The 2021 GM Meetings are a wrap, with plenty from the rumor mill to consider, though a typical level of activity (which is to say not much). There were no canaries in the coal mine this week, good or bad, about what teams and players and agents are expecting in the labor talks. We’ve heard about the latest proposal and the likelihood of a lockout, but hearing is one thing, seeing is another. So if you were hoping something would HAPPEN that would tip hands on what is actually expected behind the scenes, no dice.
For the Cubs, it was a week of finalizing organizational plans (and adding a coach), and laying groundwork for the offseason. Standard stuff, even if at a time when folks don’t expect things to be standard for much longer.
“A lot of meetings with clubs, a lot of meetings with agents,” Cubs president Jed Hoyer told The Athletic at the close of the meetings. “Everyone goes back and tries to sort through everything, all the conversations you had. It’s always sort of the offseason kickoff. It didn’t feel any different.”
Other bits from Hoyer and GM Carter Hawkins …
⇒ The new GM is getting used to the new digs:
GM Carter Hawkins is nearly a month into his time with the Cubs. One goal he has is to find ways to better leverage the team’s resources across the board⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vJMhgerQ4F
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) November 11, 2021
⇒ To be sure, it’s just a general positive thing that you might say about ANY organization you were joining. But it’s also gotta be true that the Cubs have more organizational resources available than he had at his disposal in Cleveland. I mean, I certainly hope that would be the case. Now it’s a matter of him bringing along the knowledge and experience of how they made things work so well on the scouting and player development side in Cleveland, and incorporating it into a structure in Chicago where you could – in theory – be even more effective.
⇒ Interesting reminder from Hoyer that the Cubs aren’t going to sleep on the bullpen just because they have a lot of arms available in-house already:
Hoyer and Hawkins will be talking this offseason at length with other clubs about obtaining a shortstop, left-handed power bat, a strong backup catcher and, most of all, controllable starting pitching. Hoyer also said the bullpen will need some fortification.
“I will say that every veteran guy I have known has said you need veteran guys to help teach the young guys about the role,” Hoyer said about the components of his future pen. “They need to have them as mentors or to put an around when things get tough. That was why Stropie (Pedro Strop) was so amazing for us with young guys. You can’t have all young guys, you need some vets to help them through it.”
⇒ Marquee was interviewing Hoyer and Hawkins during the week, and you can hear those interviews in their latest podcast. I enjoyed Hoyer’s discussion of what it’s like to work on trades, and how much you have to/get to do without any payoff before you find a fit. He loves doing it and just thinking about possible deals on his own, but only one in 100 or 200 or 500 or whatever ideas actually winds up coming to fruition. Sometimes you have a great idea on how you can improve your team and you think it makes sense for them, too, but you start talking to folks and you realize the other side totally does not see it the way you do.
⇒ Here’s the full set of interviews:
⇒ Fun story: the front office crew had decided to stay around Arizona pre-meetings in order to watch an AFL game, but then a power outage cancelled a bunch of flights, so Hoyer, Hawkins, new AGM Ehsan Bokhari, and VP of Special Projects Jared Banner had to hop in a car and drive from Phoenix to San Diego (almost six hours) to be there in time for the GM Meetings. When you think about it, though, that had to be some exceptional baseball talk, and a way for the new guys to get to know each other all the better.