The Cubs won 95 games in 2018, and normally that would be enough to clinch a division title. It wasn’t this past season and despite major injuries and a brutal schedule to end the year, Theo Epstein wasn’t making excuses for the roster he put together. When you take everything into consideration the Cubs had no one else to blame but themselves for the disappointment that was the end of 2018.
There wasn’t the same sense of urgency and Epstein wasn’t shy calling out that aspect of the team back in October.
“There was a lot to grind through, and there was a lot to be proud of,” Epstein said. “But we could have done more from Day 1 through 162 as far as complete sense of urgency every day, being completely on mission every day, showing up with that assertiveness and that edge every single day to win.
“Ninety-five wins is tremendous. But sometimes divisions aren’t lost on the last day of the season when you only score one run, [or] they’re not lost in that last week of the season when the [Brewers] went 8-0 and you went 4-3. . . . Sometimes they’re lost early in the season when you have an opportunity to push for that sweep, but you’ve already got two out of three and you’re just not quite there with that killer instinct as a team.”
The Cubs have not only been looking for that certain edge, as a veteran catcher has been on their offseason wish list as well. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs tried to address both needs by signing Brian McCann.
Unfortunately, he signed with the Braves Yet, the Cubs still want someone who they feel can bring a David Ross-like vibe to the clubhouse.
Via The Athletic.
The Cubs, in search of a David Ross-type veteran presence, showed strong interest in Brian McCann before the free-agent catcher returned to the Braves on a one-year, $2 million contract, sources said.
McCann, 34, would have been an ideal fit – extremely likable, but edgy and demanding enough to draw the best out of his teammates. The Cubs need that kind of fire, perhaps even more than they did when Ross joined the team before the 2015 season.
Rosenthal then points to outfielder Adam Jones as a possible candidate to give the Cubs an edge they desperately want to bring back to the team.
The example the Cubs need might be someone like free-agent outfielder Adam Jones, though it’s doubtful they could guarantee him enough playing time.
Adam Jones seems like a great guy and he’s had a solid career with the Orioles, but I’m not really sure if his attitude in the clubhouse does much to help out the Cubs issues.
The Cubs need a good bat to stabilize a volatile lineup and as much as having a great leader in the clubhouse is, something that apparently this team has been lacking since 2016, I’d rather focus on getting players who will improve the offense.
Obviously the Cubs can do both, signing a veteran guy to bring a leadership presence and a player who can help the lineup. But the answer can’t be Adam Jones at this point of his career, as regression has hit him hard.
By the way, these players may not be veterans, but they certainly bring an edge to them.