Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was on the radio with Jim Bowden today and shared a couple thoughts, which are paraphrased below:
- A big focus of the offseason was getting pitching depth, because we felt like we didn’t have it last season, and it really showed later in the year. Locking down Scott Baker and Scott Feldman early was big.
- When asked about Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse, specifically, Hoyer said: we’re still in touch on a number of free agents. I wouldn’t say we’re done, because you never want to turn your back on opportunities. Unlikely we do anything significant before we get to Spring Training, but never say never. (He really seemed to emphasize the “before we get to Spring Training” part. If you want to read too much into it, you could say he was leaving open the possibility/expectation that something could happen in Spring Training.)
- When we came in, Starlin Castro was the one core piece. Jeff Samardzija forced his way into that group, and then there’s Darwin Barney. He’s got some things to work on, in terms of getting on base. Anthony Rizzo has become a part of that, too. We hope Almora/Soler/Baez can be a part of that. We just want to add a couple core pieces each year, and then eventually you look up, and there are eight to ten core young players.
Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s interesting to hear Hoyer once again mention Barney as part of the team’s core – something he suggested at the Convention last weekend.
It was also interesting to hear that the Cubs are still talking to some free agents, particularly when asked about the bigger names. Hoyer’s reaction had the feel of a guy who is conceding that the Cubs have talked to some of the bigger names, but doesn’t think there’s a very good chance the Cubs land any of them (mostly, at this point, I’d think the guy he’d have in mind would have to be Bourn). I’ve long thought the Cubs’ position on Bourn was probably something like, “if he ends up having to settle for a really team-favorable three or four-year deal, we’ll pull the trigger. Otherwise, it’s no big loss not to get him.” The way Hoyer responded to the question struck me as the same kind of thing. I’d assume Hoyer suspects Bourn will eventually get an acceptable offer elsewhere.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that, in the portion of the interview that was posted, Hoyer was speaking only about free agent deals. He didn’t really discuss much in the way of trades. Of course, it’s not like he’s going to say, “Yeah, we’re working on some huge trades, and something is going to happen in the next few weeks.”