Theo Epstein's front office is still determining how to proceed during the 2015 MLB trade deadline.
Heading into the July 4 weekend, the Cubs stood at 42-35 with a 1.5-game lead on the National League's second wild card spot.
That puts the chances of the Cubs making the playoffs at 68.7 percent, according to FanGraphs.
The Cubs are a young team with three rookies in the everyday lineup once Jorge Soler returns and questions at the back end of the rotation. It's not a guarantee Epstein and Co. are going to go all-in to try to get a major piece down the stretch.
"You have to assess realistically what your chances are and be honest," Epstein said.
The Cubs returned to Wrigley Field on Friday for a 10-game homestand heading into the All-Star break on the heels of an impressive three-game sweep of the Mets in New York in which the pitching staff gave up just one run in 29 innings.
But Epstein cautioned that even though things looked rosy Friday morning, it's best to avoid "snapshots" of how a team is doing during a small sample of games.
The Cubs are 2-7 against the St. Louis Cardinals, who entered play Friday leading the majors with 51 victories despite a three-game losing streak.
There may be a sense around the Cubs as a team on the rise once the young players figure things out more and some key guys return from injury, but they still won't hit the halfway mark on the season until next week.
"You don't win any blue ribbons or gold stars for half a decent season," Epstein said. "We're just trying to get better, trying to see what we need to do to make sure that we're still relevant three, four months from now. That's what matters.
"It doesn't matter too much where we're at right now. It's part of the process, part of the grind and our guys are doing a great job of working hard and staying focused."
With the addition of the second wild card in each league and the fact that one of those wild card teams will be going home after just one postseason game, Epstein explained that the current system does change the way teams think heading into the trade deadline.
"It maybe increases the number of buyers, but it also adds — for teams that are more in wild card contention than division contention — an element of caution, too," Epstein said. "There is a natural inclination not to go too hog-wild on the short-term rental because you may be only looking at one [playoff] game.
"So you don't let that dominate your thoughts, but it's in the back of your mind, I think, for most clubs that are clear wild-card contenders and not division contenders. I'm not saying we're in that boat, just speaking generally."
Epstein also mentioned how the second wild card keeps more teams in contention longer, increasing demand while decreasing the number of teams looking to sell with months still left in the season.
This is the first time in Chicago Epstein's front office will be looking to buy at the deadline instead of sell, but the Cubs president of baseball operations built two World Series winners with the Red Sox in Boston and understands the trade market in July isn't always what it seems.
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"You have to be creative, you have to be patient, you have to be understanding and you have to recognize that the trade deadline is not a panacea," Epstein said. "It just gets a ton of attention for natural reasons, but if you go back and look, rarely is it a defining factor.
"Maybe the trades in Boston in 2004 really helped. But more times than not, when we've made deals, it's just kind of hit-and-miss. The guys you get, sometimes they don't perform and then other players you've had all year step up and you play well.
"If you look at the history, teams that go to the World Series, it's very rarely a deadline deal. It's just an opportunity to address things, maybe for this year, areas of need or maybe do something to set yourself up for next year if you've got something that might be hard to address in the offseason.
"Yeah, we know what we'd like to do, but we're realistic about what we might be able to do."