While attending to his official duties as General Manager with respect to the Edwin Jackson signing, Jed Hoyer made the media rounds yesterday and today, offering up some interesting tidbits about the Cubs’ near past, near future, and long-term future. Away we go …
- Hoyer essentially adopts the point I’ve been making about the free agent market for a while now: you’ve got to get guys when they’re actually available. As Jed puts it: “You can’t really go out and just like snap your fingers: ‘OK, now we’re ready. Now we’re going to spend money. You have to look at it as a gradual process with each offseason. Looking at the free-agent markets going forward for starting pitching, it was really attractive. There [aren’t] many [proven] guys that come out [at] 29 years old.” Obviously Hoyer was referencing the Jackson signing there, and underscoring the point: regardless of how close you see yourself to competing, if there’s a certain player you want, you can only sign him when he’s actually available.
- He confirmed, by the way, that the Cubs were pursuing both Jackson and Anibal Sanchez in tandem – and it actually played out that Hoyer and Dale Sveum were meeting with Jackson and his representatives the very same day that Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts were down in Miami making a pitch to Sanchez.
- Hoyer commented on Matt Garza’s recovery (joking with folks that they need to be following Garza on Twitter), saying, “It’s all been good so far. [Garza] seems really happy. In some ways, I’m going to sort of rely on his moods and how he feels about it, and he’s been excited about his progress.” And, what do you know, last night Garza tweeted that he had another successful day of throwing (flat ground and long toss).
- This morning, Hoyer was on MLBN Radio with Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth, discussing a range of topics nicely summarized by BN’er Jacob here. A fair bit of it is what you’d expect to hear – and things we’ve heard before – but my ears (well, eyes, as I’m going off of the recap for now) perked up when the Cubs’ center field situation came up. Although Hoyer wouldn’t comment on Michael Bourn, specifically, he did say that the Cubs were looking to improve in center field in both the short term and long term, and commented that the Cubs were considering a position player on a similar length deal as Edwin Jackson (four years). There’s a fair bit of play there, and it all depends on *exactly* how he said it, but, given the current free agent market, he’d pretty much have to be talking about Bourn. Either Hoyer is fine with admitting that (I doubt it), or there was a little more nuance in what he said (speaking generally about positional free agents, maybe?). I’d love to hear an audio replay on this, but I haven’t been able to find one.
- Speaking of the outfield, Hoyer spoke about how Nate Schierholtz fits into the mix, confirming what we’ve all expected: as things are formulated “right now,” Schierholtz will be playing primarily in right field, probably as part of a platoon. From there, it’s obvious that David DeJesus plays in center, and Alfonso Soriano plays in left. But, if the Cubs were to add a center fielder – I mean, Hoyer confirmed that the Cubs would like to add a center fielder in both the short term and long term – Schierholtz takes on more of a 4th outfielder role.
- *OR* more likely, as I’ve been saying all along, the Cubs’ tentative plan has been to (1) add an undervalued player like Schierholtz and take advantage of platoons, (2) trade either Soriano or DeJesus (more likely Soriano), and (3) add a center fielder. Then you’ve got an outfield of Soriano or DeJesus in left, new guy in center, and Schierholtz platoon in right. It’s as effective, if not more so, than last year, and it might not be any more expensive. Throw in the fact that you just got younger and picked up an asset or two in trade, and it’s the perfect series of moves.