An anonymous source confirmed that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer determined in mid-September that the Cubs could not win the World Series, so they instituted a systematic process to lose 10 of their last 12 games.
“If we could have lost all 12, that would have been better,” said the source. “Nobody’s perfect at losing, not even the Cubs.”
The primary cause for the “tank job” was all the injuries that piled up in September to key players Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel.
“You saw how Kimbrel gave up gopher ball after gopher ball,” stated the source. “That wasn’t just the injury. He was in on the tanking.”
As Epstein implied early in the rebuild, if you can win the World Series, then you must accumulate assets to win.
In addition to “tanking,” the Cubs attempted to trade Joe Maddon’s rights, but quickly learned that the manager’s impending free agency made trading his rights as worthless as signing Daniel Descalso to a three-year contract last December.