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• The Cubs have had a great deal of success on the pitching side at the big league level the last five years, but you have to note – as Jed Hoyer did this week – the failings the Cubs have had in getting the most out of their hitters at the big league level in that same time period. The irony is that the Cubs are castigated for their failure to develop home-grown pitching (fair, because that impacts the rest of the roster), and lauded for how they drafted and developed and acquired a young hitting core (also fair, because they obviously still did have lots of success). You don’t want those two situations to flip, obviously, you just want to see more success developing pitchers on the farm, and developing hitters in the big leagues. I’d add that, even as most of the top prospects have indeed emerged as big league hitters, the Cubs’ deep cut wins – late-round picks, waiver flyers, low-cost IFAs – have been almost entirely absent on the positional side. So farm-level scouting and development on the positional side, too, has almost certainly been an issue.
• To that end, and with Hoyer as a major driver, the Cubs completely overhauled their scouting and player development infrastructure over the last couple years, though many of the most visible/highest-profile changes seemed to come on the pitching side. Patrick Mooney wrote about the stamp Hoyer can put on the organization going forward, and you definitely get the sense that the big question is how the Cubs will improve position player development. It’s a good read.
• Included therein are quotes from Hoyer on the state of the offense – the one that “broke” a few years ago, according to Theo Epstein, and sure hasn’t seemed to recover, from where I sit. While PORTIONS of these quotes got a lot of mileage this week as hopeful Cubs fans took them to mean big changes were coming to the personnel, I’m not so sure that’s necessarily what Hoyer intended when you really see the full context:
“The irony of the whole thing is on the hitting side we’ve drafted and developed great hitters. We’ve actually had surplus hitters, and we’ve been able to trade some of those hitters for pitchers, so that’s been frustrating that we haven’t had the offensive juggernaut that we thought we were developing, to be frank. Most of the time since the season (ended) that we’ve spent talking about our team has been talking about what we can do to fix that offense. What are we not doing well enough? How can we change practice habits? How can we change our messaging? We’ve had countless discussions about that because it is a problem ….
On the offensive side, we want to look and feel and perform differently than we have the last few years. I can’t define ‘significant [changes]’ as you might define it. But do I think we need to be different as an offense? No question.”
• Most of that could just as easily be about internal changes and magic thinking – the kind of stuff we’ve seen for years now, with little or no positive impact – as it is about changing the personnel. Like, I’m sure “practice habits” and “messaging” and what-have-you all do matter, but at some point … come on. Enough with that. Change the players if you really want to change an offense that has suffered from the same maladies for years (extreme inconsistency, too much swing-and-miss, poor situational hitting). Maybe we fans are just whistling past the graveyard at this point, since the personnel is going to change, at the latest, after next year anyway.
• I guess I’m just tired of seeing new coats of paint applied every single year and being told it was a fix for the cracks in the house’s foundation. A minor signing here, an in-season trade there, and a dozen hitting coaches there. The last major external change to the Cubs’ offensive personnel was, what, the Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist signings five years ago? Wrap your head around that and suddenly a lot of the questions become a lot less complicated.
• Old friend still ballin’ in the DR:
• HOF to HOF nails HOF:
Receptor: Ivan Rodríguez
Lanzador: Nolan Ryan
Corredor: Ken Griffey Jr pic.twitter.com/3PDRmUuoUt
— Xspark Baseball (@XsparkBaseball) November 27, 2020
• I wound up getting the powder blue (and a Bears shirt), so hopefully next year I can say come find me in the bleachers, I’m wearing a sweet-ass powder blue Cubs hoodie:
OK, I'm definitely getting one of these three tonight. I'm not saying I'll choose the one you tell me to get, but I'm open to your feedback. pic.twitter.com/x1vyFxRiyJ
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 27, 2020