MILWAUKEE -- Looking ahead to 2014, the Cubs have holes to fill in the lineup, but Theo Epstein said they would not be doing so by spending on high-priced free agents.
"Right now, we're clearly nowhere close to where we want to be offensively," said Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, who met with manager Dale Sveum on Tuesday to discuss the roster and coaching staff. "Getting on base will be a hallmark of this organization, and we're not good at it yet. And frankly, a lot of the more talented young hitters who we have coming tend to be more aggressive and not naturally on the patient side."
Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer will have to be creative. Finding those perfect hitters while staying within a budget will not be easy.
"I don't think we're going to get to where we need to be through free agency for the short term, honestly," Epstein said. "Given the needs that we have and where we are and the likely price tags on the market, I don't think we'll have the ability to add multiple impact pieces in free agency.
"We're going to have to take a multi-dimensional approach to changing things," he said. "We won't solve our problems through free agency. It's a very viable and sometimes attractive way to add talent, and to be a great organization you have to do it from time to time. Given our situation on a lot of fronts, it's not the cure for our ills."
The Cubs have gotten the go-ahead from the city of Chicago to install a video scoreboard at Wrigley Field next season but have yet to determine whether they will do so in 2014 because of possible litigation from rooftop owners. What does that have to do with the team? The Cubs need the revenue from scoreboard advertising.
"We know we're not going to be able to pick and choose what we want in free agency," Epstein said. "We're going to be aggressive where we can be, and when we can be."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.