Theo Epstein says Cubs face 'a ton of changes' without quick improvement

Are the Chicago Cubs on the verge of a major shake up?

That’s the question being asked after team president Theo Epstein made a newsworthy appearance on the Cubs flagship radio station, 670 The Score, on Wednesday afternoon.

Frustrated by the Cubs recent play, Epstein stated "a ton of change is in order" if the team’s disappointing stretch lingers into the second half.

The Cubs are still in a solid position. At 45-42, they only trail the Milwaukee Brewers by a one game in the NL Central standings. But they’ve lost three straight to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week and 15 of their last 23 games overall.

The struggles show the team is trending in the wrong way, which is far away from competing with the National League standard, the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s not something Epstein is taking lightly.

From 670 The Score:

"We're all really frustrated, obviously," Epstein said. "It's a stretch of play nobody is proud of, nor should anybody be. It's hard. But you find out a lot about what people are made of during stretches like these. It obviously can't continue. It's not acceptable. There have been too many words about it and not enough action.

There's nothing I can say, especially on a radio interview, to make it better. It's incumbent on all of us to find ways out of it. And obviously on our (front office) end, a big part of that is transactional. It's the time of year to do that. Change is obviously called for if we keep playing like this. But there's opportunities for everyone to do better -- every player, every coach, everyone associated with what we're doing right now. It's not satisfactory."

Cubs’ depth is waning

When Epstein took over as Cubs president in November of 2011, he set forth on a rebuilding plan that changed the franchise’s entire outlook in just three seasons. The Cubs went from non-factors, to one of MLB’s youngest and deepest teams entering the 2015 season.

Now though, Epstein admits that depth is depleted.

The Cubs core remains strong, but cracks they were able to fill in recent seasons haven’t been filled this season.

The team hasn’t been able to replace Ben Zobrist, who’s been away dealing with personal business. Injuries to Kyle Hendricks and now Cole Hamels have dented the rotation. And while the signing of veteran closer Craig Kimbrel last month will certainly solidify the ninth inning, getting to him will remain an issue without other additions.

There are more questions now than answers, which is not something we’re used to seeing with Epstein led teams.

Is Joe Maddon’s job safe?

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and manager Joe Maddon have issues to solve with the team struggling. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and manager Joe Maddon have issues to solve with the team struggling. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

We don’t think Maddon is on the hot seat, but Epstein didn’t exactly issue a vote of confidence.

With Maddon in the final year of his contract, there’s already been plenty of speculation that the sides will part at season’s end.

For now though, Maddon is riding out the storm with his usual focus on patience and positivity.

The next four weeks will be telling. That’s how much time remains until the MLB trade deadline.

While we don’t expect the Cubs to bottom out and become sellers, it will be interesting to see just how far Epstein and the Cubs front office are willing to go to keep up with Los Angeles and Milwaukee.

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