Jed Hoyer Speaks: Matt Garza, Theo Compensation, Hoyer’s Role, LaHair/Rizzo, Starting Pitchers

Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke yesterday with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLBN Radio on a range of topics. You can hear a bit of the interview here, you can see some notable bits in Bowden’s Twitter feed, and you can see a recap over at the CCO. Among the high points:

  • Hoyer once again used his “we need more Matt Garzas, not fewer Matt Garzas” line when asked about the future of the Cubs’ ace. It is a plainly correct statement – the Cubs do need more guys like Garza if they want to be competitive – but one that leaves plenty of outs if the Cubs can’t put together an extension.
  • As for the starting pitchers who don’t win rotation spots in Spring Training, Hoyer said that some could wind up in the bullpen, and others could head to AAA Iowa. In other words, Hoyer was avoiding stating explicitly that the Cubs will look to make a trade out of their surplus of starters – no sense in giving up that leverage publicly if you don’t have to. Hoyer spoke a fair bit about hoping that Chris Volstad and Travis Wood realize their potential.
  • Hoyer indicated that, when the Cubs and Red Sox swap players to be named later in order to finally and fully resolve the Theo Epstein compensation issue, the Red Sox will probably get a better prospect than the Cubs. The players’ values will not be equal. Grumble.
  • The Cubs are hoping that both Bryan LaHair and Anthony Rizzo are playing for the Cubs together at some point this season. LaHair will start the year as the first baseman, and Rizzo will start at AAA Iowa. But, if both are hitting well, the Cubs are willing to bring Rizzo up and then figure out how to get both at bats, which will probably involve working LaHair into the outfield. Hoyer raved about LaHair’s 2011 season.
  • Hoyer expects both Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano to be members of the Cubs on Opening Day. Both are in great shape, and looking for bounce-back years. What else would he say, right?
  • Hoyer thinks that leaving the Rockies’ organization could be good for Ian Stewart. Not because there’s anything wrong with the Rockies, but because sometimes a “break-up” is necessary. In other words, it’s a classic “change of scenery” attempt.
  • Hoyer said that he has plenty of authority and autonomy in his role as GM, serving under Theo Epstein. It’s unlike his time in Boston, where Hoyer was truly just an assistant to Epstein.
  • When the Cubs’ Spring Training complex is completed in 2014, Hoyer thinks it will be one of the best – if not the best – in all of baseball.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “Jed Hoyer Speaks: Matt Garza, Theo Compensation, Hoyer’s Role, LaHair/Rizzo, Starting Pitchers”

  1. Luke

    Are the PTBNL in the Epstein Saga still expected to be fairly insignificant, or has that now changed?

    1. CubFan Paul

      Luke do ever make it down for spring training for work or vacation?

      1. Luke

        I haven’t yet. I even lived in Florida for two years and never made it to a camp. It’s on my to do list, though. I’ve even gotten my wife to agree to it. One of these years we’re planning to fly into the southwest in the spring and check out what we couldn’t see from I-40 when we moved out to SoCal and back. Spring training is a top priority for that trip, along with Roswell, the petrified forest, and a couple of other stops.

        1. Seth

          Not to get too off topic, but the Petrified Forest in AZ is awesome. Definitely a cool sight if you’re into history, geology and all that jazz.

        2. DocWimsey

          Yeah, tree stumps that old are pretty mind-boggling. And, of course, the plants that made those those were pretty weird by modern standards: if memory serves, then they were relatives of pines, but still more like over-sized ferns than anything else.

          And, of course, there were still two Cubs world championships in the future when those things were around! (Of course, T. rex was in the future, too 8) …..)

          1. Luke

            I know my history. T-Rex played first base for those Cub championship teams. They wanted him at third, but he just couldn’t make the throws.

            1. TWC

              Short arms.

              1. ferrets_bueller

                actually short arms are more conducive to hitting that long arms, which can be a detriment. I think Dan Uggla is a direct decedent of T Rex.

              2. David

                And definitely Ron Cey.

                1. DocWimsey

                  heh, penguins and other birds are very close relatives of T. rex!  The young of species related to T. rex actually had downy feathers, so they would have been as cute as a penguin with the bite of a shark.  However, they probably ran more like Vince Coleman than Ron Cey.  All in all, it’s probably just as well for us that they are gone…..  8)

                  1. Toosh

                    Ah, Doc! Whenever I see your name at the beginning of a post it evokes an image of “Cliff Clavin” from “Cheers” in my mind. That show often made me laugh, too.

                    1. DocWimsey

                      Think more like Frasier, and you are nearer the mark…..  ;-)

                      Also, you might say that this is a professional interest of mine: and who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

                    2. Toosh

                      I liked the early “Frasier Crane”. When Kelsey Grammer got his own show, I didn’t care for the portrayal. The scary part is Grammer actually thinks he’s smarter than “Crane”. Some people do think they’re smarter than they actually are.

                    3. DocWimsey

                      Grammer sounds like’s a bit nutso, to be honest: but, hey, who isn’t a little crazy, right?  Regardless, my experience is that most people think that they are smarter than they really are.  Ironically, my world is a good cure for that: however smart I might think that I am, I have colleagues that I know are smarter than me!  (It also is good at teaching you that as good as you might be in some areas, there are other areas where you are not as strong.)

                      Amusingly, baseball statistics are one thing that we love to talk about when we are not talking “shop.”

            2. DocWimsey

              heh, actually, it turns out that those guys had pretty massive muscle attachments on those “little” arms. That would have been the good news. The bad news is that their arm motion was basically a flapping motion: they’d have shattered their shoulder throwing overhand! The worse news is that they might not have been good at even noticing grounders……

              So, sounds like an old-fashioned “DH” firstbaseman to me. (Actually, he might be selling ribs outside of Camden Yards, now that I think on it…..)

              1. TWC

                This website is off the chart today.  Bonkers.

                1. King Jeff

                  Did Doc really just break down an actual T-Rex’ ability to play defense?

                  1. Fishin Phil

                    Yes, but I am still waiting for the WAR.

                    1. ferrets_bueller

                      The problem with T-Rex’s WAR is that it needs to be adjusted signficantly more on the offensive side, due to the era in which he played. I mean, with the huge dust cloud obscuring the sun and all, pitchers were at a massive advantage. Heard of the deadball era? Well, this was the dead asteroid era.

                2. Bric

                  Doc’s comments remind me of both Jurassic Park and The Lost World (the books, not the movies). They both deal with organisms in complex environments and are a really good read. However, Doc, I wonder if that graph you used came from SPSS or just some stats book. There’s a huge difference. It’s baseball, not rocket science.

  2. Serio

    How many of these “break-up’s” / “change of scenery” work?

    1. CubFan Paul

      Stewart was a backup/bench player last year in the majors. Hopefully starting everyday with Theo&Co’s confidence in him will be enough.

    2. T C

      Serio, you look weird without your Larry David/lions avatar!

      Most change of scenery guys don’t do much, just thinking of the guys I can remember who got traded for these reasons, but i don’t think many of those guys were ever #4 overall prospects like Stewart once was, so I’m thinking there’s more hope for him

      1. CubFan Paul

        same goes for Adrian Cardenas. he was a Oakland top 4 prospect til recently and he’s only 24yrs old still.

        1. T C

          It’s a little different, cause Stewart was #4 in all of baseball, should have made that clear. As far as Cardenas goes, it’s not his bat that is an issue, but the fact that he cannot play passable defense at Amy poisition

          1. CubFan Paul

            “he cannot play passable defense at Any poisition”

            i’ll believe that when a coach OR someone who has actually seen him play extensively say that. Guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks

            1. Norm

              You expect a coach to say that about ANYONE?

              1. CubFan Paul

                im saying we havent heard that from ANYONE that has seen Cardenas play. People make it sound like he runs out to the field and forgets his glove and his shoes are always untied (cannot play passable defense at Any poisition etc etc).

                if his superior LH bat doesnt beat out the offensively inept Barney then we can say his defense sucks

                1. DocWimsey

                  heh, it would be pretty easy to solve his fielding woes if these were his problems! Seriously, though, fielding is something that an athlete can improve with hard work. Batting and pitching both require a lot of unique talents that, really, you have or you do not. Some aspects of fielding are like that: for example, some guys know immediately where the ball is going to go and other guys take a few fractions of a second or longer. However, other aspects (footwork, general judging of the ball) can improve with practice.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    “can improve with practice” that’s what i like to hear Doc.

  3. colocubfan

    Did anybody have a good reason why the BoSox get a better prospect? They already got a pretty good one.

  4. RicoSanto

    The additonal comp to Bosox could be Vitters, and cubs get back a lower level prospect.
    I hope it is not Junior Lake.

    1. Luke

      We do know (last I heard anyway) that the additional player is not on the 40 man roster. That rules out both Vitters and Lake.

      1. DocWimsey

        Also, the Sox generally are not keen on batters like those two. Of course, the Cubs avoided drafting the sorts of batters that the Sox like, so it’s more probable that they’ll aim for a pitcher that they think has decent control.

  5. tjtrigo

    I am very excited to see Ian Stewart turn it around.  And, as much as ARam has produced for the Cubs, it will also be nice to a different face at 3B.

    In turn, I hope Colvin gets a nice change of scenery as well.  He seemed to be a good guy and I felt he got a little bit of the shaft last year from Hendry/Quade.  I wish him well.

    1. DocWimsey

      If Stewart does turn it around, then I say we pitch in to buy Kyle a big cake shaped like a hat……

      1. Andrew

        I think if Stewart turns it around and has a good season with the Cubs, Kyle would be happy to eat said cake.

  6. Matt

    Why would we agree to a deal for the PTBNL to be greater than what the sox are getting?

    We already gave up a significant piece imo, at best the PTBNL deal should be a wash.

    We’ll never know the entire back story, but it seems like we blinked rather than risking a decision by Selig.

    1. Toosh

      Agreed. The Cubs should have let Selig handle the compensation issue. He would have went with precedent and the Red Sox would have received less. Or nothing. Now we’ll never know.

  7. die hard

    Hoyer made that comment about relative value of PTBNL because he wants the Bosox to think thats true. He said one thing but the thought bubble over his head was thinking Stewart and Garza will be going to Tigers for prospects, LaHair will be going to Phils for prospects, Byrd will be going to Seattle for prospects, and Soriano will become Cubs asst V.P. of Latin player development effective July 1, 2012 to earn remainder of his salary after hitting .220 with 1 HR and 5 errors.

    1. King Jeff

      It’s strange to see your optimistic side come out like this.

  8. ferrets_bueller

    I wonder if Kyle would be interested in a gentlemanly bet with me about Ian Stewart’s first season as a Cub- I’d wager he is at least an average contributor, and probably a bit more. At least.

    1. Kyle

      I don’t want to put myself in the position of having to root against a Cubs player. My hatred of Ian Stewart is all in good fun in the offseason, but the day we start playing for real, I hope he hits 40 HRs.

      1. CubFan Paul

        i dont think .250/.330/.440 is out of the question for Stewart.

        1. Kyle

          There’s a big difference between “possible” and “likely.”

          I think it is possible that he goes back to his good years. I think it’s more likely that he’s awful and has no power.

          1. CubFan Paul

            why? he Slugged .591 with 14HRs in AAA last year (consistent playing time). Stewart was awful coming off the Colorado bench as a part time player..

            1. Kyle

              Because the major leagues count too, and he didn’t hit a home run in his last 54 games in the majors.

              Because guys with strikeout rates at his level have a history of falling off a cliff and never coming back from it once they do (Dunn, Bellhorn).

              Because he’s coming off a wrist injury, and guys coming off wrist injuries are known for having bad power years.

              1. CubFan Paul

                he only played 48 games last year (i hate that 54 game stat people use for him) but I see you working. Im hoping for success but on the low side: .240-.260ish/.330/.440 plus. But thats only possible if the other hitters in the lineup are producing (byrd, lahair, castro & soto)

                right now i see Stewart batting 2nd (in front of Castro) or 6th/7th (behind byrd, in front of Soto or Soriano)

      2. DocWimsey

        Dude, we are offering you CAKE! Shaped like a hat, yes, but still a CAKE! Chocolate, if you want. Tell me that that won’t get you rooting for Ian?

    2. hardtop

      define average contributor for a third baseman? are you going to go by league average at the position throughout the 2012 season?  use last years 3B averages?  define your own criteria? what categories does he need to meet or beat… OPS, WAR, all of them?  I’m not trying to be a dick here, I like this, just want to clarify the terms… though it doesn’t sound like Kyle is going to accept.

      I too hope Stewart has a great year… sadly I think he’ll probably fall flat on his face.  Whats the back up plan if he does?  does baker play third? bring vitters up?  does dewitt make the team or does he hang out in the minors just in case?

      1. Luke

        Stewart will probably be given a long chance to succeed. If he ultimately does fail, I’d imagine Baker and DeWitt (if he’s still in the system) would cover the position until late summer (likely September) when Vitters would get a chance.

        1. CubFan Paul

          i don’t like that backup plan (baker&dewitt baker against lefties but dewitt against righties isn’t for me because of his lack of power & not so average defense)

          it would be nice to see Junior Lake makes super strides and end the year at AAA doing well, so that he could legitmately compete next spring

          1. Luke

            The wild card at third in 2012 could be Marquez Smith. If Vitters isn’t ready to go, Smith might finally get a crack at the majors as an emergency fill-in should Stewart seriously struggle. I tend to doubt that will happen, but you never know.

            Lake has half a season in Double A now, so there is no reason he should not be promoted to Iowa mid-season (assuming he produces). On the other hand, he is still slightly young for Double A. Leaving him in Tennessee for a year probably wouldn’t hurt him any. I suspect it will depend in large part on what position he is playing. If the Cubs go ahead and move him to third, they’ll keep Lake and Vitters separated regardless of individual performances (unless they move Vitters off third, but now we’re putting the dinosaur way in front of the asteroid.)

            1. CubFan Paul

              what happened to Smith last year after his ‘great’ 2010? injuries? ..maybe he could platoon with Stewart late in the year (i think Stewart will be above average this year against righties & it’ll be up to him to not let his at bats against lefties drag him down)

              1. Luke

                There is a case to be made for injuries (he played in fewer than 80 games in 2011), but there is also a case to be made for a simple regression to the mean. His OPS in 2010 was hugely higher than his career numbers, while his 2011 OPS is more inline with what we’d expect from his history. That’s not to say he can’t contribute in the majors, but more that his game is probably less about the bat than we’d like to see in a corner infielder.

                Then again, he’s a 5’10″ infielder with limited speed – offense just isn’t going to be a big part of his game.

                Defense is another story.

      2. DocWimsey

        That is a good question, though. I have always thought that WAR would be more intuitively useful if the R stood for “Rival” rather than “Replacement.” That is, what is the typical guy from the same position doing? A difference of 3.0 is still a difference of 3.0, but comparison to a peer is more meaningful than comparison to an AAA or bench guy.

  9. Steve

    I used the term cats pajamas on my wife and she asked me if I was back on drugs.

  10. ferrets_bueller

    Stewart is gonna be a beast this year.

    1. hardtop

      Ferrets has a man crush for poorly groomed third basemen

      1. ferrets_bueller

        I am a fan of (almost) any athlete with a beard. Brett Keisel shaving his was a sad day for humanity.

        1. TWC

          You must be absolutely beside yourself when ESPN8 shows the lumberjack competitions.

          1. Bric

            Especially when they lop their own feet off. Doesn’t happen often, but it’s worth the wait.

            1. Bric

              And as far as the Quade thing goes, I agree it’s inexcusable. I think we’re all just glad that he and Hendry are both gone. Good guys, but a bad situation that was handled very poorly. So bring on the new season!

              1. TWC

                Most definitely.  I can’t wait to hear Pat Hughes’ “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!”

                1. Katie

                  Amen! Can’t wait.

                2. CubFan Paul

                  Music to my ears

                3. Dave H

                  Oh man! Can’t wait!

                4. hardtop

                  Best seven words in the English language

                  With the exception of the previous seven.

                  And the pattern continues again and again

          2. Ben

            “The Ocho”

            1. TWC

              Thank. You.

              Somebody got it.

  11. die hard

    If you have a moment, Mr. Ricketts is coming on that stock show, CNBC, in a few minutes to give status on operations.