Jed Hoyer made a post trade deadline appearance on the “Waddle and Silvy Show” yesterday.
Both Hoyer and Theo Epstein have always been upfront and candid with the media during their tenure. I did particularly enjoy this interview however. I thought the give and take was good between Hoyer and both hosts, Marc Silverman and Tom Waddle. You can listen to the entire interview here.
I had a chance to speak with Marc today, and he says he always welcomes talking to this front office.
“I asked Jed how he was doing and got a ten minute response including a Man on the Shoulder analogy,” said Silverman.
“You can’t be certain this is all going to work out, but when you talk to them (front office) you get some reassurance. There is still a long way to go in this marathon (rebuild) but it kind of feels like we are at the thirteen mile mark and you can see we may make it”.
Hoyer spoke at length about how they approached this deadline and in particular striking early with the Scott Feldman and Matt Garza deals. I thought for a minute maybe he was tipping too many around the league on a copycat opportunity. I was reminded today it was likely a unique situation for this regime.
This may be the last time during this program that they are clearly unapologetic sellers. They didn’t have to be conflicted about being sellers, and they were holding the biggest chip in Garza. Hopefully they won't be in that position again. It could, however, happen all over again next summer with Jeff Samardzija. Hoyer admitted Shark isn’t quite there as a #1, but they still want to lock him up long term.
“We haven’t agreed on numbers yet, otherwise we would be having a press conference,” Hoyer told the show. An impasse could ultimately force the Cubs hand.
Hoyer touched on Starlin Castro of course, and you could maybe read a little disappointment into his assessment of the shortstop for once. Hoyer still holds out hope they can get Castro to where they saw him at this point in his career.
"He's had a rough year. He's certainly been better over the last month or so but it's still not where I think we expect him to be," Hoyer said. "He's still struggling with parts of his game. The trajectory sort of hasn't been on the same ascent that it looked like it was going to be after his 21-year-old season. I think we've got to get him back to that point.
"Some of it is mechanical, I think some of it is probably confidence. As he struggled it kind of shakes his confidence a little bit. I think people have to understand; this guy has never really struggled before. When you come up to the big leagues and you're a top prospect and you get 200 hits your first full year in the big leagues ... I don't think he ever really struggled, even in the minor leagues so this is the first time he's dealt with adversity. I think he's probably learning a lot about himself."
The Cubs GM seems content about the other locked up building block in Anthony Rizzo.
"I think with Rizzo is working the strike zone very well," Hoyer said. "I think he's got (52) walks already this year. His power is there; you look at his doubles number (31). He's getting extra-base hits. I think he gets a little bit pull-happy at times, a lot of ground balls to second base. But I think with Rizzo, I think he will have a good two months and with him he's going to be a guy that can hit in the middle of the lineup. He's got power to all fields. I certainly hope he finishes strong but I think there's a lot of aspects of the season that have been positive for him too."
Hoyer was honest about the farm system as well. He tried to be very clear about the likelihood that not all of the top prospects are going to pan out and said that is why orgizational depth is paramount. It could be me reading into things of course, but Hoyer’s voice seemed to light up when he mentioned Albert Almora’s name, and it is clear they envision him as the center fielder of the future.
All in all, it should come as no real surprise this front office knows how to handle a big market media. They did it in Boston before and they seemed to be well schooled at getting their message out.
“They (front office) are refreshingly upfront, and that is important. We as Cubs fans are patient but there are some who don’t get trading away our best players.” “It’s important for them to reassure the fans of the plan they will only settle for World Series titles; we aren’t used to that around here," says Silverman.