Despite coming off a 101-loss season –– extending the club’s World Series drought to 104 years –– Epstein told CSNChicago.com that manager Dale Sveum‘s rising reputation as a player’s coach will be enticing to many.
“Dale’s making a name for himself as a manager that players want to play for,” Epstein reportedly said. “Free agents recognize that we had a good clubhouse last year, despite the difficult season that we had. I think generally free agents believe in the positive direction we’re going.
“Elite baseball players are really competitive and I think they like the thought of being part of the solution here. Being a member of the team that finally wins a World Series for the Cubs is really appealing. I’ve had a number of players tell me that directly. We have not had to sell our situation much at all.”
The Cubs have yet to make a big splash this offseason. They merely signed pitchers Scott Baker and Scott Feldman to one-year deals in order to bolster their starting rotation. But when Epstein has gauged interest in the free-agent market, he’s come away optimistic that players remain interested in playing for the Cubs –– despite the rebuilding movement.
“When we express interest, we’ve been hearing back, ‘Oh, that’s a place we’ve had our eye on,’” Epstein said, “which you don’t often hear coming off a 101-loss season.”
Epstein, who has held his position as team president for a little over a year, will certainly have more time to reconstruct the Cubs to his liking.