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Theo Epstein: 'There's Only Like 3 Or 4 Sellers' Right Now

(CBS) It's no secret the Cubs are in search of another starting pitcher, with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein saying as much on multiple occasions. As the halfway point of the MLB season has arrived, there's a simple reason why the Cubs and others haven't been dealing much yet.

The second wild-card has many still believing they're in the race as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

"There's only like three or four sellers, and they're not eager to make deals right now," Epstein said Saturday on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score. "I think they feel like, given the supply and demand dynamic, they should do really well (as July 31 approaches). Until they get exactly what they're looking for, they're not going to make a move. There's a few teams that essentially know they're in or know they should be in, and so they're a little bit cautious. And then there's sort of the rest of baseball, teams that are in contention and looking to upgrade but don't want to be overly aggressive and are waiting to find a reasonable deal. I think this year those deals are probably going to happen really close to July 31."

At 44-36 and holding down the second wild-card spot, the Cubs certainly fall into the category of a team looking for a "reasonable deal." They're stockpiled with young talent but don't want to risk too much of the future in a deal this season.

To date, many foes have been asking about Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler in preliminary trade talks, 670 The Score's Dan Bernstein reported Monday. The Cubs aren't all that interested in parting with any of those youngsters who have already found some success at the big league level.

The hard part for Epstein and the Cubs front office -- or for any team -- is they may need to make a decision on a young player before they're had ample time to evaluate them.

He discussed as much, in general terms and not specifically about any player in trade talk, on Inside the Clubhouse.

"When you're heavily reliant on a lot of young position players, especially during an era where it's extremely hard to hit big league pitching consistently for anybody, you're going to go through long stretches of offensive struggle," Epstein said. "And just for young players to be able to find their level typically takes 1,500 to 2,000 at-bats. And so what we talked about in spring training is trying to do everything we could to speed that up a little bit. The Royals made the World Series last year; they're a strong contender again this year. The core of that team, those young players, they went through 2,000, 2,500 at-bats.

"That's the reality. No matter where you rank on prospect lists doesn't mean you're going to show up and hit. And since we're so highly reliant on young players -- even our veterans are just 25 years old, even (Anthony) Rizzo's youngster than (Houston's) George Springer -- we knew that was going to be reality for us this year. It went so well in places the first couple months that maybe that reality was lost on some people, but the last month has basically reminded everyone again of the nature of the club. That said, we're still in it. We're a strong contender. We do a lot of things well."

Listen to Epstein's full interview below. He also discusses the team's short bench, when to rest players and his general take on as the trade deadline approaches.

Theo Epstein on Inside the Clubhouse

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