Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer was just on 670 The Score with Bernstein and Rahimi, and I jotted down a lot of what Hoyer said as he spoke. I’ll pop up the full interview for you to listen when it’s available.
Here are my best efforts at paraphrasing as I listened (the “I” and “me” and “we” stuff is Hoyer speaking, not me) …
⇒ When asked about the goal for the Cubs this offseason, as far as what 2022 looks like: We just saw the value of getting in the tournament. Atlanta had the lowest odds of any team in the NL that made the playoffs, and they just won the World Series. So the goal is to get into the tournament. We have to build a team that can be competitive and can do that. But the caveat is that the Cubs are not at the point where they are “fine-tuning a World Series roster” like a team like the Dodgers.
⇒ So, put simply: the goal is to construct a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. (Brett: when you consider the makeup of the roster and the state of the farm (disproportionately talented at the lower-levels), that goal makes sense. I don’t want to hear about 2022 being about “building for the future,” because we know the Cubs have the resources to give themselves a shot in the first half of 2022, to at least see if they can be competitive. This is not the same situation as 2012 and 2013, and it doesn’t need to be. That doesn’t mean the Cubs won’t, in fact, wind up selling off at midseason, but that need not be the obvious plan like it was back then.)
⇒ We need to diversify the makeup of our pitching staff. So many sinkers. Lowest velo in the rotation in baseball. We know this. But the opportunity to grab Wade Miley off waivers was too good to be true, so we jumped. That doesn’t mean we’re looking to be a staff made up of pitchers like that.
⇒ On the big league hitting coach side of things, we wanted to find someone like the org’s Director of Hitting Justin Stone for the big leagues so that it was a smooth transition to the big leagues for players. Making sure all the information goes to players in the same way. The alignment with Greg Brown is excellent – the two already knew each other well, traveling in similar circles, since Brown was essentially doing the same job as Stone with the Rays.
⇒ You can find hidden gems and uncover value when you actually have opportunities to give everyday at bats, and that was a lot of the reason for the older players finding success this past year (and that can be very valuable in the years that follow – Hoyer referenced Luis Valbuena as a guy who surprised when the Cubs were rebuilding because he was given playing time, and then played an important part in the future (though I’d note that his primary value during the winning period was because he was traded for Dexter Fowler)).
⇒ I don’t know what the role will be going forward for Schwindel/Wisdom/Ortega, but they will play some kind of important role. We have to provide David Ross depth and options. We have a lot of holes.
⇒ I’m proud of what we built here over the past decade, but when I took over for Theo that provided an opportunity to make some changes to the front office and the coaching staff, and challenge ourselves to bring in new ideas. Continuity is a good and important thing, but you also have to create opportunities for new ideas.
⇒ The makeup of top-level front offices around baseball needs to do a better job matching the diverse makeup of the game, itself. We’ve talked internally a lot about our hiring processes, and one part of that process is to focus at the grassroots level to bring in diverse perspectives. Most people who reach the highest levels started out as interns and climbed the ladder, so that means the focus in lower-level hiring also needs to focus on diversity.
⇒ There’s no value in expecting a lockout, so we are trying instead to act as if it’s business as usual. Stay in contact with teams and agents where we see fits. Our hope is that there’s a resolution and just keep going through December. We just operate as though that’s going to happen. (Brett: I’m not sure that’s the whole story, since you could theoretically create some advantages for yourself if you anticipated a lockout and made certain moves that were better for you in the event that there is, indeed, a lockout. For example, signing a player now who doesn’t want to risk having to wait until late February to sign – you might get a better player/deal now if you were correctly anticipating a lockout.)
⇒ We have resources to spend, and we will, but we want to do it in the most intelligent way possible. Free agency presents opportunities and risks. When you’re talking about long-term deals and players on the downside of the aging curve, you can see risks. Our goal is to be competitive next year, but we do want to spend intelligently. He admitted he says that a lot. Nothing really new here.
⇒ Biggest difference between Theo and Jed front offices is probably the change in other voices in the room, so to speak, rather than the change from Theo to Jed, specifically. We’re only now getting back to it feeling normal – office didn’t even open back up until October 4. I’m trying to cultivate the new voices and diversity of perspectives.