As Cubs President Theo Epstein sat at his desk yesterday, head in his hands, a flash of genius struck.

“You know, we’re probably just a couple of decent starters away from contending … ” he said, aloud, then quickly called up the 40-man roster on his computer. “You know … yeah, I think it’s really possible. I mean, Starlin, Rizzo, that’s half of a competitive infield right there. And Barney hustles.”

His voice growing in enthusiasm, his pep talk to himself continued.

“Then we have Samardzija and Wood in the rotation … DeJesus and Sori in the outfield. They had solid years,” he said, his eyes brightening with hopelessly misplaced optimism. “Castillo behind the plate. Oh, wow, I haven’t even mentioned the killer V’s: Vitters, Valbuena, Volstad.”

Approaching a state of total oblivion, Epstein then turned his eye on possible pieces that might just complete the puzzle on the North Side.

“We go out and get a Shaun Marcum, maybe an Edwin Jackson, we’re right in the race in the Central,” he said as he swept his desk clean of tear-stained tissues and a dog-eared copy of “Now I Can Die in Peace” by Bill Simmons, in order to begin jotting down a potential 2013 Cubs lineup. “We’ve got Campana leading off, that guy can make all kinds of things happen … ”

The display of desperation-induced willful ignorance grew to absurd heights as Epstein filled out the back end of the rotation, the bullpen and the bench.

“Maybe we take a flyer on Carlos Zambrano, his numbers weren’t that bad this year in Miami, he might just need a change of scenery,” he said. “Mather’s so versatile, we can’t let another team steal him away. I’ll give Wakefield a call, he’s got another three or four years in him.”

Epstein then sat back in his chair, looking over what he’d accomplished, a smile spreading over his face as he nodded.

“This could work, this could really work. Jed! Jed, get in here, I’ve got something to show you!” he exclaimed, as GM Jed Hoyer entered the office.

Jay R.