Theo Epstein admits frustration in Cubs clubhouse over lineup shuffling
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was quite candid during Wednesday’s end-of-the-season press conference, admitting that he senses some frustration in the clubhouse over Joe Maddon’s constant lineup shuffling.
“Maybe a little bit, honestly,” Epstein said, via NBC Sports Chicago. “But I also think they understand. They look around and they see the talent here. And that’s how players talk about it. ‘We have so many talented players who deserve to play, and that’s what makes us great, that’s what makes us really good. But here’s how sometimes it makes me feel, and here’s how if we could communicate about it it could make things a little bit easier.’ I just think it’s important to hear that and to listen and to communicate as much as possible about it and to be transparent.
“… I would say the players very much understand but that they’re human and of course at times they get frustrated, more often when they’re not playing or not hitting than when they’re in there a lot and hitting.”
Maddon is well-known for being a tinkerer when it comes to filling out the lineup card and it has mostly served him well. Perhaps not so much this season, at least from the players’ perspective.
Further, there were rumors this week that Maddon, who will return next season but in the final year of his deal, may have been on the way out after a frustrating season that ended in a wild-card loss to the Colorado Rockies. The notion that there may be unrest in the clubhouse certainly adds another layer of pressure.
The seemingly uneasy situation is further compounded by rumblings that Epstein and Maddon are not seeing eye-to-eye on some issues. Perhaps the lack of a consistent lineup is among the things causing strain on their relationship.
That said, the Cubs without question boast the talent to be back right in the mix in 2019. Add in Epstein’s steady hand and Maddon’s managerial acumen — so long as the two can overcome any perceived issues — and the Cubs’ situation looks favorable heading into next season.