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Cubs boss Theo Epstein once again disputes rampant trade rumors

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein on Friday disputed the accuracy of myriad trade rumors circling around the ball club, making it the second time this week he has done so.

Most of the rampant speculation involving the Cubs revolves around the purported pursuit of Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, arguably the hottest potential commodity on the market heading into the July 31 trade deadline. And as was the case earlier this week, Epstein wisely was not inclined to specifically discuss the rumors.

“I would never talk about (any specific player) in a million years,” Epstein said, via Chicago Tribune. “A simple way to put it is there has been a lot of trade rumors involving the Cubs, and there is essentially zero trade talks right now involving the Cubs. So there’s a real disparity between the noise and the reality, and sometimes that puts a player or two that we have in a real tough circumstance.

“So it’s my job to clarify there is nothing going on right now. We have more than enough ability to win the division, to win the World Series, and that we really have to focus on our roster and getting the most out of our ability and finding some consistency.

“A constant focus outside the organization doesn’t do us any good, especially when it’s not based in reality right now.”

The Cubs have not quite stormed out of the gate this season, struggling to a 25-21 record that leaves them 3.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers and in fourth place in the NL Central. Epstein preached patience, suggesting that the first part of the season ought to be spent “finding out who you are.”

While Epstein’s comments Friday lacked the colorful way he artfully turned a few phrases earlier this week when addressing trade rumors, his chat with reporters made one thing abundantly clear: If there is something happening on the trade front, the media will be the last to know.