I am headed to the Sheraton downtown for the start of the Cubs Convention, so I will not have my computer for the rest of the day (though I’ll have my phone for any arbitration settlements and, of course, feverish tweeting). Before I headed out, Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was on with McNeil and Spiegel on the Score, and I jotted down some quick notes (these are paraphrased):
- Kris Bryant still has a lot to learn (the question was about getting him to Wrigley ASAP). He needs to work hard on defense at third. We’re confident he can do it long-term, but there’s work to do. We also need him to see some better minor league pitching, and go through some slumps. A guy has to struggle in the minors so he knows how to deal with it when it happens in the majors, and then to get out of it.
- Javier Baez will move around in Spring Training, because we need to expose him to second and third. He’ll play shortstop at AAA, and the other positions are a quick adjustment if something needs to happen. We’ll move him around.
- Darwin Barney may have gone for a little too much power last year, and that may have messed up his mechanics. Barney is a “winning player,” does a lot of things well – leader, defender, etc.
- Don’t want to get into specifics on Masahiro Tanaka, we’re in the middle of a negotiation process. We are involved. Not too many 25-year-olds become available in the States, but, yes, that’s attractive to our timeline.
- When the foundation is there, we’ll have the resources there. The bigger financial commitments will come eventually. No financial limitations in building the foundation. (Don’t read anything into this paraphrasing: the gist was, Hoyer was not really giving anything up on the financial questions.)
- Starlin Castro is working to get stronger and faster this offseason. His frame could support speed and power, so that’s what the extra training is about.
- Jeff Samardzija’s stuff is as good as anyone. He tapered off a bit last year, but the transition to starting is hard. We think he can carry what he did early last year throughout a full year.
- Generally-speaking – not about Samardzija, specifically, as a possible mid-season trade – we’ve depleted the team at the deadline the last two years, and have done very well in those trades. We look forward to the day that we’re doing the opposite kind of deals.
- Hope the only pressure Anthony Rizzo faces is the pressure he puts on himself. His year last year was a lot better than people seem to think. Top level defense, near top in extra base hits, near top in walks. It was just the batting average. Plenty of positives to take away.