Theo Epstein addressed the media Wednesday during his end of the year press conference with a tone of disappointment and a desire of addressing the issues with the Cubs offense that "broke" according to Epstein.
Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer echoed Epstein's thoughts on Friday during an interview with WSCR 670 The Score, acknowledging the offensive struggles this group went through but also mentioning he felt the mindset was off for the Cubs in 2018.
"This is a players game, (but) we have to do everything we can to prod and push that message (of urgency). (The players) were every bit as hurt and disappointed as all of us." -Jed Hoyer— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) October 5, 2018
Hoyer talked about the Cubs 2016 club being relentless and constantly going into games engaged and ready to grind, while he made it clear he felt the 2018 Cubs were ready to compete all season, road games with nobody in the seats can be hard to get amped up for.
But he felt the club was ok with finishing 4-3 on a road trip earlier in the season because they knew they had been a 2nd half team over the last three seasons. But Hoyer doesn't want future Cubs teams to have that thought process during the season.
"Over the course of the year, this is a marathon. We know winning 2 out of 3 is impressive, but I do think that there is a focus and a mindset of bringing it every single day and not falling back on '2 out of 3 is good enough." -Jed Hoyer— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) October 5, 2018
Hoyer was also specifically asked about the Cubs offense and what was being done to fix it, and the Cubs GM said the focus was on internally improving. It's obvious the Cubs were dealing with plenty of slumping bats and injuries in the 2nd half of the season. But across the board, the Cubs lacked the power that had come to be expected from this group and nobody is really sure how or why it happened.
"Where did the power go? Why was the ball on the ground so much? That's what we're trying to figure out. We have power. We don't want to be a one-trick pony offense, but it's amazing what a 2 or 3 run homer does to the course of a game." -Jed Hoyer— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) October 5, 2018
The Cubs never thought they would be in the spot they were in this season, with an offense that just stopped seeing pitches and working at-bats and a pitching staff that didn't find themselves until Cole Hamels joined the North Side in August. Hoyer even admitted that adding a bat like Daniel Murphy never crossed the front office's mind prior to the season, but Hoyer summed up the Cubs issues in one thought.
"I think there are baseball players who don't always think situationally who are still good ball players," Hoyer said. "Trying to get your A-swing off instead of being willing to change your swing to not strike out or hit a ball on the ground or go the other way with a pitch."
Cubs go into the off-season with plenty of internal questions to answer before they can change their focus to the external factors that can improve the club. As Epstein said Wednesday, the Cubs offense broke during the second half of the season, and the front office will spend this off-season finding out why and doing their best to ensure it doesn't happen again in 2019.