Saturday’s sessions at Cubs Convention provided tense snippets of the past and an array of promising looks at the future.
At separate fan briefings, team executives shared their roller coaster of emotions during the pivotal Game 7 of the World Series.
Chairman Tom Ricketts admitted he experienced a nightmare four nights after the World Series that the Cubs lost Game 7.
President Theo Epstein added, “I think I died about three times during Game 7.”
Assistant GM Randy Bush said Game 7 was “more stressful” than Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, in which Bush had a pinch-hit single in the Twins’ 1-0 victory over the Braves in 10 innings.
Co-owner Laura Ricketts quipped, “My stomach is still settling.”
As for the future, manager Joe Maddon wasn’t bashful about connecting the team’s prospects to the stellar defense it displayed in 2016.
In fact, Maddon came up with another phrase that’s likely to accompany his “authenticity” theme he revealed Wednesday.
“If we catch the ball and pitch the ball like we did last spring and this year, we shall ‘D-Peat,’ ” Maddon quipped.
For now, the organization’s dearth of young starting pitching hasn’t swayed them from converting valuable reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to a starting role.
“I think C.J. is perfect where we have him,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said. “This kid had a phenomenal year. There’s a progression there for our young pitchers we liked to do. If you look at our roster, our bullpen guys are former starters we’ve acquired they have flexibility and can throw multiple pitches.
“C.J. is pretty good where he’s at in that (final) seven, eight, nine outs of game.”
Epstein reiterated the gymnastics associated with trying to reach an extension with pitcher Jake Arrieta, who is destined for free agency after 2017 after agreeing to a one-year, $15.6375 million contract.
“We love Jake,” Epstein said. “We’d love for him to be around a long time. It’s not the first time a talented core player has gone into the last year of his deal. It won’t be the last time. It doesn’t always mean the player is leaving.
“I’m sure at the appropriate time we’ll have confidential conversations and see if now is the time to get something done or put off till later. He knows how we feel about him. Years and dollars are always complicated, but we’ll take a stab at it.”