Don’t do the thing that you might instinctively do whenever someone says something about new Cubs President Jed Hoyer. It isn’t necessarily about a difference from Hoyer’s predecessor, and close work ally for decades, Theo Epstein. Sometimes a thing is just a thing.
Felt like I had to say that up front here, because my intention in sharing some recent Kris Bryant comments is only to point out his happiness about how a delicate situation has been handled, not to comparatively criticize anything in the past. Because we have no idea.
Hoyer is now the big boss with the Cubs, and in his first offseason, he had to deal with significant budgetary restrictions and roster turnover issues and rumors every day about who was next to go. One of the most frequent “trade targets” in those rumors was, of course, Kris Bryant. And as a credit to Hoyer, who necessarily has to walk a very fine line in talking to other teams, while also not dehumanizing the players on his team, Bryant had this to say about trade talks:
“He just reached out to me,” Bryant said of Hoyer and trade rumors, per The Athetic. “Obviously, I had dialogue with my ‘camp,’ I guess. That’s the cool word to say, my ‘camp.’ [Hoyer has] been really transparent with me and my side. Honestly, I’ve really appreciated that. I’ve never had that type of like security or communication ….
“It really doesn’t bother me much anymore. It’s just nice to know when there’s all these reports and stuff out there that say one thing — and then you actually hear it from the actual person that has the ability to trade you that none of it’s true. And there’s been no substantial anything going on. It’s going to be hard for me to believe anything out there from now on. I understand a lot of people like to talk and just throw stuff out there. But Jed telling me that’s not true really makes me feel good. I’m here to help the Cubs win and do what I’ve been doing here for the last six years.”
Ultimately, that’s what matters most when you’re in a trade rumor situation, but nothing actually happens. You have to make sure the player on your team still feels good about his place in the organization, and feels comfortable about what has or has not happened. Hoyer let Bryant know that most of what was swirling out there was not accurate, and that left Bryant feeling much better (“I’ve never had that type of like security or communication.”). That’s really high praise when it comes to an executive who, let’s be honest, was clearly involved in a lot of trade discussions this offseason at some level. It’s a critical aspect of being the big boss: leaving players feeling like they’re humans first, and players second. Epstein routinely drew praise for his humanity, and it’s nice to see Hoyer get the same kind of praise in a really touchy situation.
Good practice, too, for Hoyer. Because he might have to do all this again in a few months.