Cubs' lost season provides 'stark baseline'

Theo Epstein was not happy with this season, but he does not blame Dale Sveum. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO – A few days before his State of the Team address, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein gave a sneak preview to the media Tuesday.

After emerging from a ceremony where two students were given scholarships, Epstein stopped to take a few questions, letting it be known that he would rather assess what happened after the season was completely finished.

On the 100-loss season, Epstein said that 65 would have been a much better number. Epstein said he has never been a part of a club that lost 100 games.

“I don’t think anyone, not many people around here, have been through this many losses in a season and it just serves as motivation, a very stark baseline where we are and how much improvement we have to make,” he said.

Despite the struggles, Epstein complimented Dale Sveum for the work he did as a first-year manager.

“I think Dale has done a fantastic job,” Epstein said. “The 100 losses aren’t his fault in the least bit and he has done a really good job of maintaining as much of a winning culture as much as he can during a season like this.”

Both Sveum and Epstein said player evaluations and face-to-face meetings have already started. The pitchers met face-to-face with the staff Tuesday, while position players will meet Wednesday and the coaches will meet after the final game.

“We’re not satisfied with the way the year has gone,” Epstein said. “There were positive developments in certain areas but no we were not happy with how the year has gone."

His assessment of off-the-field concerns was the same.

“(There were) some good things, some bad things,” he said. “I think we learned a lot and understand there are a lot of areas we still need to improve every day and we’ll work hard every day to improve the organization.”