Scott Boras and Jed Hoyer Cast Doubt on Big Splashes, Rile Some of You Up (Probably)

angry-mob2If you were expecting a big splash this offseason, you haven’t been paying attention. The most any reasonable Chicago Cubs fan should be expecting for this offseason is a set of well-intentioned, short-term, low-cost moves, together with an effort to pursue Masahiro Tanaka, if he’s made available. Not get Tanaka, mind you. No team in baseball should be expecting that. Just expecting to pursue.

So, against that backdrop, I’m not sure why comments from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and super-agent Scott Boras this afternoon at the Winter Meetings are getting so much play. Angry play.

From Hoyer, who was featured briefly on MLB Network:

Nothing there is a surprise or inconsistent with what the Cubs have said all along. There are too many holes on the big league roster and too few dollars available right now to do the kind of patching necessary to put a credible playoff contender on the field in 2014. You may rail against it. Gnash your teeth. Pound away at your keyboard in the comments. But this is our lot, and it is ours to accept.

The “Mariners” bit is getting a lot of attention, given that they’ve been in the news over the last week for being anything but a model organization. It appears, however, that Hoyer was merely referencing the fact that the Mariners are making big moves (Robinson Cano) and rumored to be in on every big name, after having built up a young core. As Theo Epstein and Hoyer have both said repeatedly, they hope that will be the Cubs soon. Whether “a couple years” means next offseason or the next, I don’t really read a whole lot into the literalness of colloquialisms. It just means not this year.

And then there was Boras, speaking simultaneously before a crowd of media, remarking that the Cubs’ rebuild is “an all-day sucker.” The reference, which was initially lost on many, meant that he sees the Cubs’ rebuild taking a very long time. He mentioned the Cubs’ market size and their refusal to spend commensurate with that market size during their rebuild.

Once again, none of this is new for Boras, whose job it is to get as much money for his clients as possible. Having a large market team like the Cubs sitting out the proceedings is bad for business, and Boras has sounded like a jilted lover for quite some time.

In the process, though, he threw the Cubs’ ownership under the bus:

I understand the frustration, both from Boras and from fans. At the same time, I accept the realities discussed above. I also accept that, other than a few, select players – Tanaka, maybe Shin-Soo Choo – the biggest name free agents this offseason simply don’t make sense for the Cubs. Unless you’re going to add an Ellsbury, AND a Cano, AND a Garza, AND a Nathan, there’s very little reason to add any one of those guys, whose most useful years will come when the Cubs aren’t competitive. I like Choo’s skill set to hold up long enough to be useful to the Cubs when they’re competitive (and they do need an outfielder), but that’s about it for the big guys not named Tanaka.

In other words: the Cubs aren’t going to do something just to do something, regardless of the financial situation. That’s the oft-referenced “syncing up” of the baseball and business plans. I’m sorry if it aggravates Boras or some of the fans.

(It’s not hard to imagine that Choo, represented by Boras, was specifically on Boras’s mind when he made the “all-day sucker” comment, and expressed frustration thereafter. My guess? The Cubs have been showing interest in Choo all along, but the baseball ops guys have explained to Boras that they can’t go to the ridiculous seven-year, $140 million level right now. Boras angry. Boras smash.)

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

260 responses to “Scott Boras and Jed Hoyer Cast Doubt on Big Splashes, Rile Some of You Up (Probably)”

  1. CubFan Paul

    “There are too many holes on the big league roster and too few dollars available right now to do the kind of patching necessary to put a credible playoff contender on the field in 2014″

    Is the payroll dropping below $105M? If not, there’s more than enough room there to “improve”. Leaping for the playoffs in ’14 would be a stretch.

  2. BWA

    All I’m saying is that if the Cubs do nothing this offseason they better go all out next year with several free agents using the saved money. By 2015 we need to be competitive and we will still have a stacked farm with 2 more drafts of high picks.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      Not if the FAs don’t line up with our needs. And some people are saying next year’s FAs are weaker than this year’s.

  3. bbmoney

    Boras gonna Boras.

    It’s really not a big deal. He’s just doing his job and the more teams he can get to try to get to spend big money the better it is for his clients.

  4. Dustin S

    I’m all on-board for the rebuild, but the thought of any more flippable mid-30′s reclamation projects makes me want to vomit a little. For the most part, those haven’t worked out well in terms of getting prospect value back, and it’s taking playing time away from younger players. At the very early stages of the rebuild fine, but it screams a team looking 3+ years away and is kind of a tough pill to swallow now. The market just isn’t great for it, even when they do well like DeJesus, Navarro, Gregg (for a short time) they just don’t seem to have much or any trade value.

    1. itzscott1


    2. cub2014

      if you are going to rebuild of course you sign
      the flippable guys. When teams are desperate
      and all in thats when you flip. They dont cost
      much you can resign more the next year. It opens
      up spaces for your rookies as the season goes on.

      I would be angry if they didnt sign flippable starters.

    3. On The Farm

      Yeah, Feldman, Maholm, and Hariston literally fetched nothing back in value. The Cubs might as well just held on to those players for the guys they got in return.

      You can’t be “all on-board for the rebuild” yet not stand the thought of any more flippable players. That’s kind of what teams do in a rebuild. They are trying to acquire as much talent as possible and the easiest way to do that is to find guys looking to re-establish themselves in the league and move them for younger cost controlled players.

      1. Kyle

        If you add up how much we’ve spent on players that were supposed to be flippable (including guys like Baker, Navarro, Schierholtz, etc.) and look at the return in prospects, it’s not a slam-dunk winner. That’s a lot of money for the prospects we’ve received.

        1. cub2014

          starting pitchers are the big coup for flippable
          assets. So per your argument Baker was a
          5mil bust. So thats 1 out of 5 that failed

          1. Kyle

            Why do only starting pitchers count?

            1. When the Music's Over

              Because it’s far more easy to have an extremely narrow viewpoint in order to fit your argument.

        2. JB88

          How do you figure? Baker is the only one whose return on investment was less than the WAR he provided during the time the Cubs had him or the amount they paid that player through the life of the contract.

          In fact, I think you could probably argue that the FA pickups that the Cubs did make offered great ML return on the investment the FO made in those signings.

        3. Bwa

          I would take Navarro off that list because we needed a catcher. Could we have flipped him? Yes. But that wasn’t the goal.

          And schierholtz has provided value and is still flippable too

        4. itzscott1

          Maybe one of those things that works in theory, but not in reality.

          Welp, that was an interesting and refreshingly new concept anyway.

          1. itzscott

            Gotta admit, between the flipable asset concept and their strategy with the International Draft….. they certainly are creative and keep the things that don’t have much to do with the team on the field….. interesting!

        5. On The Farm

          Kind of like Matt Garza not only provided prospect talent, he also provided production on the field. That needs to be factored in. Its not like they spent all this money on players and they just kind of sat around until they got traded. They provided value in terms of WAR and then in prospect return.

    4. ClevelandCubsFan

      They didn’t all work out but a lot have. What do tou expect? Perfection? We’re a LOT stronger a system for our flips.

  5. Jon

    Boras is simply the best agent in baseball.

  6. Stevie B

    SIGN / TRADE FOR NONE OF THE PLAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. C. Steadman

    “Theo says team has offers out on a reliever, a starter & trade offer on a position player” per a Sahadev Sharma tweet

    1. EuroCub

      Russell, Shark, Schierholz respectlvely ?

      1. C. Steadman

        im guessing the offers out on a reliever and starter mean free agent since he specifically says “trade offer on a position player”

      2. FarmerTanColin

        think its two free agents and a trade for a position player. Not implications of Cubs players

    2. Jason

      Reliever-Carlos Marmol
      Starter-Mark Prior
      Position Player-Mark Grace (had the most hits in the 90′s so they figure he has a decent year in him to flip for Bradley from the dbacks

      1. Senor Cub

        that Mark Prior guy sounds like a real steal

        1. Jason

          He will only come back if Larry is his pitching coach. Still enjoys throwing the towel around every now and again

  8. C. Steadman

    also pirates close to landing Edinson Volquez on a 1 yr deal…is he this years Liriano?

  9. itzscott1

    Soooooo, let’s see….

    A couple years ago they wanted to be like the Red Sox, then they wanted to be like the Tampa Rays and now it’s the Mariners.

    I guess the Dodgers & Yankees are out of the question?

    This is getting to be like asking your kid what he/she wants to be when they grow up.

    1. On The Farm

      “A couple years ago they wanted to be like the Red Sox, then they wanted to be like the Tampa Rays”

      Yeah they wanted to build their farm system up to have so much depth that they can be regulars in the playoffs.

      “and now it’s the Mariners.”

      Well the Mariners have stunk for the last few seasons (or did you forget that part) and have built up some really good young pitching and some other good young positional talent. That appears to be the direction the Cubs have been heading the whole way. The mistake you are making is that the Mariners are being used as a team the Cubs want to be as a bridge from where they are now to where the Red Sox and Rays are.

      You see the Mariners are bad, but now with their young talent reaching the majors can go out and sign FAs and hope to make the playoffs. Like the Red Sox. Do you see where you are getting confused? Hoyer isn’t flip flopping on what team he wants to be, he is just pointing out that the Mariners took a similar route that they are trying to take.

  10. Stevie B

    Im very content with the rebuild.
    I have never been through a complete dismantling of an organization, so this is hard for me.
    However, I am on board.

  11. miggy80

    Have you scene the size of the Mariners JumboTron? Maybe Hoyer was saying it will be a couple of years before we can get one that big!


    1. FarmerTanColin

      holy smokes. That would look awesome blown up…in a movie of course.

  12. cubslver22

    By the time were flush with cash, the FA market is gonna be so thin were gonna overpay anyway. Were gonna ruin what good talent we do have by continually expecting them to do things they’re not capable of because of the lack of talent around them.

  13. MightyBear

    Quick question for anyone who knows: Does Boras represent the Shark?

    1. dw8
      1. MightyBear

        Thank you.

  14. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Let’s just say the brain trust has targeted Choo all along and let’s say trading Shark is a goal what else was really out there besides Tanaka. Getting those 3 things done would be a haul.

  15. itzscott1

    Hey, The Cubs Convention should be lotsa fun!

    Can’t wait for the spin they’re putting together to get everyone amped.

    1. When the Music's Over

      There will be a considerable amount of hollow “kissing the ring” towards fans, in the hopes of creating enough in the moment positive spin to placate fans for a few more months (eg, increase ticket sales). This will undoubtedly include more stadium rebuild photos, more prospect pumping, more long term oriented approach talk, etc.

  16. jmc


    1. FarmerTanColin

      I wanna see a success rate breakdown on TJ recoveries in effort to curb these posts.

      Hypothetical…team 1 signs 2 players recovering from TJ surgery. Team 2 signs 1 player not recovering from TJ for the same amount of money. Talent is comparable all around when healthy. Team 1 can acheive the same value if just one of the TJ guys recovers and pitches as well as the team 2 player. Team 1 can get surplus value if both recover and pitch well. Team 2 also has risk of player regressing and losing all value.

  17. boomtown

    I’m frustrated too, I hate being out of contention on June 1, but if the FO is going to do this right, Im glad they are persevering and not caving to outside pressures to spend $. Why should we? This team is being built for the long-term. The kids r coming n when they do many people who were clamoring for a big signing will be glad they didn’t because that money can be used in the NEAR future when some holes are filled by prospects. Plus, the renovation and TV contracts will provide more revenue. Why waste this now when we aren’t there yet?

    If the stars align u may have your starting infield set next yr.

    1B Rizzo…2B Baez…SS Castro…3B Olt…C Castillo

    Then Bryant should be knock knocking on the door

    Then all sorts of possibilities for trades or shifting guys around as other guys come up

    If they sign Tanaka we may have our rotation set : Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Arrieta, Jackson

    I think next yr will be the year to make a splash with trades/free agency

    I have more faith in this FO than any I can think, have some faith, Theo did this once before with the Red Sox

    We are heading in the right direction, be patient

    1. Dave

      Theo didn’t build the Red Sox from the ground up

  18. willis

    Volquez to Pirates for $5 million.

  19. John

    I would rather for the Cubs to save there money this offseason anyways. The Free agent class is much better next year especially the Starting pitching with Clayton Kershaw, Homer Bailey, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields all set to be free agents. Though Kershaw will likely get an extension and maybe a couple others possibly, the class will still be strong.

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      chances are most those guys won’t reach Free Agency. Especially Kershaw won’t. But i do understand you point. Only guy I’d overpay for in this FA class is Tanaka and only too a curtain degree would a over pay

    2. EQ76

      True, but do you really see this FO spending what it will take to land any of those guys? Do you really think they will outbid the Yanks, Dodgers, etc.? I don’t see it. LA will do everything in their power to keep Kershaw, Boston won’t let Lester go, the Yanks will jump in there too.

    3. 1060Ivy

      Other than Shields, who on that list do you expect to make it to free agency?

  20. Serious Cubs Fan

    I don’t care if we don’t get Choo, Santana, or any other draft pick tied FA. I WILL be pissed off if the Cubs don’t make serious at Tanaka! All I expect is a very strong push to get Tanaka bc he’s only 25 and doesn’t have draft pick compensation. He’s a potential top of the rotation arm who fits our time table. The only player that i would overpay for in this FA class. If we don’t get him I will be disappointed but if the Dodgers, Yanks, M’s or another team makes him such a ridiculous offer that their is no value in the signing then I understand not signing him.

  21. EQ76

    All I know is that the big 4 in the farm system better all pan out or we’re looking at a long, long road ahead. This rebuild could take 5-10 years. Since all the sudden this enormously popular team in one of the biggest markets in the US has no money. SMH.

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      Don’t get your hopes up. No matter how good the big 4 are, they are still a crap shoot. I’m definitely hoping they’ll all pan out but its highly unlikely

      1. EQ76

        that’s my point. The possibility of all 4 becoming all stars is slim to none. It is starting to feel like the FO are putting all their eggs in that basket. I feel that this will take a lot longer to rebuild than any of us can bare.. even the very optimistic fans.

        1. cub2014

          they need 2 infielders and 1 outfielder to have success
          out of: Olt,Villanueva,Alcantera,Baez,Bryant,Soler &
          Almora. One to be an all-star (Bryant) on to play defense
          and hit for power (Baez) and one from the rest of the
          group. Yes and yet you still need to sign a quality OFer.

          So we really are not that far away.

  22. Jason Powers

    PK Wrigley II had to pay down debt in Oct 2013 of 170 million. Dont know if it was the full nut or if sinking funds were made along the way. But with those conventants in place and less revenues from declining attendance, wouldnt be surprised if payroll never gets to 85 million in 2014, if that. Since the plan is why win 72 games when 60 or less gets you better players via drafting.

    I will be watching the Cubs only when they bring up the talent from the minors. Ill watch real baseball in the form of Red Sox Dodgers Tigers Rays on At least thats my version of the plan. Spend my limited time and resources on products that fulfill my baseball watching utility function adequately.

  23. hansman

    Sahadev just tweeted the cubs have offers out on a starting and a relief pitcher and are working a trade for an OF.

    1. EQ76

      I’m sure none of them are big or even decent names

      1. EQ76

        Looks like on is the Rays’ Roberto Hernandez

        1. YourResidentJag

          And probably a Schierholtz trade with an Axford signing.

    2. jh03

      I’m surprised Theo even leaked that much information.

  24. Reality Check

    Hoyer said a couple of years; that’s the hint that 2015 won’t be better than .500 at the best.
    And I’m TIRED of hearing about there is no money STOP IT.
    Forbes and Bloomberg have both said top 5 in revenue BEFORE the owner got another 25 million to spend from tv contracts this year. Top 5 tix prices too. And a payroll right now that projects at 75M if NO free agents are signed and that includes paying 13M for Soriano. Even if some money is spent; they will not exceed 95M.

    SO much propaganda being spewed; 106 yrs and counting and fans hear this BS.

    2016 is becoming a huge bust year for Theo and Ricketts. IF no playoffs; both need to go.
    Right now it appears the Rooftops are running the team thanks to Kenney Crane.
    Man, I thought Pk Wrigley was tight, but Ricketts tosses pennies around like a manhole cover.


  25. Frank

    Boras is a bottom sucking slug that would do anything for a buck. If he was around in the days of the mayans, he would be the first one to drag his mother up to the alter to be sacrificed if he was going to be paid for it.

    1. Jon

      “Boras is a bottom sucking slug that would do anything for a buck”

      I know, I admire him so much.

    2. cubslver22

      Ummm That’s his job. Theo and Co are charged with paying as little as possible for as much return as possible. It’s a 2 way street.

  26. North Side Irish

    Boras always comes off like an ass but he’s the best in the world at his job. I’d love to have him negotiate with the Rooftop Owners on behalf of the Cubs…that would be fun…

    1. Frank

      The only broblem is, he would take the rooftops side.


    I hate to say but so far this off season the White Sox management has been more aggressive in improving the team. I agree with Boras the Cubs need to start acting like a big market team. So far all the Rickets have prove is that they know how to make money and keep selling us on the future so we keep watching their games.

  28. udbrky

    Wait, so Scott Boras is all butthurt because we won’t pay a guy 15trillion/year to see him decline in 2 years or less?

    1. cubslver22

      Were gonna be butthurt too when we realize by the time we have a pocket full of cash, the market is gonna be so thin the Scott Feldmen’s of the world will be getting 20 million a year.

  29. Rumor: Cubs “Showing Interest” in Righty Starter Roberto Hernandez | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] the vein discussed a little bit ago, the Chicago Cubs aren’t likely to make a big splash this offseason on the free agent market. […]

  30. cards suck

    Mr boras just say tom wrigley ricketts is a cheap arz

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