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Epstein: Getting on base still big challenge

MILWAUKEE -- If it wasn't already obvious, Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein made it clear what his goals are for the organization on offense moving forward.

"We're clearly not even close to where we want to be, offensively,” Epstein said Tuesday afternoon before the Cubs dropped a 4-3 game to the Milwaukee Brewers. “Getting on base is going to be the hallmark of this organization. And we’re not good at it yet.”

The irony is the Cubs are pretty good at some other important offensive categories, but being first in the National League in extra base-hits and second in home runs means a whole lot less when you’re second to last in on-base percentage. There’s simply not enough men on base, often enough, when the big hits come.

“We are challenging ourselves every day to find a way to change that over the course of the long haul,” Epstein said. “How do we develop more patience here even though our really talented players tend to be more aggressive?”

That goes for the prospects who are on the rise. Epstein noted the most talented ones are the most aggressive ones. He doesn’t want to take that away from them, but the simple fact remains, year-in and year-out, the teams that get on base the most, score the most.

“We want to lead the league in getting on base and still hit for power while doing it,” Epstein said.

It’s the reason many -- if not all –- prospects have walk-ratio goals in order to move up the minor-league ladder. When they get to the major leagues the Cubs want to max out on their on-base potential.

“We’re not good at it yet,” Epstein said.