Theo Epstein offers company line
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter January 17, 2014 8:50PM
Updated: February 19, 2014 9:51AM
Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t exactly enthused about the relatively quiet winter the team has endured after pouring many of its offseason resources into a bid for Japanese free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka that probably will fall short.
But as the Cubs Convention opened Friday, he shrugged off the suggestion that the roll-out of a new mascot and more renovation delays at Wrigley Field have overshadowed a low-key offseason on the heels of a 96-loss season.
‘‘All those things fade away when we get to where we want to be as a baseball organization,’’ said Epstein, who’s in the third year of a five-year deal. ‘‘What I want the conversation to be — and will be in the future — is, ‘I’m not sure the Cubs’ eighth starter is deep enough. What if three guys go down in the rotation?’ . . .
‘‘I’m not going to sit here and complain about it in the meantime. We’re not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. We’re a last-place team.’’
The Cubs agreed to terms with four of their eight arbitration-eligible players on the day arbitration figures were exchanged.
The four in the fold: outfielder Nate Schierholtz ($5 million), reliever James Russell ($1.775 million), infielder Luis Valbuena ($1.71 million) and reliever Pedro Strop ($1.325 million).
The four who filed figures: right-hander Jeff Samardzija (who filed at $6.2 million to the Cubs’ $4.4 million), left-hander Travis Wood ($4.25 million vs. $3.5 million), second baseman Darwin Barney ($2.8 million vs. $1.8 million) and outfielder Justin Ruggiano ($2.45 million vs. $1.6 million).