Cubs looking to build offensive juggernaut

The Cubs front office has told us about their plan to have waves of pitching coming through their system.

However, if you listen to the Cubs GM lately he sounds a little bit more focused on the other end. Jed Hoyer made the usual rounds (media tour) this week and some of his comments are worth discussing, as usual. Hoyer visited “The David Kaplan Show” on WGN Radio Friday night to discuss a wide range of topics — listen to the interview here.

This time Hoyer spoke about waves of offense.

Top hitting prospects Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and 2013 first-round pick Kris Bryant were all mentioned. Not to exclude Dan Vogelbach and Arismendy Alcantara.

“Obviously everyone loves to win the 2-1 games, but I also think when fans come to the ballpark, having a team that can really hit, really drive in runs and score a lot on any given day, hopefully that’s the kind of team that we’re developing,” Hoyer said.

“So I think that’s an area we feel really good about. I wish those guys were a little bit closer — we can’t really speed up the clock — but at the same time I think it’s a really good wave of young hitting talent.”

This also from Hoyer earlier this season;

“The best teams blow [other] teams out. To our credit, we’ve only been blown out once. To our detriment, we have zero blowouts on our side of the ledger.”

Hoyer also spoke glowingly about Alcantara with Len Kasper while he discussed Tennessee’s new dynamic duo.

Many will tell you pitching and defense win championships. However, Theo Epstein and Hoyer have had some success constructing offensive-laden championship teams. Yes, those Red Sox teams had some top-heavy rotations, but it’s hard to argue that offense didn’t carry those clubs. Maybe this is what Epstoyer had in mind all along. Build a team with elite bats, while trying to create volume in pitching.

Hoyer isn’t kidding about offense being fan friendly either.

Nothing looks worse than an offensively challenged team. Teams that struggle to score runs can give the appearance they aren’t giving max effort. That doesn’t appear to be the case here however, as Dale Sveum seems to keep this team on its toes.

In this suddenly daunting NL Central, the timetable could be pushed back another year. A younger dynamic offensive club could keep the fan base energized in the meantime.

It’s too bad the Cubs can’t speed up the timetable on those young bats as Hoyer mentioned. With a legit offense this team could already be viable with the pitching they have received. This Cubs team has a winning record (28-23) when scoring more than three runs.

They are 23-6 when they reach five runs in a game. But when Cubs pitchers give up four runs or more, they are 6-40.

Can’t wait until surfs up.

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  • Excellent article John, ITA.....the Cubs are going to have a couple of waves of offensive studs coming up.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks but this was was Tom's piece.

    I totally agree that this team is going to be built around offense. This FO has proven they can find veteran pitching and they know how to develop bats. It's a good formula. Go with what you know.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Woops, I clicked the link on bad

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    No problem. Just wanted to make sure Tom got credit. He doesn't often write about the minor league guys, so it's understandable.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks Steve.

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    With the way the N.L central has become arguably the best division in baseball combined with the fact that none of the teams are the Phillies, Yankees, etc.

    Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are all mostly homegrown-the Cardinals in particular, continue to churn out young talent every year- if we want to be able to win in this division we can't do that with just pitching anymore. We need a dynamic offense led by a young core to supplement the pitching.

  • Thanks for this. Always hearing about pitching and defense. Love them both, but they bore me to no end unless it's a playoff game.

    Of which, Cub fans know little about, and I hope to goodness that changes soon.

    I have barely watched the games this year. I come here everyday and watch bits and pieces. I'm not that interested in the team on the field right now.

    Really can't wait for them to make some solid changes.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I think the pitching and defense part of the equation sometimes gets overblown. Yes, you want to be good at that but you also want to score runs. Whatever mix works best but the only thing that matters in the end is to score more runs than your opponents do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. How's that defense/pitching combo working for Seattle right now?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John I can't express how much I enjoy all of your insight. My thoughts on this subject are this. I believe the Cubs might be building there everyday lineup from within and they will find alot of their pitching from outside the team for the moment. I could be wrong and would love to hear your thoughts on this. When they groom the talent they have I cannot see how any player will not want to be part of what I truely believe is underway. What do you think?

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    Best game is a 2-1 or 3-2 that moves at a brisk pace, features some timely hitting and good defense. Sloppy, four-hour 12-7 games are as boring as attending an NFL game.

  • Offense is great to have. Ok let's sign Bryant by Friday.

  • Living in Pittsburgh and having a bunch of Bucco friends, there is definitely something to this argument. In particular, I think the fan dynamic would be better if they were scoring more. Some panic starting to develop here, especially on the heels of last night's loss.

    Will be back in Chicago next week (Pearl Jam at Wrigley) and planing to take in the KC game on Wednesday night. Any tips on navigating the stadium - good seats, places to buy the best veggie food/beer, etc.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Nice. I am coming in from Bangkok for the concert. K am meeting my buddy from pittsburgh there. I was thinking about going to the game thursday (i land thursday)

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    This falls in line with their draft MO. Pitching can be found on the market at any time though the cost is prohibitive, unless you trade with Miami apparently. But, stockpiling assets makes trading for pitching easier to digest. Case in point, Feldman/Arrieta.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Yes, absolutely. And not just on the market, but later in the draft as well. I don't think they'd always rule out taking a pitcher early in the draft -- I believe they still would have taken Appel if he were there, but they have to really believe that pitcher provides high ceiling/high floor. They believe they can find arms up and down the draft.

    And if they don't, they really know how to find value on the market who can help in the short term and, if necessary, get flipped for a big arm for the long term.

  • Can't wait to see these studs get to the Cubs and watch Sveum mess with their swing, move them around in the line up, and kill their confidence like he has Castro and Rizzo

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Funny, yet I don't think Rizzo has lost any confidence.

  • I feel like the NL Central and really any division, goes through waves of appearing to be very challenging, and then we go back to being called The Comedy Central.

  • This fits in with my theory (HOPE?) that the Cubs are being built the same way as the Blackhawks. If you remember, when they had their high draft choices, they went high end offense. When they started to improve, then they went after high end free agents to help the defense. I'm just wondering if the new 'market efficiency' is the safety of picking offensive guys first.

  • In reply to djriz:

    I think in baseball that is the safer route. But as a casual hockey fan, I don't know if that's the case in hockey.

  • In reply to djriz:

    Not a bad angle.

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    Didn't the Blackhawks draft Seabrook and Keith before Kane and Toews?

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Yes, Keith, Seabrook, and Hjalmarsson were drafted before Kane and Toews. They spent big money on Brian Campbell after they drafted those 2 though.

  • In reply to Jivewired:

    Yes. Lower picks though. Toews and Kane were pick #3 (?) and #1.

  • In reply to djriz:

    It wasn't all defensive picks. As was mentioned Seabrook was picked 13th overall and Cam Barker was actually the 3rd overall pick as a defensemen his draft year, Hawks traded him during the first cup run for veteran D Kim Johnsson (who promptly suffered a career ending concussion about 10 games into his Hawks career) and an undersized, but speedy first round draft pick the year before: Nick Leddy

  • Love the article, can really envision a exciting team in the future!

    also to those wanting Garza to sign an extension and the Cubs to not trade him, if Garza and his family really do love Chicago, why not trade him for hopefully exciting prospects then resign him in the offseason for like a Anibal Sanchez type deal? that would be pretty cool!

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    In reply to Nik0522:

    This almost never happens, though. And the price tag will certainly go up if he actually hits the open market.

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    If the Cubs are going to sign Garza, Theyd better do it before October hits. Once hes on the open market anything goes, and hes likely the top starter available. Im thinking Texas might give up Profar and something else for Garza? Guess Im sorta dreaming there.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Probably dreaming a little ;) Perez might be possible, as would Olt, Gallo, etc.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If they get Gallo I would be able to get a Gallo jersey and it would be a real player. That would be awesome. Lol

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    In reply to Nik0522:

    I honestly think if Jackson was thriving right now they would extend Garza. But I think the Jackson signing (Hoyer came really close to dissing him in one of his interviews) coupled with the struggles of Rizzo and Castro after signing their contracts has the Cubs on their heels and focusing in the guys who they have under control for several years.

    And can you blame them?

  • When your system is really strong in the offensive department as compared to its pitching, certainly the GM is gonna talk up the offensive side of the game. I don't blame him. It's not like there were can't miss pitching studs in the last couple drafts that were available to them. They couldn't mess up those high picks, so they went with the more sure thing. But let us not forget how great our offense was on our last playoff team/teams. It certainly puts butts in the seats, but come playoff time the better pitching beat us. That said, I still trust this F.O. to develop, acquire and/or find higher end pitching. I agree with their approach to this which seems to NOT be going after one TOR free agent for 7/160 million-ish(at least not yet). One injury or a slight diminish in talent and this approach blows up in their face. I believe they will(thru many means) end up with a lot of #2's and #3's. And with all the lotto tickets they have of potential #1's, end up with one or two. Go Cubs!!

  • We could see the money spent on pitching when the bats are ready, whether it be by trades or FA signings.

  • Good pitching beats good hitting most of the time.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    They'll have good pitching and good hitting. That beats most teams most of the time.

  • Sell off last year....
    Sell off this year....
    and will be another Sell off next year....

    at some point, the Cubs need to go with the guys they have....and when they have their guys in place, they will be young players, not veterans....they will be making mistakes on the field and at bat....just look at Castro and Rizzo.....same can be said when Baez, Soler, Almora and others will be here..............Cubs looks like a "Dynasty" in the making if all the right pieces fall in together......lets look what a future Cubs lineup could be in 2016......

    CF - Almora
    2B - Alcantara
    LF - Baez
    RF - Soler
    1B - Rizzo / Vogelbach
    3B - Bryant
    SS -Castro
    C - Castillo

    Garza is a good pitcher....but he has more value to us with a trade for more pitching.......since last night, Theo has up the value on Garza......if some GM is worry about an injury, same can be said about any player on the market.....the bigger risk is a GM from another team letting another team in the division get Garza.........

    there is no other pitcher out there ready to be dealt....unless Cliff Lee is available, and he is a big question mark himself...........better choice I dare to say?..........JEFF SAMARDZIJA !........

    what would Arizona give us for Jeff ?????????.......the Dodgers are making their move!.......lets wait to hear the tweets from Jeff after Garza is traded.......

    trading Samardzija, would speed up this rebuilding process faster for Theo and the boys.........last year, Red Sox just sucked.......but this year they might make the you recall, Red Sox was Theo's team one time........and Theo's replacement is making more progress than Theo is by winning games.......

    Soriano is doing a great job.......but Rios, L. Morrison, Byrd and others are also on the market........just enjoy watching a 38 year old overpaid player in left field for the Cubs this season and next.......

    so while the Cubs are getting stronger in the farm system, keep in mind so are the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates in this division.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    David Price may be available. Yovanni Gallardo too. Maybe even Kyle Lohse. There is a reason Theo and Jed forced the market on Garza and Gregg and by trading Feldman immediately. It looks like (as I live north of Milwaukee and get a lot of the local news) that everybody is after the Brewers relievers: K-Rod, Henderson and Axford. So of course the Cubs would like to deal Gregg immediately and should. SF scouts were at the Brewers/Reds game last night and at the Brewers/Mets series all weekend, which is why I do not believe SF is looking for a starting pitcher. Doug Melvin would really like to trade Gallardo (though he is asking for a big return) and those relief pitchers for some young sticks and I think they believe Tyler Thornburg is a closer in the making. The Brewers like their minor league pitching a lot, though I am not sure I agree. My point is, Epstein and Hoyer know that as time goes on the market could start to flood a little with sellers, and of course, there is always the injury risk with Garza - and as you said it could be anybody - but you don't want to lose your best trading chip to injury.

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    In reply to Jivewired:

    Nice to say MLB Trade Rumors copped my post above. SMH. )I do know it was pure coincidence).

  • Great article Tom. You guys spoil us. When mlb steals you two away, you know you heard it here first. You guys do your homework and provide the best info ever. I know 1/1000 of what you two do and my friends think I'm GM material! I just tell them "bookmark the site" and you'll know everything I do!

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Thanks copinblue!

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Thanks really appreciate it.

  • Just had a wonderful weekend in Chicago. Went 3 for3. Went to Kane co. friday and read John's comments which were right on. I was impressed with Almora, Hernandez and Vogel. I was wondering if they threw at Almora after his HR. Looked like it. Really enjoy Kane Co and the team looked good.
    The Cubs won both games I went to it was
    great. Castro is my favorite player and I know he has a ton of talent. However he looks lost at the plate. It dosen't appear he can drive the ball. Everything is weak.
    What has happened?

  • In reply to rockyje:

    Thanks Rockyje. They played really well that day on offense and defense.

  • I guess I am in the minority, but to me there is no better ballgame than watching two stud pitchers duel it out. I'd rather watch a 1-0 game than a 10-9 game, but that's just me. Provided it must because the pitching is on fire and not just because both offenses are struggling. Those games are no fun.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    I do like pitching and defense but teams like Yankees, Red Sox have won with offensive clubs. It can be fun either way.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    I would rather see a 7-0 win, great pitching and hitting!

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    Well done Tom!

    If you think about it, most saber metrics are based on the science of scoring runs. So from that stand point, I think Bill James was a guy that loved offense. I can remember reading "Sport" back in the 70's when he came out with his Total Average. It had Dwight Evans as the best offensive player in baseball at a time when Jim Rice had a higher batting average, more home runs and rbi's...

    On another note, I think it's really funny that the Giants have one more win than us and are buyers. Granted, they're 6 games out but you'd have to think they know they're team is flawed. Especially on offense. I think because of that, the more desperate team will outbid for Garza. I think the Red Sox or Rangers make most sense.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    It's a good thing we aren't in NL West it would mess with FO plan big time.

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    I really hope Garza goes to the Red Sox, along with Gregg. Hell if it get the right guys I'd throw in Russell. It'd be worth the overpay.

    Boston makes the most sense. They were guys drafted by Epstein and in some cases Hoyer too.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yep we've heard that too.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    As I've said before, I'd love to see a blockbuster where the Cubs get back a true top prospect and not a guy with upside but flawed for one reason or another. I like the volume approach, but now I want to see a pitcher in the Top 5 prospects.

    You're still not going to get Webster, Owens or Barnes for Garza, Russell and Gregg, but how about Anthony Ranaudo?

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I don't see why Owens or Barnes cannot be had. Especially if there's additional players. Garza is the best pitcher on the market and he's playing great.

    The fact that he's a rental is a problem for smaller-market teams but the Red Sox have the fifth largest payroll, they could easily sign Garza to the extension the Cubs won't before the season ends, negating any apprehension that they'll only get 3 months out of him.

    I get that Bogarts is untouchable. He's too good and way too close to a call up. I'm not interested in Bradley, Webster, or Brentz either.
    They have a LOT of young talent, especially for a really good team.

    But I think e should pile as many of our moveable assets that they can fit on their roster to make a play for some combination of Barnes, Owens, Ranaudo, and Cecchini.

    Jeez, looking at those names I'd throw in Wood with the aforementioned.

  • Pretty funny if you look at the video still Hoyer looks like he is brooding for the camera.

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    I couldn't disagree more about valuing offense over pitching and defense.

    What I will say is that to win on a consistent basis you have to have a lot of guys who will grind out their at bats and get on base.

    Also, if you build a deep lineup, it's harder to derail than a pitching staff, where if you lose your No. 1 starter and a couple key relievers things can go south in a hurry.

    Overall, though, as much of a cliche as it is, you win with pitching and defense first.

  • Looks like you can count the Giants out as a potential trade partner (at least for anything big). Not surprised, Sabean is a cool customer. This link from today's San Jose Mercury News.

  • Good one. I chuckled at that last line, Tom.

  • Thanks, Cubs Den authors, for identifying and quoting your sources. (I'm still trying to get rid of my Randall Delgado, Anibal Sanchez, and Dan Haren Cubs jerseys)

  • Smart people here, please feel free to disagree, because I'm curious to hear the other side of the coin, but I can't help but think that offense gets you into the playoffs and stud pitching wins World Series'. There's a reason the division title became more important with the new playoff system, and that's because teams can set up their rotations so their studs pitch one more game.

    That's mainly why I've been so reluctant to get rid of Garza, even if his asking price on a contract is high. He might not be a #1 but he's a damn good #2 that can win playoff games. I know as a Cubs fan that I'll be ecstatic and excited once the Cubs return to the playoffs, and that'll be a big next step. But to see a World Series win is more than likely going to take some top-shelf pitching, and like Garza said, that'd be "a hell of a party".

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I completely agree with your comments about pitching (see Giants).

    John and Tom and some of the rest of you know more about the Cubs than I do, and baseball in general, but there is no doubt it all starts with pitching.

    That said, the Cubs have to develop guys with a better offensive approach. And I think they are starting to do that.

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    I forgot to mention, what a great photo you all provided with this post. The odds of all three of those guys being all-stars is slim to none, but what a great card to have if they do! Fantastic.

  • What if he just just put Almora, Alcantara, Baez, Bryant and Soler -- all of them -- in our Opening Day lineup next year?

    What's the worse that can happen?
    Would it ruin them?
    Would any of them adjust and learn on the job?
    Or would they all be overmatched all the time?
    Would Cubs be any worse?
    Might they actually be better?
    Would any of them end up as ROY candidates?
    Wouldn't it be fun and exciting?
    Could we use the WS "The Kids Can Play" marketing slogan?
    Would it be complete insanity?
    Do I have to quit smoking that stuff?
    Or maybe we do it next month, instead of next year?

    I can't wait, wait for you to change your mind
    It's late, I'm tryin' to walk the line
    Well, it's way past midnight
    And there's some people all around
    Some on their way up, some on their way down
    The air burns and I'm tryin' to think straight
    An' I don't know how much longer I can wait.

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    Cubs aren't doing that, of course, but the whole thing about 1,500 to 2,000 minor league at bats is bogus. I'll guarantee you this: If a player needs 2,000 minor league at bats, he isn't going to be an impact player in the majors.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    It would be exciting until they failed miserably.

    It would proceed to embarassing if they were demoted and were unable to recover old form.

    That's how people lose jobs.

    It's a fun thought but there are examples in the past of what happens when players are rushed before they're ready.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Of course, there was a tie when the Cubs promoted everybody far too early.

  • Has anyone heard of any new health updates on DeJesus or Dolis ??

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