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Jed Hoyer upfront and candid about Cubs plans

Jed Hoyer upfront and candid about Cubs plans

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.

Well said.

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  • I think we're on the right path, one step at a time.

  • What's a World Series Title, and why are only settling for them?

    :)

  • It takes a lot of courage to tell a long suffering fanbase to be patient, and essentially they are going to be a pretty bad baseball team before things get better. And I can appreciate that, the transparency and upfrontness of this FO. I'm sure they've held back some stuff, in order to maintain a competitive edge, but overall since the beginning communicated their vision and that's been very refreshing. Look at the White Sox, does anyone really have a clue what their future goals are? What their future holds? It sure would be frustrating to be a player or fan of that franchise at the current time due to not having a clear path or goal in mind. Not trying to rag on the WSox, just think that it's a little easier for us to stomach this bad baseball having an idea what the future holds for this franchise as a fanbase.

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    I do like that they're admitting Castro is slightly disappointing -- not to the extent of grief that he gets, but clearly the numbers just aren't there -- and that they're all over Albert Almora.

    I get that Correa is a more popular prospect than Almora right now, but I don't think he should be. The walks from Correa are nice, but Almora is striking out at only a 10.9% rate (16.5% for Correa) and is a plus plus defender at a critical position. Correa has a good glove -- and if he moves to third it could be excellent -- but he isn't in Almora's class. I'm so excited for him -- as a first pick for this regime, they really couldn't have done better. I think he'll be a fixture in Wrigley by the end of next season and won't give it up for a long time.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    End of next season, really? That'd be mighty aggressive. I'll be happy if Almora finishes next season in Tennessee.

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    In reply to João Lucas:

    Barring an injury, I think he'll be in Tennessee by end of May, and then if he does well -- and I think he will -- he could push the issue if the Cubs are competitive.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I hope you're right!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There is no way Almora is in Tennessee by the end of May. If he is in Tennessee it will be after the MILB all star break. If he is in Tenn. in May it is because they are having him skip Daytona all together and that just doesn't seem likely at all.

  • In reply to ced landrum:

    Well minus the time he will spend in Daytona this season or should spend there anyway.

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    In reply to ced landrum:

    I believe the only reason he isn't there now is because the potential rainouts could take the month of August away from him. (They learned the lesson with Baez.) He'll start next year in Daytona -- first week of April -- and if he's hitting anywhere near where he's hitting in Kane County, two months would seem to be more than enough time to challenge him with Tennessee.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Can I remind you of this next year when Almora is just moving up to TEN in July/Aug and still a year away from even a cup of coffee with the MLB team?

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Baez was promoted July 5. I think that, as polished as he is, Almora will be on a faster schedule.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree with you, Mike. He's an ideal candidate to fast track to the show. Barring injuries of course I'm betting Almora will be playing CF in wrigley by his 21st birthday. Defensively he'd be an upgrade right now, his much publicized make up is top notch, and as soon as there's a need next year I'm betting he'll probably get the call. He's only 19 months younger than Manny Machado. Probably just as polished. He got the call during a pennant drive last year. That worked out. I think of the "Big 6", the only one that beats him to the show will be Olt.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    This isn't a knock aginst Almora at all, cause he might be my favorite Cubs prospect, But Correa plays SS. Infield is always more difficult than outfield and SS most of all, so Correa is going to have that advantage on Almora as long as he's playing well.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm agreeing with what your saying about the walks, Mike. Walks are over-rated. A walk doesn't score a man from second or inspire a team like a hit does. I like Almora's bat much more than Correa's. And I like Baez's better also.

  • Rivero ---> Daytona
    Diaz ----> Tennessee

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Dayan Diaz is kinda interesting. He lost nearly 2 years to an arm injury, so was available as a minor-league FA after 6 years in the Astros system. He's 24, but young to pitching, and was good last year at single-A, aside from control issues. This year, he seems to be throwing strikes. Not sure why he got a late start to the season, if it was another injury or Cubs just wanting to work on mechanics in EXST

    Both these guys are "age" promotes; time to move up

  • Not to bring up the Keith Law/Junior Lake thing again, but Law had this to say in his chat today.

    What are the chances that Junior Lake can become an adequate major league starter? Could he be a uber-utility player given his skill set?

    Law: I'll bet the under on both.

  • In reply to Ryno23:

    What a piece of Crap Keith law is.

    How about that "con" job by Junior Lake? You see that's not really Junior out there, it's an android that looks like Jr.

    If anyone is a"con" or fraud it is Keith Law whose whole career has been a series of lucky breaks. He has no baseball experience. No skill. Can't throw. Can't hit. No athletic ability.

    Got a job with BP, wow, that makes him an expert. His main responsibility in Toronto was kissing Ricciardi's ass and brown nosing which he has down to a science when it comes to career opportunity.

    I trust a blind monkey more than Law for scouting ability

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    What does athletic ability have to do with any of it?

    Most analysts and statisticians have no athletic ability, that's why they spend their time on statistics.

    Being good at baseball has absolutely zero to do with scouting.

    Not everyone is Billy Beane.
    He's the exception to the rule.

    Law has some vaild points. Every time someone says Lake can be a super-sub, he points out that subs have to be proficient at a number of infield positions, and Lake has never appeared to be adequete at even one.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Law also thought he'd have to switch to the mound to make the majors and has been predicting his failure at every minor league level for the past 3 years. So valid points or not, he's missed pretty badly already. No need to take his word as gospel.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Law is usually pretty good about admitting when he's wrong, and I've seen him state a number of times that he's been wrong on a lot of guys.

    I hope Lake succeeds, but's let's not jump to any conclusions yet.
    When Brian LaHair has about as many at-bats as Lake has now, his OPS was almost 1.3.

    If Lake is playing well after a few hundred PA's, we can start yelling "told ya so."

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Other than being lightly heralded prospects who both got off to hot starts, it's really difficult to compare LaHair to Lake with a straight face. LaHair was an okay minor league hitter started to play league average as an older player. Lake is an age appropriate guy with all the tools in the world.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. LaHair was not considered a prospect by anyone when he came up. Just an organizational guy who could probably hold the fort until Rizzo was ready, which he did.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And I don't mean to say Lake is going to succeed or that his small sample proves anything other than he's an MLB player and he's not overmatched at this level from a physical standpoint. The league may catch up to him and then we'll find out more about Lake at that time -- but I think any statement saying he isn't talented enough to play in the big leagues deserves to fall under some scrutiny.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    He likes to make those "I've been wrong lots of times" statements in general, but rarely does he admit it on specific players. Even on Puig, on whom he's been wrong, he won't quite admit it. Just says Puig is in better shape now and things have changed since he's evaluated him. Kind of half-hearted -- but it also gets to why he is wrong sometimes. He makes an initial evaluation, makes a decision, and then doesn't see the player for awhile but doesn't take into consideration that the player may have improved.

    And he's been extremely vocal about Lake failing in particular. Seems like he's got a lot invested in his failure to me. Like Puig, he already been wrong but hasn't admitted it. He just keeps moving the timetable back on Lake for now until he's right.

    So yeah I'm calling him on it because he's already been wrong. He can move his timetable back to buy himself more time, but it doesn't change what he has already said. Predicted his future was on the mound, predicted his failure early in the minors, didn't think he was a major league prospect, etc. He's been wrong every step of the way. It's now just a matter of degree -- of how wrong he is. That he's been wrong is already established.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well said John!

  • Jed Hoyer also leads off today's Baseball Tonight podcast. He takes a number of pointed questions from Buster Olney on the trade deadline and the Cubs' viewpoint on all the trades they made in July.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=9532023

  • Jedstein et al should have spent the money, signed Molina, and not been so cheap about it! And there's more IFAs that need to signed, like right now! Do it for the fans and do it for the city of Chicago!

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    In reply to shalin:

    Yeah! Because it's not like they blew through their pool money and took all the penalties to sign the top international player available this year AND the next best ranked player and then sign a few more to top it off. No way!

    Cheap Bastards!

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Was thinking the same thing. ROFL

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Oh yeah! Let's do it right. If you're gonna take a penalty for overspending on IFA's, you might as well go all the way. I mean it's not like your spending for Darvish or Puig.
    Cheap SOB's!

  • In reply to shalin:

    What team was less cheap in intl free agency? Crickets....none.

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    Add it up honest Abe or get someone who can, then shop and compare with all FA spending, not just IFA spending, by the other teams, then call it

  • I like the transparency this front office provides after a decision is made. They lay out their reasoning for the decisions they make. I'm fine with clubs being secretive as deals and decisions are made, no sense in giving up leverage in any situation, but in this day and age teams need to justify their decisions to increasingly knowledgable and demanding fanbases.

    Our front office seems to understand media and fandom in the digital age. The veil has been lifted in sports. Some decisions will backfire, but as long as the decisions can be backed up with sound reasoning, I think fanbases can and will be more willing and able to accept long term processes like a complete rebuild than they were even 5 or 10 years ago.

  • This year, they drafted and signed 16 year old internationals.

    They aren't going to get to go after 16 year old internationals next year, because they went way over allotment this year. No, next year they are going to post on a Japanese pitcher:

    http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2013/5/24/4356504/masahiro-tanaka-post-2014-yankees-interested

  • In reply to Rob Letterly:

    They will still sign some 16 year old internationals they just will be for 250k or under.

  • Not necessarily trying to compare the two but what were the scouting reports on Sammy Sosa in his years leading up to the majors and Junior Lake's reports. I see a similar build, speed, and athleticism in the two at the same stage of their careers, but I wonder what the scout had to say back then and what their projections were. Might make an interesting future column.

  • In reply to vincenlou:

    Someone posted an old Sosa scouting report the other day. They were eerily similar to what people say about Lake.

  • In reply to vincenlou:

    I can see the similarities between Sammy and Junior, including the athleticism and baseball skills along with just decent HR numbers in the minors. The question becomes at what point in his career did Sammy start using steroids and violate the rules concerning the composition of his bats. Let's be very patient with Junior and give him a very long look in the majors since he's served his apprenticeship in the minors with decent numbers. Plus, I've always felt that many Latin American players continue to constantly improve into their late twenties and early thirties.

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