Theo Epstein says deadline is not a “panacea”

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By now it’s clear the Cubs are an improved team, albeit one that’s flawed and has some places where reinforcement is needed. And with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, some might be hoping Theo Epstein and the front office will make a headline-grabbing splash that pushes the Cubs to another level.

That’s not how Epstein said he’s viewing this deadline.

“You have to be creative, you have to be patient and you have to be understanding and you have to recognize that the trade deadline is not a panacea,” Epstein said. “It just gets a ton of attention for natural reasons, but if you go back and look it’s rarely the defining factor.”

Epstein said that before the Cubs lost 2-1 on Friday to the Miami Marlins. During that defeat, the Cubs had a familiar look. Jason Hammel threw seven strong innings and allowed only solo homers to Christian Yelich and Justin Bour, but that outing wasn’t enough because the offense continued to struggle.

At this point, the Cubs could probably use another starting pitcher, more depth in the bullpen and based on recent performances another bat. Those could come through trades – maybe more consequential than the acquisition of Clayton Richard from Pittsburgh to start Saturday – or from the disabled list as Jorge Soler is closing in on a return. It could even come from the emergence of Rafael Soriano, whom Epstein said has cleared his immigration problems.

Regardless, Epstein looked back at his time with Boston and saw that not all trades can propel a team. After all, not every deal is like his 2004 blockbuster that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs and netted the Red Sox Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, something he noted.

“You look by the history of teams that go on to play in the World Series, it’s very rarely a deadline deal,” Epstein said “It’s just an opportunity to address things maybe for this year areas of need, maybe do something to set yourself up for next year, address something that might be hard to address in the offseason but it’s not the be-all end-all panacea, sort of complete focal point that it’s portrayed as.

If nothing is added, Joe Maddon is more than willing to go forward with what the Cubs have.

“In my mind, I’m always anticipating that nothing will happen and that way that you get to understanding, try to figure out what you have right here now,” Maddon said. “I’ve always worked from that premise.”

Epstein added:“Yeah, we know what we’d like to do but we’re realistic about what we might be able to do.”

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