Theo Epstein on tanking discussion: Cubs played by the rules

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Theo Epstein says the Cubs would be “in a different place today’’ if they hadn’t followed the strategy they did. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Cubs got where they are now, with realistic hopes of winning a World Series, by not winning for a long time. That strategy gave them high draft picks, which they used to take Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.

Despite more teams taking the tanking route, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday that he doesn’t think it’s a problem worth fixing.

And Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, makes no apologies for how he has built his team. Asked where he stands on the tanking discussion, he said:

“Just play within the rules that are established for us. But I think it’s important for teams to do long-term planning and to have an honest self-assessment of where you are in the success cycle. If we had come in in 2012 and let our competitiveness overwhelm our objectivity, we might have gotten a little too aggressive in free agency. Who needs to trade for Anthony Rizzo when you can sign a Prince Fielder? We certainly would be in a different place today.’’

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