7/23 Looking ahead

The future is bright for the Cubs. Theo Epstein was asked what the team needs to do to build for 2015.

“We were ranked the top farm system in baseball and that’s nice to the extent that it reflects a lot of hard work by our scouts and the player development people and the players themselves, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” Epstein said Wednesday. “We’re in last place. Almost by definition, our work lies ahead of us, it’s not behind us. What do we have to do? We have everything to do.

“We have to continue to build the organization, we have to continue to improve the Major League team. That generation, they’re going to break in at some point and the process of adjusting to the big leagues starts.”

Epstein said Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are key pieces of the Cubs foundation.

“True baseball fans really like young players and they like following players along the whole journey, and players who are homegrown, they get to know,” Epstein said. “If all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to provide [fans] with that experience and maybe a whole group of players they can get to know for a decade and appreciate and win together.

“You have to balance it out,” he said. “We don’t deserve to be on the covers of magazines, we don’t deserve to be lauded right now because we haven’t done anything yet. At best, what we’ve done is put ourselves in a position to make a lot of interesting decisions going forward and hopefully, have two of the most important currencies in the game in young players and available payroll dollars and go make some hay. We’re not there yet. We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re in last place, so all of work remains ahead.”

— Carrie Muskat

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