The Cubs may be sending out mixed signals this winter, trying to sell the rebuilding plan while insisting they can compete for a playoff spot in 2013.

While few believe the Cubs can make the leap from 101 losses to the postseason, the players said all the right things Friday on opening day of the Cubs Convention.

The pressure of trying to pull off a miracle and end the 104-year championship drought, pitcher Jeff Samardzija said, was a challenge he embraces.

"If you don't want that (pressure) that comes along with (playing in Chicago), then go do something else," he said.

Optimism is always on display at the annual fan fest, which moved this year to the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.

The fans who attend every year are usually the type that goes into each season believing this is the year they have been waiting for all their lives. But they also realize it's Year Two of the new regime, and the long-term building of a foundation from within is still in its infancy.

"We have very intelligent fans in Chicago," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "They know this is part of a process."