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Epstein, Cubs start to look ahead after ‘magical’ year

Epstein, Cubs start to look ahead after ‘magical’ year

CHICAGO (AP) — A day later, Theo Epstein was ready to start again.

Next season can't come soon enough for the Cubs executive after Chicago wrapped up a year he described Thursday as 'magical.'

Yes, it was quite a ride.

The Cubs put five consecutive losing seasons behind them and emerged as one of the best teams in baseball, led by young players and veterans and a manager in Joe Maddon who pulled all the right strings in getting the franchise back in the postseason.

It ended Wednesday with the New York Mets completing a four-game sweep in the NL Championship Series, but the Cubs already believe they have what it takes to contend again next season.

'We know what we have here,' All-Star rookie Kris Bryant said.

What they have is a team that often started four rookies, won 97 games and then knocked out the two teams that finished with better records — NL Central rivals St. Louis and Pittsburgh — in the playoffs. They came up short against New York's young arms, and it left a desire for more.

'We can't get to opening day fast enough,' said Epstein, the club's president of baseball operations and the executive credited the most with overhauling the Cubs.

Epstein, like Maddon, would like to add pitching before the opener. That's not the only item on his to-do list.

NL Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta is eligible for arbitration and figures to get a big raise after leading the majors with 22 wins.


With his five-year contract expiring after next season, Epstein figures to discuss an extension this offseason with chairman Tom Ricketts. Exactly when?

“That is not anywhere near the top of the list of priorities this winter,” Epstein said. “I’m sure this winter at some point we’ll sit down and talk.


There will be plenty of speculation about David Price coming to the Cubs. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner would fit nicely next season at the top of the rotation alongside Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.

Don’t dismiss his history with Maddon from their time together in Tampa Bay or the fact that the Cubs look like they are poised to contend for at least the next few years.

Then again, the price will be high and the Cubs did give Lester a $155 million deal last offseason.

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