Chicago Cubs’ General Manager Jed Hoyer hopped onto Clubhouse Confidential on the MLB Network this evening for short phone interview, during which he touched on a few interesting subjects.
Jed spoke first, of course, about the Theo Epstein compensation issue, and once again conveyed that everyone’s glad to move on. While it’s unfortunate to lose “a good reliever,” getting Theo Epstein to lead the baseball department is a big deal.
The biggest challenge for Jed and Theo coming into a new situation in Chicago was, according to Jed, implementing the way you want to do things when there was already a system in place. It’s nice to have people who’ve been around for a while helping, but change is always hard.
Jed was asked about the Cubs’ offseason, including the trade for Anthony Rizzo (“we liked Cashner a ton, but felt like his upside was as a dominant reliever” so trading him for a big-time bat like Rizzo made sense), and the lack of big free agent moves. Jed explained, as we’ve heard before, that it wasn’t the right time for the Cubs to go “big game hunting,” and throw around a ton of money at free agents. The goal for now is to build up young talent first, and then, when the core is in place, the Cubs can add free agents to put them over the top.
Dale Sveum and his role vis a vis the front office was discussed at length, and Jed offered a great analogy when asked about Dale’s role in personnel decisions, as well as the front office’s role in game management decisions. Jed explained that it (paraphrasing) “makes no sense to have front office buy the groceries but have no input on how they’re used, just as it makes no sense to have a manager using the groceries, but having no input on what groceries we buy.” Jed believes that only a handful of managers act as an extension of the front office in terms of how to manage, but thinks Dale is special in that way. That’s why Dale also has input on personnel decisions.
The interview concluded with a discussion of the 2012 Cubs’ roster, and how it might change throughout the season. Jed, at first, started to say he hopes the guys that are here in Spring Training will be … and then he stopped, abruptly, pivoted, and said that the Cubs don’t quite have that foundation for sustained success yet. He was quick to say that the Cubs aren’t conceding the season, and anything could happen, but it was pretty clear that he was all but saying it’s likely the Cubs will make a few trades this year – ones designed to build toward the future.