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Cubs' Epstein waiting out pitcher market

Chicago exec and his team working on a 'few different things'
MLB.com @philgrogers

CHICAGO -- Patient isn't the first word you would use to describe Theo Epstein, but he is doing his best to handle this winter's market.

Epstein hopes the Cubs can add more pitching through at least one significant free-agent signing or trade, but doesn't know when it would happen.

CHICAGO -- Patient isn't the first word you would use to describe Theo Epstein, but he is doing his best to handle this winter's market.

Epstein hopes the Cubs can add more pitching through at least one significant free-agent signing or trade, but doesn't know when it would happen.

"Look, we'd make a move tonight if we could, but it's not there for us,'' Epstein said Friday at Cubs Convention. "We'll be patient and keep working hard. We've made moves in Spring Training before if it comes to that. I hope for everyone's sake things happen in an orderly fashion before Spring Training so players can settle.

"I'm done predicting this winter. It's taken on a life of its own. We'll see what happens."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Cubs remain linked to Yu Darvish, perceived by many as the top free agent, and haven't dismissed re-signing Jake Arrieta, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award and earned wins in five of his nine postseason starts over the past three seasons. They also have an inventory of position players that could fuel trades for starting pitchers or relievers.

"Sometimes you have to play along with the pace of play," Epstein said. "We're still working hard on a few different things. The team's not done. We're going to keep working at it.''

Video: Rogers on Cubs, Cardinals bidding war for Arrieta

It's unclear which way the Cubs will eventually go, but Epstein expects to add veteran pitchers to incoming free agents Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek and Drew Smyly, who signed in December.

"Realistically we'd certainly like to add another pitcher," he said. "I like the talent we have now, but I think we can certainly add to the depth. You can do that through depth moves or through adding another real quality pitcher and [getting a ripple effect]."

Epstein believes there could be significant trades made by the Cubs and other teams when more attractive free agents have signed. He's open-minded on Arrieta, but it doesn't appear there has been any traction in talks between the team and agent Scott Boras.

"We've never ruled anything out with him,'' Epstein said. "He's earned that right to be a free agent, so he gets the ability to talk to 30 teams. I'm sure he has a number of suitors. This is a special time for him, so sure, he's going to take his time and find just the right contract with the right place. We wish him well. It's not as if we've closed the door with him at all, but we'll see where the offseason goes.''

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.

 

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta