Cubs trade deadline plans aren’t so simple, per Theo Epstein

The Chicago Cubs trade deadline plan seems simple, but not if you ask Theo Epstein.

Even with after a 10-1 loss to Chicago White Sox Friday night, the Chicago Cubs are still 16-9 and hold a four-game lead in the NL Central. They are just 4-6 in their last 10 games, as the bullpen and some notable hitters have struggled.

With the bullpen and perhaps offensive reinforcements in mind, the Cubs appear to be a clear buyer as the Aug. 31 trade deadline nears. But President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spoke to the media on Friday and, via Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun Times, pumped the brakes on any significant moves to come.

“There are a lot of years when we know we have an impactful move or two in us. It’s just a matter of finding it and executing on it,” Epstein said. “This year, the moves might be more complimentary and there might be more internal solutions.”

In this unique and short season, Epstein is trying to set a lower bar of expectations for anyone  expecting the Cubs to make a major trade deadline move. With only one healthy lefty in the bullpen right now, Kyle Ryan, adding another southpaw seems to be on the radar. In fairness, that would be the kind of complementary move Epstein talked of and not a big move involving big names. The looming return of Jose Quintana (thumb) could be an “internal solution.”

Should the Cubs be all-in on 2020?

Epstein is too experienced and savvy to reveal anywhere near all his trade deadline cards. While a big move to add a big name is unlikely, as most teams deal with big picture uncertainty by being similarly close to the vest in trades, the Cubs can never be totally ruled out when it come to major moves.

The Cubs’ broader situation, with many key players coming up on the end of contracts, pushes the idea of them being all-in on this year. But according to Epstein, there’s good chance the North Siders just go forward as currently constructed until the offseason.

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