Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was just on 670 The Score with Matt Spiegel and Laurence Holmes, and discussed a variety of topics, including Curt Schilling’s PED comments (as you’ll see, Hoyer was pretty adamant in his denial). Here’s a paraphrased recap of the interview (“I” and “me” is Jed speaking, not me), with the questions and Hoyer’s responses:
- How do you feel about the offseason, specifically the pitching? Hoyer: If you look at every move we made, we’re building toward something special in the future. The Jackson signing fits in that context due to his age, and he’s has had a good career. Since you can’t snap your fingers and just sign up four or five big time free agents in one offseason, you have to accumulate pieces in stages. It was the right time to get someone like Jackson.
- What are the landmarks of progress? Hoyer: There was some good development at the Major League level last year, including Anthony Rizzo. We love what we saw out of Jeff Samardzija. And Darwin Barney was outstanding in his defense at second base. But losing 101 games is unacceptable. We focus on whether guys are emerging as a part of the core, and that includes the minors.
- Will you have some of the bigger name prospects at Kane County because of the proximity to Chicago? Hoyer: The good news is that this year, it will happen naturally, because the team at Boise was so good, and they’ll be promoted (generally) to Kane County. Javier Baez won’t be there for sure, because he already dominated that level.
- Do you ever worry about the losing damaging the Cubs brand, and that infecting “the process”? Hoyer: The Ricketts Family has been great about the patience, and everyone understands we’re trying to build a team that makes the playoffs eight out of ten years. No one wants to win more than me or Theo or folks on the staff. We don’t want to delay the gratification just to delay it. We want to win as soon as possible, but we don’t want to short-circuit what we’re trying to do long-term.
- Curt Schilling’s comments about members in the Red Sox organization suggesting he could try and use PEDs later in his career … any response? Hoyer: The first I’d ever heard of that was this morning, so it didn’t really ring true. It’s “preposterous” that Theo or I would be involved in that or would ever encourage PED use. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the story he’s talking about. It wasn’t Theo or me.
- Have you had to deal with the PED issue as a GM or Assistant GM? Hoyer: It’s a topic in baseball that’s discussed, especially because it’s in the media every day. I’ve never been confronted with it personally.
- How do you fight against PEDs as a person in a position of leadership? Hoyer: MLB and the union have done a great job and are far ahead of other sports in terms of testing.
- Isn’t it a shame that we have to always talk about it, and the damage it’s done to the numbers? Hoyer: Yeah, it’s a shame. It’s a shame that we always have to be suspicious, but it’s not unique to baseball. Because of the numbers, people tend to focus on baseball, but it’s a problem in just about every sport.
- Where is Starlin Castro going to hit, and where should he hit? Hoyer: He’s probably going to hit high in the order down the road. Lineup spots get in guys’ heads, and they can put too much pressure on themselves. Sometimes it’s better to have him lower and let him relax. A lot of times it just doesn’t matter. I’m really bullish on Starlin’s future – he’s going to have more power and he’s going to get on base more. Although some people were expecting more of him last year, but he had a pretty good year.
- How can a player on the lower levels catch your eye? Hoyer: We have video of every game, and game reports from every game. And we’ve got a lot of stats. So no one’s really going to slip through the cracks. There are physical skills you need to succeed in the big leagues, so it’s a combination of scouting and stats. The cream will rise to the top. Something to remember about prospects, Starlin Castro is still younger than so many guys on top 100 lists.