Sources: Cubs think 2014 will be bad, too
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter
MILWAUKEE — Buckle up, Cubs fans. A team that lost 101 games last year is headed for well over 90 losses this year, and every indication is that next year might look even worse on the field.
Multiple sources say that many in the front office are bracing for what would be a fifth consecutive losing season, the most for the Cubs since 1978-83.
Not even team president Theo Epstein was able to paint a rosy picture about what the big-league team will look like in his third season running the organization.
Despite recent approval for a revenue-generating makeover for Wrigley Field, none of that additional revenue will show up in the 2014 baseball budget.
‘‘Unfortunately, because of the delays [over the last year], that’s not something that we’re planning on this winter,’’ said Epstein, whose budget also must wait at least a year, maybe two, to see any of the increased revenue from the still-to-be-negotiated WGN half of a new local TV-rights deal.
Much of the salary shed from the 2014 books in trades and expired contracts is expected to go into scheduled contract increases, arbitration-player increases and a few leftover obligations.
Not to mention a few bucks must be set aside to offer pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who was in line for his ninth win Tuesday night until giving up a tying homer to Carlos Gomez in the seventh inning of what became a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Jeff Bianchi scored on Logan Schafer’s surprise bunt off Justin Grimm (0-2) for the winning run in the ninth.
Samardzija’s seven innings and eight strikeouts gave him his first 200-inning season (201 2/3) and 203 Ks. Long-term contract talks are expected to start this fall.
Meanwhile, don’t expect much in the way of resources to address any other areas of need this winter.
‘‘Given the needs that we have and where we are and the likely price tags on the market, I don’t think we’re going to have the ability to add multiple impact pieces through free agency,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘So we’re going to have to take a multi-dimensional approach to changing things.’’
Read: No Shin-Soo Choo or Jacob Ellsbury.