Over the past week, and then culminating at the start of the GM Meetings yesterday, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have spoken quite a bit publicly about the offseason and the Cubs’ plans going forward.
Among their comments and places you can read/watch more …
- Meeting with reporters last evening, Theo Epstein joked that the Cubs aren’t the runt in the litter anymore (Patrick Mooney, Jesse Rogers), as the Cubs’ potential involvement with top free agents this year is actually a legitimate possibility. Similarly, Jed Hoyer drew a distinction between this offseason and the last few with Mark Gonzales, suggesting that, this year, the Cubs really could be linked to some big names. Whatever your level of cynicism and whatever the Cubs actually end up doing, they are fairly open about the difference between the last few years (few signings, mostly short-term flip types) and this offseason.
- Epstein added that the Cubs will also consider trades, which are sometimes the preferable route, given that you get to target the players you want (not just whoever is available in free agency) and you can try and get younger players than are available in free agency (Patrick Mooney, Jesse Rogers). Epstein suggested that the Cubs could be involved in some trades of “significance” over the next 15 months. Obviously the biggest trade rumors are tied to Cole Hamels and (separately) Starlin Castro, but, for this offseason, I’m still hopeful we’ll see the Cubs explore outfield trade options.
- Epstein said that there was no currently available international free agent that was crying out as an obvious fit (Jesse Rogers). Keep in mind that Japanese pitchers Kenta Maeda and Chihiro Kaneko have not yet been posted, and we already knew that the Cubs weren’t high on Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas.
- Hoyer wouldn’t confirm the Cubs’ meeting with Russell Martin last week, but he did discuss incumbent catcher Welington Castillo with Mark Gonzales here. Hoyer indicated that Castillo had a down year in 2014, but has showed glimpses of how good he can be. There was certainly nothing in his comments to make you think that the Cubs would have any hesitation about adding Martin, however.
- Hoyer appeared on MLB Network via the phone, and you can watch/listen to his appearance here. I’ll be honest: it was mostly fluffy.
- You can also catch Hoyer’s weekly appearance on Kap and Haugh here. Hoyer said he didn’t really expect free agency to move too quickly this year (he mentioned that some things will happen in November, but it sounds like he’s expect things to heat up, as they usually do, once we get into December).