coming back and what the plan is," Ross said before Friday's game. "Let me just see how he feels tomorrow, talk to him in person. Then we'll have a plan going forward."

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