Notes from the Hoyer/McLeod Press Conference

The press conference was a bit more anticlimactic when compared to the Theo Epstein press conference.  This conference served more as a reinforcement of things we already knew and a postponement of things we don't yet know.  Here is some of what we know now.

  • Jed Hoyer is thrilled to get this opportunity, which should make us all feel good.  The Cubs are now a place where top execs want to go.
  • Scouting and Player Development is king.  The Cubs may have to mix and match early on to get by, but eventually the goal is to create a player development machine that can create sustainable success.  The Cubs are on the way there and we should only expect that to improve in the next few years.  There's no question that Jason McLeod will play a huge role in this front office.
  • Randy Bush is staying on as Asst. GM.  Bush is cut out of the Hendry old school scouting cloth.  The Cubs can still use his input as far as talent evaluation and some of the administrative day to day responsibilities.  He can also serve as an important link between the new administration and the old one that includes Tim Wilken and Oneri Fleita.
  • Roles are pretty much as we imagined.  Theo Epstein will have the final say and oversee the organization, but he will also be involved in much of the day to day activities with Hoyer.  McLeod will head scouting.
  • Defense will play a more important role now.  Thank goodness.  It's a cost effective way to improve the pitching and get better quickly.
  • No decision has been made yet on Mike Quade.  The longer this goes on, the more I think he's staying -- but not as manager.  It would seem wrong to keep him dangling if they were going to outright fire him and it seems equally odd that they would postpone an announcement that he's staying on as a lame duck manager.
  • Aramis Ramirez is likely gone.  The Cubs won't rule it out, but it's obvious they will only bring him back on their own terms.  That is a welcome departure from the Hendry era, when the Cubs often overpaid to keep their players.
  • No decision yet on compensation.
  • The Cubs will not try to win by depending heavily on players outside the organizations.  The people the Cubs will bring in will be complementary to what they are doing, so don't expect Pujols or Fielder to come here.  The key right now is to continue building the farm -- this is what nearly every Cub fan wants to hear.  It also means this process will take some time.
  • Epstein and Hoyer to eat contracts if need be.  Wonder what that means for Soriano and Zambrano?

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  • It is still somewhat surreal to see the caption "Theo Epstein, PBO, Chicago Cubs."

    John, what role would Quade have if he is not manager?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I'm just speculating here but I would guess IF he does stay, it may be as a minor league instructor. Despite his reluctance to play young players down the stretch, Quade is thought of as a good teacher and a good communicator. Maybe the manager position took him out of his comfort zone and perhaps he can do better as an instructor.

  • I really didn't think there was a chance they would eat Soriano's contract but after the last couple days im starting to wonder. The term "run prevention" and Soriano dont really go together so maybe there is a small chace they eat the money.

  • In reply to RyneK:

    I really hope they do. In fact, I'd rather keep Zambrano if I had to choose one. Soriano is just part of that old, "how many HRs/RBIs can I get" culture that has to go. The Cubs need players that can contribute all over the field.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John .. PUHLEEZ ... little or no chance for Z ... think about it !!! The clubhouse would not accept his return. Take TR at his word that he will never pitch again in a Cub uni. His pitching in Venezuela is to try to prove he still has some value.

    As to Sori ... when TE has said he has authority to "do what is needed" (TR-speak for eating contracts) ... people who are close to the decision makers give a nod to the veracity of that statement.

    "The Trio" all sounded loud and clear on D-Fence!!! That might well be the clearest sign of all about Sori. Hoyer was very clear in his CSN interview that "April & May mean not depending so much on the 2-3 run HR."

    Both in the news conference and on Chgo Trib Live ... I kept thinking of the B'Hawks ... guys getting along in the locker room and playing for each other rather than for their own contracts/numbers.

    How many times in this young season have we heard Hawks players talk about the "positive vibes in the room?"

    The dearth of noise calling for Q to be retained stands in stark contrast to the clamor for his being kept at the end of 2010 -- esp by those most vocal at the time.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I'm speaking hypothetically..IF they had to keep one or the other, I'd choose Zambrano over Soriano. There's just one year and the Cubs need pitching more than they need a replacement level OF'er who is still owed $54M.

    Clubhouse chemistry is always a chicken or the egg thing. Locker rooms are always much better and more fun when you're winning.

    I liked how Epstein said regarding Zambrano, "sounds like you've reached your conclusion, we need to go through a thorough process and reach our conclusion and determine what's best for the Cubs" . That's professionalism to me. They're not going to let the Chicago media make that decision for them.

  • OK - I am just catching up on the last 30 hours or so of posts and comments. But I have been thinking about how the new guys will start to shape the team and I wonder whether a new (or almost all new) brain trust is likely to revisit the idea of Marshall as a starter. Any thoughts?

  • In reply to bruno14:

    I've been seeing this come up a lot and to be honest, that's a very tough question. I don't know if they are going to revisit that idea at this point. Perhaps that's something they'll evaluate in their organizational meetings.

    What they'll have to figure out is what kind of starter do they think Marshall can be, if he's at least a 3rd starter type, then I think you have to really consider making that change. If they think he's a 4th or 5th starter, then you have to wonder if he just might be more valuable in his current role. His stuff is more like a 4th or 5th starter, but it doesn't necessarily mean he can't be more than that. The game is littered with pitchers who had much more success than their "stuff" would have led you to believe.


  • In reply to bruno14:

    Bruno ... I am a "majority of one" ... but I'm in favor of giving Marshall a shot as a starter. He showed an increase in velocity, perhaps a cutter learned from Woody, and a "Lilly-like" willingness to throw a fastball inside to RHH to keep them off his curve ball.

    What would be interesting to hear (as a fly on the wall) would be the view of 45 from the outside (SD & RedSox).

    That said ... ummm ... I am NOT part of the Bahston connection.

  • It is fascinating that the Quade drama has gone on this long. It makes wonder what is going on here. I don't think there is confusion as to what to do on the part of Theo and Jed. Rather, I think they are waiting for the right moment to implement what it is they have decided to do. They have deemed it important, I think, to portray an image that the organization is showing respect to its incumbent manager. Q is being treated with respect, and this will further reflect on the high character of this organization.

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    That could well, be the's a good point. They have a reputation for being thoughtful, thorough, and respectful. Firing Quade hastily would go against that. Agree, definitely a first class organization.

  • Well, that answers that question about Randy Bush. Your hand it to Tom Ricketts , if you work hard for him and are loyal, he's is loyal right back. I still think the front office is not complete yet, and some new names will join. As for Z John, regardless how could he is or can be, the Cubs need to cut their losses and move. I really believe it's in the best interests of everyone for Z to be gone. It's a step backward to bring him back, he just can't come back, if you have cut him, cut him but there needs to be a final break with Z and the Cubs.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Steve ... I think it does as well !!!! TR clearly values Bush (oh god ... did I just say that!!!) for his knowledge, loyalty, etc. It's a win-win for the organization to keep him ... at least till his contract is up. Any and everything ANYone under their employ has value ... until they don't.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I like that they're keeping links to the old staff. It'll help the transition. Bush was more behind the scenes with Hendry, and I'm sure it'll be the same way here. The more voices and the more perspective, the better.

  • also, Theo could not really have been more clear that Ramirez is gone. He said "the tea leaves" indicate that another team will sign him. The Zambrano disposition will be most fascinatin, given Ricketts statement that Z will not pitch again for the Cubs, and Theo's insistence on Z's value as an "asset."

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    John ... TE's "insistence" is an executive attempting to increase "value" in an "asset." Nothing (IMO) more.

    He's absolutely right about Rami ... someone else will take THAT bait.

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    It does seem like he at least spoke with his agent and heard their parameters and didn't think a deal could get done. Now that he's a FA, some team will probably give them something close to what they're askng for.

  • Nice breakdown of the press conference, John. I was listening to most of what I could over the two idiots on The Score. At this point, I'm almost positive Quade is as good as gone.

    "Jed and I met in person with Mike for 6-7 hours last week. ... It was a good meeting, a productive meeting, a thorough meeting. Mike is clearly a good baseball guy. We have a lot to process. We're going to speak again shortly and we hope to have a resolution on this matter, certainly within a week. We understand it's important for all involved to make a determination and move forward."

    If you're keeping Q, you don't say "we hope to have a resolution on this matter", unless you are trying to play you cards close to your chest and don't want anyone to see your hand, but now your hand has been exposed enough where we've caught a glimpse of your next potential move.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I met a friend for lunch and had to watch and listen on my phone. Good thing my friend didn't mind me taking notes...and good thing it wasn't as long as the Theo presser!

    That's a good point about Theo's update on Quade. It definitely doesn't sound like he's staying as manager. I got the impression they were trying to come to some kind of agreement -- but it could just be financial, so maybe you're right and they're not keeping him at all.

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    Mike Ferrin of MLBR is reporting that the Blue Jays have inquired with the Cubs as to the availability of Matt Garza.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael ... makes sense that they would ... Garza has 2 yrs arb left ... not a FA till 2014 ... he turns 28 11/26 ... that is exactly why John and I have talked about locking him up!!!!! Not clear that he's a #1 guy ... but I would offer 4 yrs @ $12 with a $3mm signing bonus ...

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    In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Ferrin also said that the Cubs had been scouting both Darvish and Wada.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    EEEEEKKKKK ....NOT a fan of Japanese pitchers ....

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Wow...very interesting. Both can conceivably fit into their plans. Darvish because of his youth and Wada because he's a comparative bargain -- and lefty.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Agreed lock him up, try to buy at least a year of free agency!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Anthropolous is always looking to steal good players. He's not going to do it from this front office.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed! I don't see Garza being traded unless some team comes up with an offer just to good to say'no' to. Also, think there are better fits for the Cubs than Toronto if they were really serious about moving Garza.

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    If Jon Daniels calls offering Moreland, Olt and Texas' top pitching prospect, I think you have to seriously think about it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez! I'm asking for the moon.

  • Soriano should be an interesting case. Personally I don't see a decision coming on him until all the other moves are made. The Cubs needed more pop before Aramis left. And now Aramis is gone too. Theo Jed Pi Epsilom gathers as much information as possible. And they're going to hear how Soriano works very hard and is a pretty good veteran. ( I know this goes against a lot of people's opinions of him. But the truth is he's very nice, Very professional, and a very very good teammate. I know when he was in New York everyone loved him. And I've yet to hear a TEAMMATE say anything about him. And since the Cubs are going to pay him regardless ( let's give up this fantasy about trading him.) best to hold on to him until you acquire SOME pop.

    Then again, they might release him next week. What do I know? But the UZR numbers suggest his defense isn't as bad as we fans make it out to be. And Someone has to hit for pop. So it wouldn't surprise me if he's not moved till later in the off season and I wouldn't fall over if he's back for one more season.

  • In reply to felzz:

    From what I have heard via podcasts and read on various sites, including this excellent one, I truly believe that there is NO WAY Soriano is simply released. I do not know the context of the "eat contracts" phrase John had in the opening, but my belief is based on the fact that TE & co are not going to simply throw away an assest. Soriano still has SOME value - it is certainly lower than that which is owed, but it is value nonetheless. Sori's value is likely greater to another team than his value to the Cubs. The key will be to maximize that value, and, more than likely, TE&co will move him and eat a good part of his contract to do so, while getting something of more "Cubs value" in return.

    Z is a different kettle of fish. The same argument can be applied for him - Z has some value as a player, but it is not commensurate with his contract. The twist is that it is possible to argue that Z has "negative value" to the Cubs, because of all the past incidents we all know about. If Z was not a pitcher but say an OF who could be replaced by LaHair, for example, I could easily see how Z would be shown the door. But Z is a pitcher, and the Cubs need pitching. I think we will see the creativity of TE&co in how they deal with the Z issue. It may well come down to what assets they are able to acquire in FA and via Soriano (and others).

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