The Two Chicago Cubs Presidents Reiterate: Rather Than a Lengthy Rebuild, Winning Again Soon is the Goal

The Chicago Cubs may not have a general manager, but they do have two presidents! Jed Hoyer is the president of baseball operations and Crane Kenney is the president of business operations. And together, they run the Chicago Cubs organization. Theoretically, Kenney has zero influence on the baseball side of things, but you can draw a straight line from his job (generating revenue, which helps set the baseball budget) to Hoyer’s job (using that budget to mold the Cubs into a winner), so their perspective on what’s coming is useful fodder for discussion.

Recently, both presidents addressed the future of the club, and, at a minimum, demonstrated the sort of self-awareness you’d hope to see out of those in-charge: “Let me also say to our fans,” Crane Kenney said, per NBCSC, “we know our current play on the field is not what you expect or deserve. And we assure you that winning another World Series continues to be our No. 1 goal.”

Empty words? Eh, maybe a little. It is, of course, the goal of every organization to win the World Series. But hey, even if you’re one the more skeptical among us, and you believe that the actual No. 1 goal of Kenney/the Cubs is to make as much money as possible, well, winning the World Series is an extremely good way to do it. Period.

But I’m not quite so cynical, personally. Although I didn’t see the same championship-caliber roster when I went to Wrigley Field on Saturday, I do see an organization with a ton of flexibility in every conceivable way. The payroll is minuscule going forward. The prospect capital is as high as it has been in five years (and arguably going up). The roster has about as many vacancies as any team could imagine (which opens a lot of doors). And all this comes just ahead of a brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement. We may not like the way we got here, but now that we’re here, I’m not actually sure the situation is quite as dire as it appears.

Heck, even on the field, things probably aren’t quite as bad as they seem: “We’re playing shorthanded,” Jed Hoyer said, per NBCSC. “And I think that’s very clear. We’re not going to be playing shorthanded going forward.”

The Cubs, having traded away such a substantial chunk of their roster, are not playing with the kind of team you would otherwise construct at the start of a season. Hoyer is effectively saying this group, plucky though they may be, is not exactly what you’d put together for the Cubs in 2022.

It’s not even just the guys the Cubs have traded away, either. At the moment, the Cubs are without Willson Contreras, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, and Adbert Alzolay. Would any one (or even all four) of those guys make a meaningful difference in the standings? No. Not likely. But let’s not pretend like missing three starting-caliber position players and a starting pitcher is nothing. The team is likely better off at present than it appears on the field. That’s just the reality. It is *not* good enough. But it is not as bad as it seems.

And Hoyer knows that: “My guess is that we’ll find some interesting things over the next two months,” Hoyer said. “But those will be probably individual, one-off things that we can use going forward. And it’s exciting to let these guys have opportunities to play and to prove that.”

The list of things the Cubs can find out – or at least begin to find out – is significant. In the rotation, they have four starters auditioning for long-term role: Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele, Adbert Alzolay, and Alec Mills. In the bullpen, there are three guys attempting to stake a claim on a seventh-inning or later role next season: Rowan Wick, Manny Rodriguez, Codi Heuer. And on the positional side, we still need to learn what kind of starter Nico Hoerner can be, what type of role Rafael Ortega, Patrick Wisdom, Frank Schwindel, and Michael Hermosillo can play, and whether guys like Ian Happ, David Bote, and Matt Duffy have any significant Cubs playing time in their future.

Now, even still, I concede that those are mostly peripheral roster decisions. When the Cubs traded away Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, Anthony Rizzo, and Craig Kimbrel (and probably also Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin) they let go of nearly all of their star/impact talent. And that means that even if every single one of those “let’s wait and see” guys broke out, the team is still probably not good enough to compete – legitimately – next season.

But Jed Hoyer knows that. Or, at least, he responded with a “Sure,” when asked if the Cubs must add impact talent this offseason in order to avoid a “2012-style rebuild,” which has been their refrain.

And that’s sort of where I’m at right now. I know so many of you are in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode, but I’m just one-step more optimistic than that. The Cubs have SO MUCH money available to spend and enough prospects and young pre-arb players to make an impactful trade if they wanted to go that route, not using it … doesn’t really make any sense. Now, we can disagree on how they might go about spending their money – some smart folks prefer the top-end shorter-term plays (think of how the San Francisco Giants went about this last offseason) as well as some meaningful starting pitching, but I think one truly big offensive addition makes sense if the guy is young enough … and there are several options out there.

Either way, two things seem clear to the two Cubs presidents: (1) The current product on the field is sub-par, and (2) the only way to change that – meaningfully – before next season will be through significant external investment. Now it’s up to them to actually do it, and get it right.

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

Reps, Reps, Reps for Morel, Marquee Poach, Kilian Talk, Urshela, Woodruff, See-Through Pants, and Other Cubs Bullets

Today is the day. Cubs baseball is back. The fake version anyway, and I'll gladly take it. I've still got that nagging feeling that the offseason isn't over yet, and I really hate that it's bleeding now into game play,...

Cubs Baseball is Back

I know all the other things. It's not a "real" game. Cody Bellinger still isn't back. The Cubs may not have done enough to be competitive this year. But I still can't help myself. When I open up my At...

Spring Training Miscellany: Outfield Prospects Showing Out in Live BP, Games Get Underway

A handful of fun things to share from around Spring Training today, on the eve of the Cubs' first Cactus League game tomorrow ... Alexander Canario, vying for AT LEAST the fourth outfielder job - until and unless there's a...

MLB Network Airing a Special on Game 7 of the 2016 World Series with Joe Maddon and Terry Francona

Tonight, MLB Network will be airing a special on Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, aka, the night It Happened, aka, the Greatest Game in Baseball History. The special comes complete with managers Terry Francona and Joe Maddon discussing...

Obsessive Cody Bellinger Watch: Are the Cubs Actually Alone? How Patient Can Everyone Be? More

This week, in addition to being about his looming, absent presence at Cubs Spring Training, has been all about reporters and pundits wondering what the market is going to be for Cody Bellinger. Some of that has taken on the...

Leadoff and DH, Imanaga and Wisdom, Palencia Velo, Little and Development, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Cubs play a game tomorrow. Not a real game, but a game. It feels like it has come so quickly, which is assuredly because the offseason still feels like it isn't over. I've said it before, but I really...

Shoulder Injury is Going to Shut Down Kodai Senga for a While

Although there were some arm concerns coming into his transition to MLB last year, Japanese righty Kodai Senga was by and large healthy (and dominant) for the New York Mets in 2023. Unfortunately, that won't be the case in 2024....

Tim Anderson Finally Finds a Home, Signing with the Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins have seemingly filled their open shortstop job, and it's with the best remaining shortstop on the free agent market. Of course, in this market, the best remaining guy is someone on whom you have to bet there...

Mitch Keller Signing Five-Year Extension with the Pittsburgh Pirates

Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have hardly been the model franchise over the past couple decades, one thing they've generally managed to pull off with some frequency is extending their young players either pre-arbitration or early in arbitration. They did it...

More from the Shota-Seiya Matchup, With Jokes, Nasty Stuff, and an Early Win

A story can be only so big at Spring Training - shy of Cody Bellinger strolling onto the practice field - but yesterday's big one was newly-signed lefty Shota Imanaga facing, among others, Seiya Suzuki in live batting practice. More...

Latest News

Best NBA Prop Bets Today – Friday, February 23, 2024

There are 10 matchups on today's NBA schedule, including the Milwaukee Bucks playing the Minnesota Timberwolves.One of the best ways to wager on the NBA is via NBA player prop bets. There are NBA player props for each of today's...

How to Watch Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon State Beavers: Live Stream or on TV

The Stanford Cardinal (12-14, 7-9 Pac-12) will look to halt a three-game losing streak when they host the Oregon State Beavers (11-16, 3-13 Pac-12) on February 24, 2024. The Beavers have lost seven games in a row.Stanford dropped its most...

Utah Valley vs. SFA: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (14-12, 7-8 WAC) will try to break a three-game losing streak when they hit the road to take on the Utah Valley Wolverines (13-14, 8-8 WAC) on February 24, 2024 at UCCU Center.Utah Valley won...

How to Watch Arizona Wildcats vs. Washington Huskies: Live Stream or on TV

The No. 4 Arizona Wildcats (20-6, 11-4 Pac-12) host the Washington Huskies (15-12, 7-9 Pac-12) in Pac-12 action at McKale Center, tipping off at 2:00 PM ET on Saturday, February 24, 2024.In its most recent game, Arizona lost to Washington...

How to Watch Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Santa Clara Broncos: Live Stream or on TV

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-6, 11-2 WCC) bring a five-game win streak into a home matchup with the Santa Clara Broncos (18-10, 9-4 WCC), winners of three straight.In its most recent game, Gonzaga defeated Portland on Thursday, 86-65. Its top scorer...

Seattle U vs. UT Rio Grande Valley: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (6-20, 2-13 WAC) will try to break a seven-game road slide when they take on the Seattle U Redhawks (17-10, 10-6 WAC) on February 24, 2024 at Redhawk Center.Seattle U was victorious in its...

Hawaii vs. Long Beach State: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Long Beach State Beach (18-9, 10-5 Big West) will try to build on a five-game win streak when they hit the road to take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (15-12, 7-8 Big West) on February 24, 2024 at Stan...

Stony Brook vs. William & Mary: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Stony Brook Seawolves (15-13, 8-7 CAA) aim to build on a five-game home win streak when they host the William & Mary Tribe (8-20, 3-12 CAA) on February 24, 2024.Stony Brook won its most recent game versus N.C. A&T,...

UCSD vs. UC Irvine: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The UCSD Tritons (18-9, 12-3 Big West) will host the UC Irvine Anteaters (20-7, 13-2 Big West) after winning eight home games in a row.On Thursday, in its last game, UCSD defeated UC Riverside 77-65. With 20 points, Aniwaniwa Tait-jones...

Arizona State vs. Washington State: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Washington State Cougars (21-6, 12-4 Pac-12) will attempt to extend a five-game road win streak when they visit the Arizona State Sun Devils (13-14, 7-9 Pac-12) on February 24, 2024 at Desert Financial Arena.Arizona State lost its previous game...

more cubs news