Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was just on with David Kaplan and David Haugh on 87.7 The Game, discussing a number of interesting things. As soon as there’s full audio available, I’ll share it here. (UPDATE: Here it is.)
For now, I jotted down some paraphrased notes on the high points of Hoyer’s comments (the “us” and “we” and “I” references are Hoyer’s, unless indicated otherwise):
- Free agency has been pretty typical for the us so far, in terms of how it has developed. We try to be transparent for 10/11 months of the year, but this time of year we go on lockdown. There’s no benefit to us in having that information out there. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.
- We were disappointed in the result of the Russell Martin situation. We thought he was a great fit, and he could have helped us in a lot of ways. It’s a good lesson to learn again and again: just because you want a guy in free agency, you’re not the only team that feels that way, and only one team can get him. It’s almost always the team that goes the extra mile financially.
- The great majority of players go where they can get the most money. But there’s also the fact that Martin grew up in Montreal, so there was a connection there. You never know where a guy’s wife might want to be, or where he might have had a bad experience, etc. There are sometimes intangibles in there that you can’t always anticipate in advance, and then you have to deal with it later. And it can make a difference when the money is close. Free agency can be a crapshoot. That’s why you use free agency to supplement, not to build.
- The Cubs have three main selling points to free agents: (1) facilities are going to be as good as anyone has; (2) we can sell our talent and our future; and (3) there’s the chance to do something really historic, in a way that probably doesn’t exist anywhere else in sports. Number two is the real key, because guys want to win. Look at Pablo Sandoval – the offers were all really close, but he wasn’t going to go anywhere that he didn’t feel like he could win.
- The last few years have been thinner free agent classes, so there may have been more competition for guys. You have to adjust for inflation, and try not to be surprised at the prices. But you can still be surprised. There’s a lot of money in sports right now, due mostly to cable money. That’s just the way it’s going to be for a while.
- We try to bring a lot of potential free agents in, some of which become public, some don’t. We want to show them the sales pitch, but you also just want to get to know the guy better.
- I wouldn’t say we’re in a holding pattern right now waiting on a decision from any particular player. We have a list of guys we like in free agency and a list of guys we like in trade. There’s no one or two dominoes that need to fall for us to start doing it. It’s been a more active November than usual. The week after Thanksgiving is always busy, and then there’s the Winter Meetings. That’s always the busiest time. I won’t say that may or may not be the case with us, but around the game it should be very active.
- We’re going to talk to Joe Maddon about Dave Martinez. Theo and I enjoyed our sit down with him last year when he was a managerial candidate. So we’ll talk about it in the coming days. (Martinez just resigned from the Rays.)