The GM Meetings are in full swing in California, which means it was our first opportunity to hear from Chicago Cubs President Jed Hoyer in a little while. You can see his remarks here, here, here, and here, among other places.
⇒ The Cubs have already made a move this offseason, claiming Wade Miley off of waivers from the Reds. Hoyer said it was unexpected, but welcome, and it’s the start of the pitching process this offseason: “You try not to be surprised. But yeah, I guess I would say we were excited he was on waivers …. We didn’t necessarily expect that he would be available …. To be able to do that in early November was exciting for us. We’re certainly not at the end of that process, but that was a great way to start it.”
⇒ Yes, though, the Cubs know they have to add some more high-velo types in the rotation: “We have to get away from [having too many of the same type of starter],” Hoyer said. “There’s always that question that you can’t really prove, but is there a degradation among the staff if you have too many guys throwing two-seamers and control-command guys? At some point, are you just comfortable when you’ve seen that a couple days in a row? I do think we have to find some different looks. Some of that comes with some more power.”
⇒ The Cubs aren’t ruling out any free agents who’ve rejected Qualifying Offers, but you know the drill on how draft pick compensation factors into it: “Certainly, it’s something we have to factor in. You just have to weigh it accordingly as you think through it. I wouldn’t go past that. It’s just something that, it’s a calculus we have to do if we’re going to swim in those waters.” That, in turn, is why I continue to think the Cubs are very unlikely to sign qualified free agents to very SHORT-term deals. It just skews the “cost” in a way that signing a free agent to a 4+ year deal does not.
⇒ As for long-term deals, again, it’s not like the Cubs are categorically against it. But the considerations are fundamentally different: “As you layer on years, obviously, you’re layering on a lot of risk to any transaction. By definition, projecting a player’s performance gets harder and harder as you get away from their last year and their last couple years. Any time you do that, you’re introducing risk. Listen, I’ve been a part of long deals that worked exceptionally well. And I’ve been a part of long deals that didn’t. You just accept that going into them, by definition, you’re introducing more risk into the transaction when you layer on years …. You can’t spend the same dollar twice. Sometimes people focus on how much you’re spending on just this year. But if it takes you a lot of years out into the future to get that player, you have to think about how that’s going to impact future teams. What I’ve learned is that it will. You have to always keep that in mind as you think through these things. You’re not just spending 2022 dollars. You could be spending 2026 dollars. And is that a good dollar spent in 2026?”
⇒ Hoyer offered high praise for new hitting coach Greg Brown, including for his variety of experiences in baseball (area scout, college head coach, minor league hitting coordinator), and how his ability to communicate on the developmental side could help translate in the big leagues.
⇒ More from Hoyer on the Brown hiring here in a video at Marquee. The hitting coach job is so much more technical/data-oriented than it used to be, Hoyer said, and you have to have people who are comfortable with the data and give it to players in a way they can actually use it to make changes.