Jed Hoyer Speaks: The Win, Vintage Kimbrel, Contreras' Progress, Zobrist's Role, Morrow, Demotions, More

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Jed Hoyer Speaks: The Win, Vintage Kimbrel, Contreras’ Progress, Zobrist’s Role, Morrow, Demotions, More

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer just jumped on 670 The Score with Mully & Haugh to talk about everything going on with the Cubs, from the shutdown of Brandon Morrow (gasp!), to the continued rehab of Willson Contreras, to the return of Craig Kimbrel, and a whole lot more.

You’ll be able to catch the full interview on 670 The Score when they post the recording later today. But for now, you can enjoy my good-faith paraphrasing notes on everything Hoyer said (all the “I’s” and “We’s” are his) …

  • I don’t think we know if last night’s wild win is season-defining yet, but it was one of the most fun games to watch all year. Both teams played like they were a bunch of kids having fun/just going at it. Unfortunately, you just can’t know how “defining” or “seminal” a game like that is until the next few weeks of games actually happen (Michael: Well that’s no fun, Jed).

  • I don’t think anyone would have predicted a 1.200 OPS or wherever Nicholas Castellanos is at right now. But he’s a good influence on the team and I think our guys are feeding off that energy. As for the expected production, we thought he might take off here before the trade – his former lineup (no protection) and stadium (Comerica) weren’t conducive to his success – but I don’t think we knew it was going to go this well.

  • It’s tough to continue adjusting the team so significantly midseason (Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy in 2018, Kimbrel and Castellanos this year), but that’s also just the job. And thankfully, we were able to add Craig Kimbrel and Castellanos, because the Ricketts Family stretched the budget twice (once for each guy) – that’s not something every ownership group is willing to do.
  • Kimbrel been really good the last two games, but he actually looked good in Williamsport, too, with the exception of a few poor pitches. But, again, these last two games have been vintage Craig Kimbrel. I think he/his knee was hurting before he went on the IL (Michael: Hoyer was just guessing that he might’ve been toughing it out, because that’s the kind of guy he is), but feels better now and is able to really unleash everything with confidence. It was huge to have a guy who could calm that game down last night.
  • Both David Bote and Albert Almora Jr. took their demotions really well and in a really mature fashion. Almora is not having the offensive season that he hoped, so hopefully everyday at-bats in Iowa can help him figure that out. I also think that both Almora and Bote saw Addison Russell’s positive attitude upon returning to the big league club and his genuine belief that his time there helped, and that made a positive impact on their readiness to report.

  • We’re keeping an eye on September 1st as we make these moves/transactions – the 14 pitchers on the roster right now is obviously not ideal – but the restraints will be lifted soon.
  • Ben Zobrist will absolutely contribute to this team, and not just in the dugout. It’ll be on the field, as well. I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet. He could be starting everyday, he could be a pinch-hitter, it could be a bit of both. He’s going to contribute – I just don’t know what shape that’ll take yet.

  • Willson Contreras is doing a lot of activities – he’s hitting, catching bullpens, and a lot of running up stairs and running drills – but we just don’t know the full plan yet. While he’s moving around right now, we want to make sure he’s 100% healthy, so he can play every day down the stretch when he does return and so he doesn’t re-injure anything. With that said, we should have more of a clear timetable within about a week.

  • Like Theo Epstein said, signing Brandon Morrow was a calculated risk. We knew there’d be trips to the DL, but we also assumed the product would be so good when he was out there that it’d be worth the risk. Obviously, that was a mistake and it didn’t quite work out. It was a bit of a lesson for all of us. I do respect [Morrow], as a player/person, though, because he never stopped trying to get back out there.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami