(CBS) In an interview with the McNeil and Spiegel Show at spring training in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday morning, Cubs president Theo Epstein emphasized he won’t rush any of the organization’s prized prospects to the big leagues just because fans crave hope.
And he made his point with a metaphor of a meal.
“I’m shaking my head at the notion that we should make baseball decisions based on the notion that we should give our fans cookies,” Epstein said. “We’re cooking the whole meal. We want to give them an annual feast. The only way to make fans happy is to give them pennant races and October baseball.
“Nothing is going to get in the way of that — not giving them a headline in November or December so we can get people off our backs for a few weeks, not promoting a kid before he’s ready so we can show off our shiny new toy.
‘We’re building something that’s going to be really special. We have to be patient to get there, and we’re asking a lot of our fans. But the reason we feel OK asking our fans to be patient is because we know what we’re building toward is going to be great.”
As an example, Epstein said phenom Javier Baez won’t start the season in the big leagues, even if incumbent shortstop Starlin Castro was to still have nagging injuries.
“With respect of timing to all these guys (getting to big leagues), I really prefer to focus on the substance of it rather than the timing of it,” Epstein said.
“Javier Baez is an extremely talented player … He has development to accomplish … He spent a couple months at Double-A, and he dominated Double-A, and that’s why he earned the right to go to Triple-A. Let’s see him dominate Triple-A as I think he can and will. Once he dominates Triple-A, he’ll start to be in the conversation for the big leagues.”
You can listen to the entire interview with Epstein below. He also talks about ace Jeff Samardzija, the pursuit of Masihiro Tanaka last offseason and Castro’s maturity.