There’s more than enough blame to go around for the Chicago Cubs disappointing second-half collapse – and that includes Theo Epstein.
Much has been made this offseason about failed coaches, Joe Maddon‘s status as a lame duck manager and, ultimately, the Chicago Cubs failure to get back to the World Series. While much of the blame has fallen on players and coaches, very little blowback seems to have hit the front office. Is it fair to say the blame should extend to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer? You bet.
Chicago has experienced a renaissance of sorts (I say, “of sorts,” only because no one living has ever experienced this level of sustained success before) under Epstein and Hoyer over the past six years.
Cubs fans have come to expect excellence after three straight trips to the NLCS, four straight trips to the postseason and a World Series championship in 2016. Many fans, while they may be struggling with this newfound attitude and psychology of expecting the Cubs to win, are reluctant to place any blame regarding the struggles of 2017 and 2018 at the feet of the front office brain trust.
While it’s fair to give certain people in the organization a pass for the performance of 2017 and 2018, Epstein doesn’t seem to be willing to do so. In a poignant end-of-season press conference, he sent a clear message that the Cubs were now looking for production rather than potential out of their young core.
Add to that the expeditious Chili Davis firing and subsequent outré resignation of Jim Hickey, along with the non-starter of Maddon’s contract extension, and you have all the makings of a team in turmoil, rather than a team gearing up for another run at the World Series in 2019.
Granted, the Cubs’ bats struggled mightily down the stretch once again. But the question remains: Who is to blame for an ultimately unsuccessful 2018 season?