(CBS) Now three years into his tenure as the Cubs' president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein has built a highly respected foundation of young talent that has the organization's arrow pointed up.
He's also learned a few lessons over the years, including one that's a talking point after Monday's hiring of Joe Maddon as the team's new manager.
"I probably underestimated how tough it is on managers in Chicago with the Cubs when I got here," Epstein said on the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday morning. "Everyone always said, 'You see these guys in their opening press conference, and they're full of optimism and hope and looking good. And then you see them on the way out the door, and you almost want to crate them off.' I've been through a decade in Boston, so maybe I didn't take that seriously enough. But it sure is tough here, with the combination of the market and the history, the tough physical environment we have at Wrigley and all the day games. There's just something about it, it's hard to define. There's something about it that makes it really tough on managers. So having Joe's infectious energy and optimism and indomitable spirit, that's going to pay dividends in a big way. It solves a long-term issue for us. I think he's going to be here a long time, and we'll have a lot of fun together."
Like many, Epstein was enthused by Maddon's introductory press conference Monday, saying, "That's probably as quick as someone's gotten to know a fan base and vice versa as I've ever seen."
Still, it's about results on the field, which Maddon has already set a high bar for. He said he wouldn't duck World Series talk, for that's the ultimate goal.
Epstein's fine with that.
"When you're going to compete, you have to set your sights high, and the division is (a goal)," Epstein said. "Joe dropped the World Series bomb on us yesterday, so we'll go along with that. If you're going to win the division, you might as well keep it rolling in October and get to the World Series. It is the time to start adding talent from outside the organization. We're not going to rush and try to do it all in one offseason. The last thing you want to do is make investments that aren't wise just because you're trying to make a statement or you're trying to speed things up. But there's plenty of talent out there this winter ... We have a lot of payroll flexibility."
Click here to listen to Epstein's full interview with Mike Mulligan and Dave Wannestedt. They also talked about how the Cubs will approach free agency.
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