I thought the 2018 regular season was a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it turns out that the offseason is somehow driving Cubs fans, myself included, even more mad. We’re hanging on to every word, trying to decode quotes, pick apart terrible trade proposals and even when Theo Epstein speaks we have no idea what to make of it.

On the eve of the GM meetings in California, Epstein spoke with reporters and addressed a few things. The biggest headline was that the Cubs won’t have negotiations with Joe Maddon on a contract extension this offseason.

So, Maddon enters 2019, the final year of his current deal, as a lame duck manager. His status with the club will be re-evaluated near the end of next season or at its conclusion.

My initial reaction was obviously this can’t bode well for Maddon’s future with the Cubs. However, Epstein continued and kind of softened the news.

All right, obviously we remember Epstein’s comments from October, when he said there was a lack of urgency by the team as a whole and that some players weren’t all too thrilled with the constant lineup changes. So, it’s understandable that there’s a challenge being sent out to Maddon and the players for 2019.

Epstein also discussed Addison Russell’s status with the team and confirmed a report from a few days ago that they are considering bringing back the shortstop.

I know it’s upsetting for some fans, most fans, that the Cubs simply haven’t released Russell. I do think that Epstein is being sincere when he talks about Russell and the domestic violence allegations that MLB investigated and found credible enough to suspend him for 40 games. Yet, to me it’s kind of when something bad happens and then you completely overreach and try too hard to make it seem better.

That’s what I get from Epstein trying really hard, or at least publicly saying how he wants to be part of the solution.

The thing is, Russell has never publicly admitted to doing anything wrong. There just can’t be any way the Cubs can say they’re trying to be part of the solution when Russell doesn’t appear to have any sense of contrition.

Despite what Epstein has said, I think it’s still a safe bet that Russell won’t play with the Cubs again.

And now let’s get to the last thing that really freaked out Cubs fans.

So, for the past week the narrative surrounding the Cubs has been that they will not spend big in free agency. Basically, no Harper or Machado, so don’t even dream about that possibility because it isn’t happening.

Yet, it’s Theo, he always gets his guy in free agency and all the articles about the Cubs not spending to go beyond the $246 million payroll has mostly been speculation. The last time we heard Epstein talk he was bringing up how the offense broke in 2018 and things needed to change.

Then, there was this quote from Epstein.

So, again my initial reaction was a big what the fuck, Theo! Literally a month ago you said changes needed to happen and now, it’s wait and see how 2019 goes? Immediately you think that Epstein had a set plan to be aggressive in free agency, but then when he went to Tom Ricketts to get the green light on the money he said no.

But I cooled off and even writing this now I can see how Cubs fans shouldn’t really be freaking out. I took those comments as the Cubs literally not doing anything of much significance in the offseason. Yet, the narrative that the Cubs won’t be spending definitely altered my emotions last night.

Because there was also this from Jesse Rogers. He shared some quotes too and then was asked by a fan about Harper or Machado to the Cubs.

See, that seems more normal. There’s just no way the Cubs are going to be telegraphing their entire plan in the offseason. Even if they plan not to be aggressive there isn’t any benefit in sharing your intent in the media.

The quote above was used in every story, which again all mainly focused on a bigger picture for the 2019 Cubs, not so much this offseason. Then, there was this by 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine, who ended his latest article with that same quote.

Except, there was something more to it.

“We are really talented,” Epstein said. “For the group as a whole and a lot of individual players, it’s now time to turn that talent into production. In a lot of ways, we are going to be as good as our core produces. It’s time to produce or there will be a significant change with the group. That is really where our focus is. We hope to have a really active offseason to make this team better.”

“We hope to have a really active offseason to make this team better.”

All righty. Let’s go! You know how to make this team better? Signing one of the two best players in the league who just happen to be available this offseason.

Via the Chicago Tribune.

“I’m not ruling anything out,” Epstein said Monday. “We have a lot of moving parts and we have an open mind and we have a lot of desire to get better, so I’m not ruling anything in or anything out.”

Paul Sullivan thinks that means the Cubs won’t even kick the tires on Harper or Machado, but I didn’t get that from the quote.

I don’t fucking know anymore.

In conclusion, no one knows what the hell is actually going to happen and yet I love every second of this overreaction.

Happy offseason!